“Your temporary circumstances do not have to be your permanent identity… All of us have challenges and problems, but in almost all circumstances they are temporary, but somehow they get so invested in us that we think they are permanent.”
For children living in low-income areas, the difference between success and failure has little to do with talent, and much to do with attitude. You do not have to be a brilliant student to become the first person in your family to go to college, nor do you have to be a mechanical genius to start a trade career. Dreams being achieved is often the result of resilience, enduring, and having faith in knowing that if you make small changes for the better things can add up.
Most of us have faced situations, or been given identities, that we never thought we would be confronted with. We also know how hard it can be to break free from those labels, even if the only person we have to convince is ourselves. Many of our mentees have challenges, problems, and labels that many of us never even thought about. Many of the children in our programs are living in poverty, having issues with bullying, or struggling with learning disabilities. Due to these challenges, many of them feel discouraged and hopeless in their future at heartbreakingly early ages. Mentors hear things like “I don’t know how I could ever do that,” or, “That’s not for me, people from my neighborhood don’t go to college,” before kids even hit middle school.
So how do we fix this? How do we fight this? Showing up is the first step. The key to building resilience is encouraging kids to define themselves by their character, and not by their circumstances. Almost all circumstances, no matter how bleak they seem, are temporary. Simply getting a child to believe in that is the first step to helping them reach their full potential.
If you would like to empower a child to have the courage to reach for their dreams, please visit our Get Involved section to learn about our Programs and Volunteer Opportunities. Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Last night Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas earned the right of an elite few having joined the USA Olympic Team in Women's Gymnastics for the second time, a feat that has not been accomplished since 2000. As the oldest member of the gymnastics team, the odds were certainly against Aly Raisman, but through her own determination, and the support of her parents, she kept her eyes on the prize and ultimately her hard work paid off.
Raisman summed up what motivated her to go out for the Olympic team for a second time in saying, "I just want to look back and know that I had no regrets. I didn't want to be sitting on the couch watching the 2016 Olympics thinking, 'What if I'd tried?'"
We've all had moments where we gave up too soon only to feel the pain of regret later. At Be A Mentor we work to empower youth to reach their full potential by matching them with caring adults committed to their success, role models like Aly Raisman found in her parents. Sometimes when we ask children to step outside of their comfort zones it feels, to them, like being stuck on a balance beam. Thankfully, when they have someone to encourage and support them along the way they almost always stick the landing. Some mentees go on to achieve things they deemed impossible before meeting their mentor, and others gain the courage to try again even if they stumble and fall. By encouraging youth, and giving them the guidance and tools they need to succeed, it is our hope that no child in the Lowcountry grows up to look back and think "What if I'd tried?"
Watch the video above to hear more about Raisman's commitment to her craft and her journey on the Road to Rio. To learn more about how mentoring relationships inspire children in your area, please visit our Testimonials page to read what a few of our mentees had to say about their mentors.
"What is my purpose in life?" That is a pretty heavy question that all of us have asked ourselves at some point in life. In fact, some people never quite figure it out, which is OK. The YouTube channel SoulPancake asked 100 individuals from all walks of life, ages 0-100, what their purpose in life is. You may be surprised by their answers.
Recurring themes with these participants were helping others and coming together to inspire those who don't have anyone there for them. One participant put it briefly in saying “I’m here to inspire other people to live life to their fullest potential,” which is what we consider our purpose in life. Our mission is to enable youth to develop positive relationships with caring adults who empower them to reach their full potential through mentorship. This is our mission, because you never know the impact you can have on someone's life until you spend time with them. You should never underestimate your ability to connect with another person, especially a child, because an encouraging presence is sometimes all it takes to make a lasting difference.
Watch the video for yourself and explore what your own purpose in life is. If you think a part of your purpose is helping youths reach their full potential, visit our Get Involved section to learn more about our programs and how you can be involved with Be A Mentor. Also feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.