"We are like snowflakes, all different in our own beautiful way"
With Winter Break right around the corner, you and your mentee will be parting ways until the new year. Use your last mentoring session of 2016 and this snowflake activity to tell your mentee just how special they are!
What you need:
Start with a square piece of construction paper. Begin by folding the construction paper in half. Fold in half again, so the pointy corners meet. Cut variations of lines into the paper triangle. Get creative! The more different shapes and sizes you create makes for a more unique snowflake. When you are done cutting, unfold the paper and voila! Use the markers to decorate your snowflake. In the center, write what is special (like a snowflake!) about your mentee. Add a hole punch and tie a loop of string to make your snowflake an ornament or door decoration.
When you are done creating your unique snowflake, trade with your mentee. This way, you each will have a reminder of just how special you are to take home with you over the holiday break.
"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
It’s hard to believe that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is already upon us. Office parties, endless shopping, so many sweet treats are on their way, oh my! It will go as quickly as it came, so before we get completely swept up in the holiday haze, let’s take a moment to remember what this season is actually about.
In a recent study, it was found that one of the largest contributions to one's overall happiness is how much gratitude one shows to others. Volunteers who read letters of appreciation aloud to those they were addressed to showed increases in happiness of up to 19%! Those who had the letter read to them showed equally high (or higher!) levels of joy. What could be a better gift than the gift of happiness?
Give your mentee the gift of giving these next couple of weeks before Winter Break by writing letters together to people who have positively influenced their life. This heart warming activity is a fantastic way to remind your mentee of the family, friends and teachers who impact their lives, as well as sharing holiday cheer!
Click here for additional ways for kids to give back this holiday season!
" I hope that one day he can look back and think I truly helped make a positive difference in his life"
As we gear up for Thanksgiving, Be A Mentor is particularly thankful for every mentor that helps make a world of difference in a child’s life! This month we are celebrating Shannon Ryan, a mentor with us at Carolina Youth and Development Center, as our November Mentor of the Month! As a police officer, she has always loved working with programs focused on children and wanted to continue to make a positive impact in their lives.
Since the spring of 2015, Shannon has been spreading joy and confidence as she helps her mentee break out of his shell.
Her most recent favorite memory is working with him on a photography project due the next day in school. Thinking he was unable to complete the project because he didn’t have a camera or a partner, Shannon’s mentee was thrilled when she offered to help! Not only was her mentee able to complete the project, the next week when Sharon came back he was so excited to hell her that he got an A on the project!
Be A Mentor is so grateful for Shannon and all of our mentors. Thank YOU & happy thanksgiving!
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a week away! As our personal and professional lives, and the academic lives of our mentees, get more chaotic than ever with the quickly approaching holiday season, remember to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take stock of all of that there is to be thankful for!
Pass on this thankful mindset while meeting with your mentee this week. Make a fun game out thanks by youtusing the worksheet above. This activity is a great reminder to your mentee of all that is exciting about the holiday season, a time that may often be stressful for at-risk youth.
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”
This Friday, 11/11, as the nation celebrates the men and women who have fought for the United States, reach out to your mentee and together learn about the history and significance of Veterans Day. Use this upcoming week with your mentee to reflect on the sacrifices made by past and current service members and what your mentee can do for those who have put their life on the line.
Have your student make individual notes or thank you cards to be sent to the nearest Veterans Affairs medical center, or state Veterans home. Better yet, have your student get their classmates involved! Find your local facilities at www.va.gov/health/ !
Fruit and Vegetable Prints just got an Autumn update!
Cut up apples, carrots, ears of corn, and pumpkins to use in painting fall themed food prints. Fall colors will create a cornucopia of fun! Use this classroom craft favorite as an opportunity to discuss seasonal fruits, vegetables and nutrition.
Click the Pic for instructions on how to make the best prints with your mentee!
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"
One out of every four students reports being bullied during the school year, while over 64% of bullying goes unreported (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015). This Friday, October 7th, is World Bullying Prevention Day. As this day sheds light on an epidemic that effects students of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, reach out to your mentee and discuss the importance of kindness in and out of the classroom.
Make kindness a game! For a fun anti-bullying activity, have your mentee write down random acts of kindness on strips of colorful paper and loop them together to create a chain of kindness. Each day, have your mentee tear off one kindness loop and complete the random act of kindness. He/she can keep a log of how each act of kindness affected others and his/herself.
A World of Difference is just one act of kindness away. You and your mentee can break the chain of bullying today!
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”
— Benjamin Disraeli
Often times youth dealing with excessive challenges build emotional walls as a defense mechanism, trying to protect themselves from disappointment and potential further hardship. This can manifest itself in an outward lack of interest, misbehavior or even aggression. In some cases there is a drastic divide between the students and the adult figures in their lives. As mentors, it is our job to display the consistency and kindness necessary to bridge that gap. As mentors start to work with students hiding behind this tactic, it is important to remember that with patience and a consistent presence those walls will start to come down over time..
When met with distance or silence, quickness to anger or frustration right off the bat from your mentee, Edutopia suggests that using these harder instances as an opportunity to create connections rather than consequences fosters positive youth development.
To create significant connections with your mentee, start by:
The video clip above explains the 5 C's of Positive Youth Development, five attributes mentors can inspire within their mentees through making connections. These 5 C’s are the foundation of influential mentoring, using connections to focus on promotion of competence, confidence, connection, character and caring.
Take a look to see how mentors can make a world of difference through positive connections!
"Fear not, sweet child..."
“Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.”- Stephen King
What is stopping you from reaching your goals? Is it time? Your finances? For our mentee Brianna at the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) it was one thing - fear- before she met her mentee, Andrew. Like many teens, Brianna struggled with self-doubt, and was losing hope for the future. She was getting frustrated with math class, and felt that she would never achieve her dream of attending college and becoming a nurse due to her circumstances as a child in foster care.
Noticing the frustration his mentee felt when she could not understand problems in her math homework assignments, Andrew was eager to help. Brianna grew angry with herself and did not want to be seen as a “dumb” kid asking questions. Andrew was very encouraging with Brianna, and assured her that he cared more about her understanding the concepts in her assignments than he cared about right answers. Through their tutoring sessions at CYDC and Andrew’s support, Brianna learned to open up and she became willing to try without the fear of being judged. “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 of the moment he noticed his mentee was no longer afraid of math. As her anxiety decreased, she confidence grew, and her math scores improved.
Andrew also helped his mentee look past high school and towards her dream of becoming a nurse. As a surprise for his mentee, he researched and compiled a list of every nursing program in South Carolina, all of the high school courses she would need to take, 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 of that special moment.
Andrew was able to give his mentee the encouragement she needed to build confidence in herself and have hope for her future. Because of their mentoring relationship, fear is no longer what is keeping Brianna from accomplishing her goals. She learned to never accept the “no,” and that going after your dreams is something worth pursuing. If you would like to help a child build the confidence to pursue their dreams, visit our Volunteer page to learn about the volunteer opportunities we have at Be A Mentor.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.