Reach Out, Help Out
Everyone needs a little guidance now and then.
It’s a celebration this month and I bet you didn’t even know it.
Don’t feel bad, neither did I. January is the 10th anniversary of National Mentoring Month. According to the National Mentoring Month website, www.nationalmentoringmonth.org, the goal is to focus “national attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us – individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and non-profits – can work together to increase the number of mentors.”
What a great idea. After all, everyone needs someone to help them, even those who always seem to be surrounded by people.
Did you have someone growing up that encouraged your dreams (mom and dad don’t count, they’re supposed to be supportive), listened when you needed to talk and offered advice when you asked, and even sometimes when you didn’t ask?
In a nutshell, that’s a mentor. My mentor was Haven Simmons, one of my professors at Salisbury University. He was everything a mentor should be: encouraging, supportive and, most importantly, honest.
Thanks to his support I turned my love of writing into a career I never imagined -- a television producer. In a very male-dominated world, he gave me the confidence to be assertive and to not be afraid, often reminding me I had the same skills and knowledge as my male counterparts.
So how can you become a mentor, helping guide someone along their journey?
Ask the counselors at any of the local schools. They always have ways community members can get involved with the students. Reach out to some of the local non-profits. Help with those they serve is always appreciated.
Also check out Big Brothers Big Sisters (www.biglittle.org). The organization takes mentoring to new heights, offering many more opportunities than just their Big/Little program. With offices throughout Maryland, Big Brothers Big Sisters certainly will match your skills and background with the perfect mentee.
To all those who are currently mentoring someone (whether they realize it or not), thank you. Keep up the work. It all makes a difference. And to those considering mentoring, what are you waiting for? You can make a positive difference in someone else’s life right now. And to my mentor, thanks. I appreciate it more than words can say (or at least more than I can write).