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Make a Difference in a Life During National Mentor Month

Everyone needs someone to look up to in his or her life. Without our friends, family and mentors, you probably wouldn’t be the same people that you are today. Think back to somebody that had a strong influence on your life. What qualities did they possess? Mentors can possess the qualities to help motivate you to achieve your dreams, offer advice when you don’t know what to do and even guide you through the ups and downs of life. Now it’s time to repay the favor. January is national mentoring month, and it’s your turn to be a leader and role model for someone, or even for your community.

Become a Role Model
When most people think of becoming a mentor, they picture one-on-one meetings with someone younger than them. While there is a great need for those types of mentoring programs, there are also other ways to become a mentor. If you want to get involved in a formal program such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or through your local YMCA, there are a number of organizations. But you don’t have to sign up as a mentor to become a role model. Take a leadership role on a community project. You can become a mentor without even realizing it just by setting a good example. Others will come to you if they need advice or help after you’ve established yourself in the community.

Support a Program
If you feel you don’t have time to be an effective mentor, there are other ways to help. Maybe your company can partner with a mentoring organization in some way that not only helps the organization but also furthers your company’s brand. Of course mentoring organizations—as with many nonprofits—could use financial support to further their mission, if you would want to make a contribution.

Reap the Benefits
According to The National Mentoring Partnership, there are many benefits to those involved in a mentor program. For example, youth involved in mentor programs have higher rates of attendance at school and better chances of going on to higher education. Mentoring can also enhance health by preventing substance abuse and negative activities, according to the organization. Finally, statistics show that mentoring helps youth develop relationships and gain trust and communication skills.

Don’t forget to make a point this month to thank someone who’s made a difference in your life.

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    LSA is a grantee of the Legal Services Corporation.