Every year for the last 6 years we have interviewed the students who have participated in the mentoring program for the year. The number one reason students tell us they want a mentor is to have an adult to talk with every week who will be their friend and not a counselor or an authority figure.
They long for someone they can trust to not be judgmental when they confide their struggles. Someone who will see them, hear them, encourage them and celebrate them.
Students deeply value the opportunity to unburden themselves through conversations with their mentor and often apply sound advice given. They also value a two-way conversation in which their mentor shares about their life too. They are literally learning how to have positive conversations with their peers and other adults by practicing each week with their mentor. It is so fun to listen to them relate how they are enjoying their relationship with their mentor and the positive outcomes they see in themselves. Students also tell us they love to play games, do projects, be active, receive small gifts (especially food) and laugh with their mentors. When their mentors miss a week the students are genuinely disappointed.
It is absolutely stunning to hear from the student’s perspective the impact one hour a week of undivided attention from a caring adult friend makes.
-Nancy McHarness, Co-Founder, Partners for Schools/Be the One.