Monday, November 12, 2007

Mentoring Makes A Difference

I was searching Google tonight for articles about mentoring that related to workforce development and found this one titled Mentoring Makes a Difference.

The writer makes a strong case. The question I ask you is, what do we need to do to make effective mentoring programs available in more high poverty neighborhoods, so more kids can participate?

That's a primary reason I invite people to come together every six months for conferences,such as the one we're holding on Thursday and Friday, and to read this blog, or to visit the TMC web site. If we agree mentoring makes a difference, then let's put more time into making mentoring available to more kids.


muntu said...

I agree that mentoring makes a difference. I am in graduate school because someone saw the potential in me while in high school and worked to encourage me. He later mentioned that when we first met, he had been seeking to influence someone positively, and our paths crossed at the right time. I have invested my life in doing a similar thing myself. I am working with a group of youths in Alhambra, CA. I try to encourage them towards positive living, and to walk with them in their daily joys and challenges. See our work on Facebook -
Thank you

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

Thank you for sharing your story. We're on Facebook, too. Just search Groups for Tutor Mentor.

If we can get more people who have been mentored, or have been a mentor to tell their stories, we can build greater public awareness, and support the growth of tutoring/mentoring programs all over the country.

Jeff Purkiss said...

I am a big fan of mentoring. I have been mentoring young men for over five years. While mentorship has value for future professionals, I also see a huge need for simply bestowing a vision of authentic manhood into the next generation.

Too many generations of men have slipped into becoming (brace yourself guys) busy and work-a-holic, unaffectionate and uninvolved, self-oriented and sports-crazed, macho or wimpy, absent and/or abusive, all too often cheating men. Our culture simply no longer embraces God’s masculine design for men. And ultimately, our families, communities, churches and nation are paying the price.

Philip Lancaster sums it up well: “Our national crisis is a consequence of the crisis of the home, and the crisis of the home is a crisis of male leadership” (Family Man – Family Leader, The Vision Forum, Inc., 2003). And Joe Ehrmann wraps it up: “All these problems I’ve been trying to deal with [poverty, racism, drugs, crime, illiteracy, family disintegration], they’re not just problems, they’re also symptoms, … They’re symptoms of the single biggest failure of our society. We simply don’t do a good enough job of teaching boys how to be men” (Jeffrey Marx, Season of Life, Simon and Schuster, 2003).

So I have been meeting monthly with a group of teenage young men. Our venue for mentorship is little different than the classic one-on-one. Our group includes a few dads and step-dads (not all the boys have a dad around). We spend an entire afternoon together each month. We start off with an outdoor activity. We then roast hotdogs over a bonfire. Finally, we discuss manhood from a Christian perspective.

Through this venue we are sharing common experiences and embracing a common language that bestows a vision of authentic manhood.

I have also taught and written about the subject of mentoring our teenage boys. Through this I have discovered a stumbling block for the mentorship process. Most men and boys are too busy for dedicated mentorship. There are very few adult male mentors available for the countless applications from boys needing a male role model.

I believe this problem can be overcome through the existing programs for young men, specifically athletic programs and Boys Scouts. While these programs instill leadership, teamwork and character, they fall short in passing on a healthy masculine understanding of the roles and responsibilities of men. Again, today’s men and future men tend toward excessive focus on work and self, all too often neglecting family. The coaches and Scoutmasters of these programs need resources for teaching and mentoring with a proper perspective for a man’s faith in God and relationship with family.