National Mentoring Month in January was launched in 2002 by The National Mentoring Partnership and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It focuses attention on the need for mentors, as well as how each of us- individuals, businesses, schools, and nonprofits – can work together to increase the number of youth mentors and help ensure positive outcomes for young people in our communities. (www.mentoring.org)
The Harvard School of Public Health promotes “volunteering as a mentor to a child as a valuable step in igniting the mentoring effect in your community.” Green Mountain RSVP volunteers are doing just that in Windsor County every week in local elementary schools. Some are engaged in formal mentoring programs like “America Reads” and “Everybody Wins VT”. Others are a presence in the classroom to support students and teachers where needed.
Volunteers work with children in grades K-12 to help improve their academic performance, build confidence in their skills and promote an enthusiasm for learning. Volunteers typically work one-on-one under the supervision of the classroom teacher for about an hour a week.
Why mentor? Mentoring makes young people feel like they matter. Quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people. “When children are read to one-on-one by a caring adult, research shows their reading improves - and so does their interest in other subjects, their confidence, social skills and interest in school.” (everybodywinsvt.org)
Students in mentoring relationships are 52% less likely to skip a day of school, 55% more likely to enroll in college, 46% less likely to start using drugs, twice as likely to hold leadership positions in school clubs or sports, and 90% more likely to become a mentor.
Adult volunteers benefit from their mentoring experience too. Volunteers report an increased sense of purpose and over all well being. Mentors talk about the delight in children’s faces and the joy of helping them succeed in school. They like being part of the school community and knowing they make a difference every day.
Thank you to all 23 GMRSVP Student Mentor Volunteers for continuing to elevate the importance of school mentoring with your work to ensure young people have a caring adult in their life, helping them reach their full potential. Your support is a critical component in young people’s lives that ultimately leads to improved opportunities and connections, which has an impact on real life. #seniorcorps