January is National Mentor Month!
By Kirsten Joranlien, Development & Communications Associate
9 million kids in America grow up without a mentor to offer real life guidance.
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 opportunity. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.
At Denver Urban Scholars, we believe in the power of a positive mentor in the lives of our students. From our research we have learned that caring adults and education matter when it comes to supporting our youth. According to the National Governors’ Association, children who lack consistent and positive adult relationships are at high risk for academic failure and other school-related problems.
To show appreciation to our Denver Urban Scholars mentors and to inspire anyone interested in becoming involved, we are hosting a series of Mentor Appreciation Happy Hours. The next event is on Tuesday, January 31st, from 5:30pm-7:30pm at The Matchbox. We hope you can join us! RSVP on Facebook or email Margo for more information.
Mentor & Mentee Feature: Justin & Ronaldo
Justin was matched through our mentor program with high school freshman Ronaldo last summer (2016). The pair has enjoyed activities together throughout the rest of 2016, including goal setting, going to the movies, playing rugby, attending sporting events, and going hiking. When asked about their most memorable experience as mentor and mentee, they both cited their hike together at Red Rocks. “It was one of our first times getting together, and it was just really enjoyable to get to know [Ronaldo] and hear about the things in his life that he deemed important.” –Justin, Mentor
One of Ronaldo’s goals for the year was to become more socially involved at his school. Ronaldo has achieved his goals of joining the basketball team and improving his grades, and feels that his mentee relationship with Justin has helped him feel more comfortable at school activities and continues to motivate him to try his best.
“I became a mentor because I wanted to help out in the community with a program that had a good track record and allowed for lots of volunteer opportunities. I know that I’ve been allowed plenty of opportunities in my life, and wanted to be able to give back and use my life experience to help someone else who is in a pivotal growing stage of their life. It has been interesting to be paired with someone who is in a different place in the world and in their own life. It has allowed me to see how I’ve grown in the past 10 years, and offers a different perspective on what is important to different people, and the challenges and successes that we all deal with in different ways every day,” said Justin.
Justin plans to continue his mentoring relationship with Ronaldo, “Because the longer you do it, I think the more you get out of it, for both mentor and mentee. The relationship only continues to strengthen as time goes on and I believe that mentors can be more impactful the longer they are involved.”