January is National Mentoring Month: A great way to kick of the New Year
Forgot to make a New Year’s resolution for 2020? January is National Mentoring Month and it’s the perfect time to resolve to give back to the community.
Mentorship programs provide children and young adults with life-changing role models. One local institution that provides this type of support is Be A Mentor (BAM). Be A Mentor’s mission is to help young people develop positive relationships and reach their full potential through mentorship.
Emily Cruse, program manager for Be A Mentor, stressed the impact volunteers make in the lives of those they mentor. “It’s hard to sum up the importance of mentoring. I am a firm believer that no one gets to their highest level of success without a mentor and/or someone giving them a chance. Mentors are people that do not show sympathy for someone but recognize more in their mentee than what that child/adult sees in themselves,” said Cruse.
“Daniel Island is a beautiful town with a lot of truly kind and giving people … They recognize the blessings they have been given and want to give to others. Material givings are greatly appreciated, however, the giving of your time is highly impactful. You will learn the resilience of children and begin to recognize ALL the children in the community are OUR kids. Your place and position can motivate a child who might not have any positive role models in their life,” she added.
Former Daniel Island resident Chad Vail works at Charleston County School District and became involved with Be A Mentor after seeing the important connections facilitated for students.
“My role with CCSD is Work-based Learning Partnerships Coordinator. I help connect students (and teachers) in our 80 schools with career exploration opportunities like industry visits, job shadowing, and internships/apprenticeships. DI residents would be well served by investing their time and talent in the Be A Mentor program. I am thankful to remain connected to DI through friends and Rotary, and I encourage everyone on the island to consider this opportunity to invest in our community,” said Vail.
“BAM does an excellent job of pre-qualifying, training, and connecting adults willing to invest in our students. Thanks to the BAM program’s proven method of preparation and connection, the relationship of trust and accountability between mentor and mentee is a mutually beneficial investment of time and talent for all concerned. The value of investing in students is unmistakable — mentors often see tangible progress in the student’s social, emotional, and academic success in no time,” stated Vail.
Eric Keller has worked on Daniel Island for 15 years and has seen firsthand the impact mentoring makes in a community.
“You don’t have to look far to see how a great surrounding community can leave an impression on our children that allows them to succeed in many ways. I love that Be a Mentor opens the door for so many volunteers to share these encouraging opportunities with our youth, and the results we’ve seen are truly amazing. Investing in our youth is investing in our future, so it’s an easy decision to participate through mentoring or supporting programs that do just that,” he said.
Another mentoring organization, South Carolina MENTOR, provides programs to youth of all ages with emotional and behavioral challenges, as well as adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and medically complex needs. Founded in 1984, the programs are designed with the belief that people of all abilities are capable of flourishing in their home communities.
On Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., South Carolina MENTOR will hold an informational meeting about fostering at their Charleston office located at 4 Carriage Lane. The session will take place in Suite 302 and is a drop-in event.
Read365 is a reading program created by the Charleston nonprofit Meeting Street Schools to increase the literacy skills of fourth and fifth graders. Read365 provides students with adult mentors who help them read and analyze literature. Daniel Island resident Debbie Clapp started mentoring for Read365 in 2018.
“Mentoring is about being open to a relationship. You do not have to have an impressive resume, only the willingness to share your life’s experiences with another. If you can show up and engage, you are telling another person that they matter,” explained Clapp.
Dr. Troy Hall, Daniel Island resident and Chief Strategy Officer at South Carolina Federal Credit Union, uses a simple example to describe the value of mentoring among business leaders. “While in the Philippines I had the opportunity to understand how cacao trees are bred and planted. These trees are rich in producing the chocolate found in the sweet treats we enjoy. Without any help, a cacao tree would be able to produce fruit in five years. However, when a piece of a mature cacao tree is grafted with a seedling, the new tree can produce fruit in half the time,” Hall said. “Mentoring is an important aspect of the development process for leaders and the success of those that they influence. We should always be thinking of how we can build up the next generation of leaders and not take it for granted they will find their way on their own,” he added.
Last year, Hall received a formal resolution from state representatives for his work launching the inaugural Global Leadership Exchange program, which was held in Charleston in March. The cultural leadership event was established in partnership with Konstantin Comeros, a young businessman who works at a credit union in the Philippines, and focused on organizational leadership, talent retention, and promoting diversity and inclusion.
According to Hall, “My experience with the Global Leadership Exchange program provided an awesome opportunity for me to give of myself in a way to focus on the needs of another. It was much more than just a mentoring program, as I was learning a new culture, too … In effect, we were both immersing in our cultures. He was teaching me and I was teaching him.”
INTERESTED IN MENTORING?
For more information on mentoring opportunities, check out the following websites:
Be A Mentor
South Carolina MENTOR
Global Leadership Exchange