Have you ever moved to a new town, started a new job or changed schools? If you have, then you know how hard it is to adapt, find new friends, and learn the culture of the new place. Think about how much easier it would have been if you had someone help you, take you under their wing, introduce you to their friends making them an instant group of friends for you as well.
As a mentor, you could help someone that needs to feel included. January is National Mentoring Month. It is a chance to build relationships with other people and your community. It is a great opportunity to be inclusive and to help ensure positive outcomes for those that would love the assistance. Mentors can be for a moment or for a lifetime.
National Mentoring Month began in 2002 by MENTOR National and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (National Mentoring Month 2022, 2022) The goal of National Mentoring Month is to recruit mentors and emphasize the need for mentors.
Who can mentor? Anyone with the desire and time to spend with another person. Kinship Partners, a nonprofit youth mentoring organization, in Minnesota encourages individuals, couples and families to become mentors. Regular contact is important in mentoring and the activities should not be costly. Time and friendship are the best gifts a mentor can give to a child, a young adult, and/or a co-worker. (AllieKinship, 2021)
During National Mentoring Month there are several ways to celebrate. Guider (Cronin, 2020) offers the following suggestions.
Share your mentoring story. If you had someone who mentored you, share that story with others. If you are already a mentor, share what you have enjoyed about your experience.
Become a mentor. According to Guider, 89% of mentees go on to mentor in the future. (Cronin, 2020)
Thank a mentor. National Mentoring Month ends with official #ThankYourMentor Day on January 27th.
President Joe Biden in his press release for National Mentoring Month states, “I often say that America can be defined in one word — possibilities. No matter our background or circumstance, every child in America has the right to go as far as their dreams will take them. But those dreams are rarely reached alone. We all benefit from the support, wisdom, and nurturing of mentors who navigated the path before us.” (Biden Jr, 2021)
Mentoring does not have to remain with individuals. Small and diverse businesses often use mentors to help them grow their businesses. Mentors often provide guidance and different perspectives that small and diverse businesses would not be able to financially procure. If you work for a corporation, encourage your company to use its internal subject matter experts to assist small and diverse businesses with understanding operational, financial, and strategic methodologies with the ultimate goal of building better businesses and potential partners.