We all know that having a mentor can be an excellent way to gain experience, guidance, and support. Children who have access to mentoring are less likely to turn to alcohol and drugs, and more likely to stay in school. Professional and workplace mentoring studies have been shown to increase rates of advancement, confidence, and networking opportunities.
What about the benefits for the mentor? That hard-to-quantify, “feel-good” factor you get from doing a good deed and making a positive impact in the life of another person is one distinct advantage. But being a mentor can also have many tangible benefits throughout your professional and creative life.
Gain leadership skills
Being a mentor is about motivation. Mentoring is an opportunity to learn how to look for strengths and weaknesses in others, and to help them achieve short and long-term goals with the benefit of your experience. When you encourage someone else to apply themselves, teach them better strategies for learning, and model responsibility yourself, you take on the fundamental qualities of a leader.
Refine your talents
The challenge of teaching and finding new ways to explain skills and concepts is an exercise in creativity. As you tackle projects alongside your mentee or try new activities together, you’ll have the chance to work in new styles, reach out to new people, and otherwise push yourself outside of your comfort zone. And your mentee might teach you something too! A young person more recently out of school or still learning is keyed into the latest information, technologies, and up-and-comers. Keep an open mind, and you might learn a new trick in return.
Stand out from the crowd
A multi-year study published in 2007 recorded that those who acted as mentors to other co-workers were 20% more likely to get a raise and six times more likely to be promoted than their peers. Mentors, through their leadership, compassion, and initiative stand out to their managers. And mentorship demonstrates these same qualities to potential employers on your resume, too!
Related: How to Become a Mentor: Be an Inspiration to Someone
Be a Mentor with a NYXT Partner!
For a meaningful one-on-one bond with a child or teenager here in NYC, check out the Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Lower East Side Girls Club, where children from all backgrounds gain access to art, educational opportunities, and new horizons. The Center offers mentoring opportunities to guide LGBT youth as they explore and celebrate their identities. Volunteers with these organizations provide local children with cultural experiences, academic support, and trusting relationships. Just having a caring adult to model responsibility can make a huge difference in the life of a child.
For those of the creative persuasion, Girls Write Now offers professional writers the opportunity to support the next generation of female voices. Pairing women with creative-minded girls, mentors have the opportunity to read and critique their writing and introduce them to new materials and professional contacts. Filmmakers and storytellers can also pass on their skills through the Educational Video Center, where at-risk and disadvantaged youth are learning how to make documentary films and finding constructive ways to express themselves and create positive change.
There are a many ways to effect positive change in the world and here in Manhattan. But few ways are more meaningful and more personal than being a mentor, and working to change the life of one person here in your community. And perhaps you’ll be surprised by how much mentoring can benefit you in return!
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