© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Mentors Can Transform Lives

I had the privilege the other day to take part in a training series that hosted a motivational speaker from Chicago. He spoke about his personal journey from dropping out of high school to graduating from Harvard.. After listening to this very vibrant and animated man, I not only felt moved and inspired but I left the meeting place in deep reflection.

I began to think about certain conditions surrounding the youth in our society and realized that the underlining theme of success in his story was the fact that he had people who served as mentors in his life. They were people who believed in him. They encouraged him to conquer his dreams. They helped him transform his life. We've forgotten the power mentoring can serve in the life of a young person or even an adult for that matter.

Whoever plays the role of the mentor truly has the ability to influence the life of another and potentially even mold that person's future. Just like this man's story we've all heard an individual express a word of gratitude for someone who has helped define or shape them into who they have become. The responsibilty the title of mentor entails is great! Imagine having the ability to influence someone and push them to see beyond their horizons.

There is evidence that proves mentoring is a way to help guide someone in the right direction. A 1992 study conducted by the research firm Pubic Private Ventures showed that children who had a mentor in their lives were less likely to use drugs and alcohol and were less likely to hurt someone. School attendance and performance improved. And mentored children enjoyed improved relationships with friends and family members.

Think of what kind of effect it would have in our community if everyone had a mentor - someone to look up to, someone who inspired them to achieve greater things, and pushed them to think outside of their comfort zone.

When we continue to see an increase in drop out rates within our schools, along with more youth engaging in violent and unhealthy behaviors, mentoring moves from an option to an urgent need. A mentoring experience could be life altering and its effects have the potential to transcend generations.

As our diverse Central Ohio community continues to expand, we need to take full advantage of the opportunity to mentor our youth and encourage tomorrow's leaders to reach their full potential.