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THE ROLE OF MENTORSHIP AMONG SCHOOL GOING YOUTH

By Nokukhanya Gamedze | 2018-01-14

Introduction

One of the things that I can recall from my childhood is that was advised to have was a role model.

Even in schools while we were growing up, there used to be great emphasis on why it was so important for a young person to have a role model in their lives. As I work closely with young people, I have since realised that it is not as much the presence of a role model that young people require but is that of a mentor that will actually assist in shaping the lives of young people.  So then what is the difference between a mentor and a role model, one might wonder? An online description of a role model is as follows:  A role model is someone that inspires you, someone that you admire for their actions, their beliefs and their achievements. It does not necessarily mean that you must know this person. For example, you can have Delia Lama, a famous entrepreneur, whoever, as a role model. While a mentor is defined as someone that guides you with advice and gives their opinion on situations. It's more of a personal relationship and must have contact with this person and this person is usually older than the young person. It can be an older cousin, a grandpa/grandma, your senior at school, or (your case) a coach.

These descriptions clearly define the distinction between the two words making one realise which one carries more weight and is likely most beneficial for a young person. It is one thing to actually observe a person from a distance and quite another to sit down with a person, listening to how they actually became the success they are additionally having this person actively involved in how you shape your future.  In school the youth specifically, face a lot of challenges inclusive of peer pressure in how they make life changing decisions. Most of them at this stage end up in drug related problems, early pregnancy, because of lack of sound advice and leadership in their lives. As parents, we try as hard as we can to be there for our teenagers, however sometimes we lose the conversation between us where young people are no longer willing to open up to their parents. This is the stage where a mentor plays a pivotal role as young people tend to feel more comfortable soliciting advice from someone else except their parents. A mentor gets the opportunity at this stage to positively influence the life of a young person.

The benefits of in school Youth mentoring can be summarised in the following points;

 

• Strong mentorship programmes will help children and youth develop the confidence, self-esteem and skills they need to be successful in school and in life.

 

• Mentoring is widely recognised as contributing to strong and healthy communities.

 

• Mentoring helps forge stronger links for students in career and employment programmes, therefore young people are able to take full advantage of the working and learning opportunities available around them.

 

• Research supports that school-based mentoring impacts positive outcomes for children and youth including:

 

• increased high school completion rates;

 

• improved attitudes about staying in school;

 

• enhanced academic motivation and achievement;

 

• improved social skills and behaviour;

 

• improved resiliency;

 

• strengthened peer, school and family relationships;

 

• reduced risk of involvement with drugs;

 

• Increased sense of belonging in the school community.

 

Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunities. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset. This is therefore why at JA Swaziland; we are appealing to the public, specifically individuals in the corporate sector and different professionals to partner with JA Swaziland in her quest for youth development by volunteering to become a mentors. A lot of our young people have identified careers and entrepreneurship as what they want to pursue in life however they lack the basic element which is mentorship for them to fully understand what is required to venture into the real world. This is then a public appeal where we urge the public to consider becoming a youth mentors with JA Swaziland.

 

 

Conclusion

 

As I conclude, I would like to highlight on some very important facts I found on life which I believe will motivate a prospective mentor out there.  Young adults who were at risk for falling off track but had a mentor are considered 55 per cent more likely to enroll in college, 78 per cent more likely to volunteer regularly, 90 per cent are interested in becoming a mentor and 130 per cent more likely to hold leadership positions. This is therefore your chance to positively change a young person’s life. It can become one of life’s most fulfilling journeys ever taken. To enroll into our mentorship programs, kindly email, info@jaswaziland.org .

 

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