When mentoring matters

July 23, 2015

In every major city in our nation, there are numerous agencies and organizations that offer some kind of mentoring for youth. The size and scale of the mentoring program being offered depends largely upon whether or not it is a primary objective, mission or vision for that organization. It also depends if it is being funded through a grant, receives special funding from some other interested party or is of a particular interest to the agency leader, the board, team members or the general staff.dr an

It is certainly a nice talking point and makes for an enriching conversation among friends, community partners, business leaders and civic officials. Mentoring is a process we all know something about and perhaps grew up involved in as a mentee and perhaps now serve as a mentor. Throughout all our lives, we had those caring adults, older students, teachers, coaches, a counselor, neighbors, church parishioners or a family member who gave us some much needed advice or just took us under their wings to show us the way and how thing are done. In so many ways mentoring can be seen as “life coaching” and has always been something done one-on-one, in a group, joining a club or being on a team.

Measuring any mentoring program effectiveness continues to be hard to measure by any standard and is open for debate. Today, mentoring takes on many forms and shapes, even if we do not see it as mentoring. Mentoring does not have to be something that is so rigid or inflexible. It can be something that occurs on a schedule, over time, a specific time table, date, weekly, by topic, and includes a conversation during a planned outing or over lunch. And with modern technology and social media now in play, mentoring or aspects of mentoring as well as a mentoring conversation can take place on a whole new dimension. Developing and building an effective mentoring program for any age group is quite a challenge and that is not an understatement.

It is a tall order. In any regard, it takes a considerable amount of time to create, to recruit mentors, screenings, conducting training sessions, paper work, and background checks and to maintain communication. Mentoring is needed, mentoring is necessary and it is what is missing for a large segment of this current younger generation, especially those age 16-24 and involved in Juvenile Court. I currently am working with the WestCare Wisconsin, Face Forward program to develop a quality mentoring team. Putting this mentoring team together is a challenge.

A few of my biggest problems are trying to find caring adults who want to make a difference in the lives of a new generation and additional funding for mentors. If interested, give me a call… you are needed and welcomed. Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at andrewiiicalhoun@ gmail.com, and Facebook. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee 414-688-4964.