Friday, September 14, 2012

Mentoring is all about Relationship

I remember hearing a quote recently that really struck a chord. It went something like this “our society is good at giving to the poor, but not good about knowing the poor.” When I hear from potential and current mentors, the number one reason they decide to mentor can be summed up in one word:  RELATIONSHIP.

Mentoring is all about relating. I recently spent some time with one of our mentor pairs, Jean and Olivia (names changed for confidentiality). The mentee was taking care of a family member in need, and as a result, had put herself in a challenging situation. The mentor, recognizing this, helped her mentee walk through a resolution to the problem without damaging the family relationship.  This mentee is an ex-offender and was allowing her desire for restored family relations to override her decision-making.

This is a common scenario for our mentees who have been socially isolated due to homelessness or incarceration. Isolation breeds depression, and mental illness can result in another bout of homelessness for the mentee.

A second relational scenario comes to mind. One of our newer mentoring populations is youth aging out of the foster care system. One in four youth aging out of foster care ends up homeless.  One such young man was lucky enough to find a local program that assists these young adults in finding employment, education, and housing by the age of 25. This young man also found himself in an unhealthy living situation with his girlfriend. At a recent event, he shared with me how he “lost” himself in the relationship. Instead of working on his own goals for improvement, he focused solely on his girlfriend and her progress. Due to this dynamic, he ended up losing his housing, his transportation, and almost losing his employment. His mentor was able to support and encourage him in remaining housed, continuing his employment, and working towards applying to a local college. His mentor helped him  regain focus and stay encouraged.

Trusted Mentors has found that 90% of those being mentored remain housed while engaged in an active mentoring relationship through Trusted Mentors. Mentoring works because it is relationship-based.
Click on the link Youcanmentor. org for more information on how you can be a Trusted Mentor.  Find us on Facebook and Twitter!