Closing our Mentor of the Week series, Be A Mentor is celebrating "Mentor in Real Life," which commends longstanding mentor commitments, business partner relationships, and ensuring quality mentoring to maximize positive outcomes for young people. This is the perfect chance to highlight Jannie Shaw-Busby, a Lunch Buddy to Adriana at Saint Andrew’s School of Math & Science (SASMS) and employee at GEL. Be A Mentor is honored to have partnered with GEL for the last several years and to have Jannie in the program.
Jannie describes Adriana as an extremely sweet, caring, and very affectionate young lady who loves her family. They share a love for reading and Jannie admits they are both a bit shy. “When I first met Adrianna, she was quiet and shy. Now, we talk like old friends,” she shared.
Giving her a chance to mix her occupation with her passion for mentoring, Jannie enjoys GEL’s partnership with Be A Mentor. “Because of this partnership, the mentees were able to visit GEL and I was able to show Adrianna how I spend my day at work,” she said. “My favorite memory of Adrianna was when all of the SASMS visited GEL. She was so excited that she got to see my desk and tour the laboratory. I also enjoy her enthusiasm every time I come to have lunch with her,” she continued.
Jannie loves mentoring and hopes to continue for as long as possible, because she feels it is her way of paying it forward. “I too am the product of a mentor so for me it's a way to give back a little of what was given to me,” she said.
Potential mentors often wonder if they have what it takes to successfully act as a role model and advocate for a child, as they should. Being a mentor is a commitment that one shouldn’t go into lightly. However, the act of mentoring is much simpler than people think it is; it’s just consistently being there for a child. Mentoring is being there as a companion, a role model, a listening ear, or an adviser when your mentee needs you to be.
So, who is a good mentor? Susanna Williams at liveinthegrey.com answered this question beautifully in saying:
“Who Is a Good Mentor?
You. You’ve lived. You’ve worked. You’ve loved. You’ve failed.
You’ve been scared. You’ve succeeded. There is always someone
coming up behind you who could use a hand...”
Everyone has a story and unique experiences that can offer new perspectives to someone else. Whether it be teaching your mentee how to remember Pi to 25 digits, solve a conflict with a classmate, or land a killer jump shot, everyone has something to offer a child willing to listen. Be A Mentor programs (with the exception of ourAfter-School Mentoring Program at the Carolina Youth Development Center) are based in-school, so our mentors spend a lunch block and/or activity break with their mentee. Commitment is one of the biggest factors in being a great mentor, so if you can commit spending one hour a week to with a child on their lunch break you will change their life for the better. One hour a week, that’s all it takes.
A mentor is the key to success for many children, because they have someone to help them through the tough transitions of life, which the video above does a fantastic job of illustrating. During adolescence especially, many children will take advice from anyone who is not one of their parents, making it imperative that positive role models step in so that the child does not turn to more harmful avenues. We can all remember situations from our youth that may have turned out better if we had one more person to turn to. Be that person for a child in the Lowcountry.
If you are considering becoming a mentor please visit our About Us and Get Involved sections for more information about Be A Mentor. Also, feel free to email any inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn Your Learning Style
If your mentee is having trouble retaining information they may be trying to learn in a style that is not their own. Each of us best learns in one of the styles in the graph above, or a mix of two. Helping your mentee figure out which one works best for them will set them up for success to finish off this semester strong.
Visual learners benefit by utilizing graphs and pictures. Visual learners should pay extra attention to diagrams, timelines, and other visual aids the teacher may draw during class. Visual learners should also take note of Figure and Example sections in textbooks where you can usually find graphs and/or pictures illustrating the subject at hand.
Aural learners use sound to retain information. If your mentee is an aural learner, they should be encouraged to listen closely to their teacher’s lessons, participate, and ask questions when they do not understand. Hearing the teacher explain it again out loud will help an aural learner. They may even want to ask their teacher for permission to record lessons on a voice recorder for future use.
