The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

National Mentoring Month

By Kristine Behrhorst/reporter

Every day, many children and youth enter foster care, and National Mentoring Month focuses on the needs of these young people and ways to help make a difference in their lives.

January is National Mentoring Month with the slogan “Share what you know. Become a Mentor.”

The month-long outreach campaign focuses national attention on the need for mentors.

According to www.mentoring.org, the month also shows how everyone—individuals, businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofit organizations—can work together.

It is hoped the national campaign will increase the number of mentors and assure brighter futures for young people all over the country.

Mentoring goes beyond helping the poor and uneducated it also works on many professional levels.

“NE Campus has a few unofficial groups that mentor through service learning,” Van Parker, NE vice president for student development, said.

“I’m very limited when it comes to talking about mentoring even here on campus,” he said.

Mentoring can be viewed as actually hiring students to advise or tutor other students, Parker said. 

It can also be a student going to a faculty member and confiding in them or asking questions about personal education status or experience.

“Today, many young people do not have a caring adult mentor to provide encouragement and support, but volunteers can close the gap,” he said.

The campaign encourages people to think of the mentors in their lives—a team coach, teacher, a neighbor or caring adult—and take a few minutes to thank them and then consider becoming a mentor.

With the www.mentoring.org’s zip code research tool, those interested can find profiles of local mentoring programs—e-mentoring, group or one-on-one—and choose the program that works best for them.

Many organizations have a tremendous impact on young lives by sponsoring mentoring programs.

For instance, some employers, such as TCC, can partner with a local school and recruit their employees to mentor students.

Clifton Dobbins, coordinator of the South Campus testing center, is one of the sponsors of African American Male Enrichment Network, The student organization reaches out to schools neighboring the South Campus.

“We have student organizations on campus that we [South students and education services] help with leadership programs,” Juan Garcia, South Campus, vice president for student development said.

Groups such as AAMEN have worked with O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth.

According to www.howtomentor.org, workplace-based mentoring programs not only benefit the children but also benefit coworkers.

Workplace mentoring programs create employee loyalty, increase productivity and build stronger ties between the organization and the community.

Last semester, Dr. Kathleen Noble, TCC’s associate vice chancellor for continuing education services, spoke to the Women’s Leadership Forum, sponsored by Women in New Roles, about mentoring.

Mentors, Nobel said, can be personal/professional, male/female or formal/informal. Formal mentoring consists of networking, counseling and friendships.

Informal mentoring consists of teaching, soft skills, protection and critical, candid evaluations.

“Mentors help keep you out of trouble,” she said. “They are there to listen and look at your faults and strengths.”

Some types of mentoring include natural, situational and supervisory mentoring. Noble said natural mentoring is usually a mother and occurs all at one time while situational mentoring is short lived and happens for a reason. Supervisory mentoring includes good supervisors, the mentor and subordinates.

Defining personal values will help clarify what mentoring means, Noble said.

“Be sure to select someone you trust who has mentoring skills and has the professional skills you desire,” she said.

Communication and getting the most of a mentoring experience will help people achieve their desired outcomes.

“When you have a mentor, be sure you know how to communicate with them, define how often you both will meet and have feedback processes in place,” she said.

For more information on mentoring, log on to www.NationalMentoringInstitute.org.

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