- Claire Palmer
Benefits of Teen Mentorship with LIFT
At LIFT, our mission is to empower the youth of Leelanau County to discover and embrace their strengths to become kind leaders by investing in their evolution, autonomy, and character.
There are hundreds of ways we fulfill this mission, from providing comfort in times of crisis to supporting the teens in their extracurriculars to inviting volunteer guests to teach them a new skill.
We see the value that spending time with a struggling teen brings and watch this in motion in our everyday lives as we work to create the best environment possible for our teens.
However, empowering today's youth goes beyond providing snacks, playing educational games, and throwing pizza parties. We bring all that we can to improve the lives of teens in the community by going one step further and offering them teen mentorship.
Mentoring can be a fantastic opportunity for both the teen and the adult. Both can gain valuable skills from their partnership.
Having a role model to look up to and learning from real-life experiences is an invaluable opportunity for the teens in our community. The teenage years can be confusing and frustrating when life doesn't always seem fair or make sense. Having access to someone who has lived through similar experiences allows you to ask questions and seek advice in a safe space, free from judgment.
Teens often feel pressure to conform and be accepted among their peers. Having a mentor outside of your immediate social circle provides yet another opportunity for you to learn about yourself and develop confidence in your own identity.
In addition, a mentor can help teens understand what's going on with friends, school, and other challenges that might pop up along the way.
The mentor brings with them the benefit of hindsight and years of experience.
A mentor often has a lot in common with their mentee and can share relatable experiences and advice. For example, advice from a parent might not be taken seriously, but advice from someone who's been in the same situation will feel more genuine to a young person. In addition, mentors who have weathered struggles similar to those their mentees are facing may be able to offer valuable guidance about how best to navigate through them.
The one-on-one dynamic between mentor and mentee allows them to grow in ways they might not have been able to otherwise.
For the mentee, a consistent adult presence in their life can be a positive outlet during an often confusing and tumultuous time. Mentors who provide guidance and are simply willing to be present for their mentees as trusted adults can make a dramatic difference in a teen's life. This kind of relationship is very different from that of teacher and student - mentors aren't there to tell a teen what to do - they're just there for them.
Mentors are there to listen, not give advice or lecture.
A good mentor knows how to be a sounding board when a teenager faces issues like academic challenges, family problems, peer pressure, bullying, or social anxiety. Instead of telling teens what they should do or giving them the answers they need to succeed in school and life, mentors guide them through coming up with solutions on their own. This collaborative approach empowers young people and helps build critical thinking skills that will serve them well as adults.
In addition, a mentor can also offer an outside perspective on difficult situations by using examples from their own life to demonstrate how setbacks can become growth opportunities. Mentors also inspire their mentees by sharing how they overcame obstacles such as failing grades in high school and went on to achieve success.
Mentoring can be a phenomenal way for volunteers who have limited time to impact the lives of others.
Working full-time can get in the way of our volunteer work for many of us. Although it's vital to spend time giving back, it's also essential to have time off. Luckily, there are other ways to help others while getting involved with your community. Teen mentorship is an effective solution that still provides a valuable learning experience for the youth with a smaller time commitment for the adult.
We are grateful for all of our mentors and volunteers and would like to thank you for your dedication to our mission.
Throughout the years of LIFT, we have seen incredible humans take the time to come, volunteer, and mentor the community's youth. We wanted to thank those involved in the past and those who will help in the future. We've seen adults and teens share the joys of discovering new things together- like learning to play a new game or cook homemade mac and cheese- and have helped each other learn more about themselves and what it means to be a good person.
Through the experiences of teen mentorship, the youth gains insight into their lives. They can look forward to the future and start to gain insight into who they are, and the mentor also gains insight into their own lives. Both the mentor and the mentee can benefit tremendously from their partnership.
If you have ever wondered if you would be an excellent mentor to someone younger who could be going through some of the same challenges that you did when you were younger, don't hesitate to contact us via this link. We would love to talk to you about opportunities with LIFT.