Read/Write learners prefer learning through writing down notes. In class they should take detailed notes of the lessons. Read/Write learners should read over their notes every evening and rewrite them in their own words. This type of learner may also want to consider creating acronyms as memory aids.
Kinesthetic learners are the “do it yourself” type. They need to be physically involved to absorb material best. When the teacher asks for someone to come up to the board and attempt math problems or spelling words, kinesthetic learners should be the first ones with their hands raised. When studying with your mentee, be sure to talk them through material while allowing them to solve things for themselves.
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This week we are celebrating victories outside of the classroom with the theme “Mentoring in Real Life.” Our third Mentor of the Week for National Mentoring Month is Emily Gildea! Emily is currently mentoring Ashlyn, a student at Meeting Street Academy who she has been paired with for the past five years. Emily describes the two as the best of friends who share a love of running 5Ks and Beyoncé.
Emily has long held a passion for mentoring young women, and served on the Junior YWCA Board of Directors in Bristol, TN before relocating to Charleston. She learned about Be A Mentor through a friend as they were redesigning the Meeting Street Academy website, and has enjoyed her experience ever since. “You can’t beat lunch once a week with a smiling face like Ashlyn’s,” she said. Emily enjoys their lunches so much that she still carries the lunch bag that Ashlyn designed for her on their first meeting, even though she admits it is being held together with duct tape now.
Ashlyn and Emily have competed in several 5k races together, and Ashlyn has even placed in the top three in her age range in two of the races they completed in together. Emily’s favorite part about mentoring Ashlyn is her encouragement dedication to 5K races.
During the past five years, Emily has seen Ashlyn grow into a bright, smart, young leader. “We started off with coloring books and board games, and we have moved on to 5Ks and times tables,” Emily shared. The pair share open conversation, but prefer talk about music, gymnastics, food, and the fun they get to have outside of school.
“I hope she realizes what a positive impact she’s had on my life,” Emily said of her mentee. Emily hopes that she and Ashlyn continue to be lifelong friends, even after Ashlyn’s days at Meeting Street Academy. She continued to say, “Our weekly meetings have been the one constant in my life in the past five years of my life; through the loss of my mom to my wedding day. She could never be replaced!”
We love seeing our mentors passionate about the investment they are making in their mentees. We look forward to seeing this pair, and all of our mentor and mentee pairs, continue to flourish. Congratulations again, Emily!
One of the things Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered for is his teachings on the power of forgiveness, so our Monday Activity for today is dedicated to that practice. Genuine forgiveness has been shown to reduce anger, depression, and stress. Instead of holding on to negative thoughts and feeling like a victim, practicing forgiveness releases those feelings and can bring feelings of empowerment, hope, and self-confidence. Below are a few steps you can talk through with your mentee to teach them about the art of forgiveness.
A Guide to Forgiveness
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MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership recently wrote about the astounding work resulting from their partnership with AT&T. As of January 13, over 10,000 AT&T employees have provided one million hours of mentoring to students across the nation, exceeding their goal. Through the AT&T Aspire Mentoring Academy, employees are matched with students who they help to discover their passion in life and realize their full potential.
Allison Hannel, Director of Aspire Mentoring Academy , spoke on employee commitment to mentoring in the original article in saying, “Our employees inspire us every day with their commitment to mentor students who need it most. Through the Aspire Mentoring Academy, they are making a lasting impact on the lives of students around the world and helping to close the mentoring gap."
Like Be A Mentor, the primary focus of AT&T Aspire is to empower students by instilling a caring adult in their lives. Since hitting their million hour milestone AT&T plans to expand their efforts by using the power of technology to reach students around the world.
Read the full story here, and watch Fatimah Shaikh, an Aspire Mentee, speak about the meaningful ways having a mentor has helped her grow.
Video courtesy of AT&T
"Mentoring saves lives. Sometimes I think back and reflect on where I would be if I didn't have the presence of an older acquaintence..."
Hip-Hop Artist Kendrick Lemar discusses the power and importance of mentoring.
Sue Walters has been named Mentor of the Week for Week 2 of National Mentoring Month! Each week of National Mentoring Month has been given a theme to reflect upon, and we will be highlighting a mentor who exemplifies these themes each week. The theme for the second week is “Real Life Impact on Mentors,” which gives mentors a chance to share why mentoring has been meaningful to them.
Sue is a Math Buddy with our Basics Boosters program, so she mentors a small group of bright, lively children. Though she had no mentoring experience prior to volunteering with Be A Mentor, she finds her time as a Math Buddy very rewarding. “It is a wonderful feeling when I see the light go on in a child's eyes who was previously struggling with a concept or problem,” she said. Sue shared the story of the most significant turn-around she has seen in her mentees. She stated, “I had one mentee who would simply shut down on me, and sometimes tear up, if she was presented with a problem she couldn’t figure out. With encouragement, kindness, and patience she actually became really good at staying focused and was one of my most confident students by the year’s end. That was great!”
Sue’s patience while working with her students is not only appreciated by her mentees, but their teachers as well. “I have had teachers tell me their students are getting better with problems. I have also worked with a child or two who wouldn't communicate well in class but would talk and interact well in our session together,” Sue explained. Ironically, Sue was not a great math student, joking in saying, “Third grade is my limit!” She is happy to do what she can to help kids get through the stress of school and math testing. “The kids in general seem to gain confidence with mentoring. It's that extra boost in confidence and reassurance that they need,” she said.
Still taking down that Christmas tree? Well we've got an excellent use for that old tinsel- make levitating orbs with your mentee!
Photos and experiment courtesy of: Science Bob
You will need
The key here is static charge. Similar static charges repel away from each other. When you rub the pipe/balloon in your hair you give the pipe/balloon a negative static charge. The orb is attracted to the pipe/balloon at first because the orb has a positive charge. As soon as the orb touches the pipe/balloon, it picks up a negative charge. Since the pipe/balloon is negative and the tinsel orb is now negative, they repel away from each other and the orb levitates! The orb will also take on more of a “ball” appearance when charged since all the tinsel strands are repelling away from each other. This is one science trick mentees of all ages are sure to love!
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In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we will not have our customary Mentor of the Month. Instead, Be A Mentor will be featuring a mentor each week on our blog who exemplifies the weekly theme. The first week is themed "Encouraging Smart Choices," and we chose Andrew Collins. Andrew is a mentor to Brianna at CYDC.
Before meeting Andrew, Brianna was frustrated by math assignments and angry with herself because she could not figure them out. She did not want to be the kid asking “dumb” questions. Andrew’s approach to mentoring was to make sure Brianna knew that he did not care so much about her homework answers as long as she began to understand the concepts. In their first session he said to her “I don’t want you to demonstrate your results. Instead, take pride in the questions, especially the ‘dumb’ ones.”
He taught her to steer away from focusing on the result and getting upset, and to learn how to apply the overall concepts. “By accepting how her mind can process the overall concept she has opened up and is far more willing to try without fear of being judged. Brianna has opened up and no longer seems afraid of math,” said Andrew.
This new outlook paid off within their first meeting. Andrew’s favorite memory with Brianna is when she finally understood the concept they were working on. “Her eyes widened when she saw the big picture and realized it's all the same just with different variables, numbers and results,” he said.
Andrew is also helping his mentee look past high school. Brianna has dreams of being a nurse, but because she did not know how to accomplish her goal she was feeling defeated. Andrew researched and compiled a list of the nursing programs in South Carolina, as well as, all high school courses and steps she would need to take to get into the programs. “Seeing Brianna get excited when she realized her dream was obtainable made this whole experience worth every second,” he said his experience mentoring.
Brianna turns 15 this month, and Andrew hopes that she gets her dream quinceañera. He also hopes that he can continue to show her that education can be fun, and that leaning is nothing but a step towards success and becoming “the best nurse the world has ever seen!”