Younger Generation’s Development: Mentors Make A Difference

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When a child leaves a less than satisfactory home to come to school, they tend to act out and get into lots of trouble. These children are seen as “at-risk” children. At-risk children are known for having behavior issues and problems obtaining educational material in school. Mentors come to play by helping these at-risk children progress in life and give the child the positive role model they need to steer them to a successful future. A mentor can be anyone who is rooting for the child, who wants to see a difference in them, and who vows to help them succeed in life. The need for mentors is the key to successful childhood development.

“In 2015, more juveniles were arrested in Pinellas County than anywhere else in Florida and most places nationalwide, including Los Angeles and Baltimore”. The author addresses the rise in juvenile crime in Pinellas County, Florida. Some of these children are growing up in homes with no stable guardian to admire and aspire to be, no positive role-model to idolize, and no one to show love or compassion for them. These petty and sometimes dangerous crimes or behaviors are silent cries of help from these kids. When children from the same neighborhood were called to talk about how the city can make a change, a 15 year old made the comment, “We need more role-models. We need more people who are willing.”(Gartner)., she very explicitly called for help. The need for mentors goes beyond making a child happy, it’s all about changing a child’s life. Organizations everywhere are in desperate need of more mentors to assign to the children in the area. The organizations advertise the necessity of positive influences by utilizing success stories by people who have grown with mentors, while also including stories of people who did Fnot grow with a positive influence and how difficult their childhood was. For example, football player Willie Mason has been in heaps of trouble growing up, saying “I know what it’s like growing up tough”. The author includes the success story of Mason, later quoting him on finding his mentor, his football coach, and turning his life completely around. The quote “Over the course of a year, Donovan evolves from a drifting kid into a motivational highschool student with increased expectations for himself” clearly demonstrates the positive effects of having a mentor in a child’s life.

The author of the article “Many Healthy Returns: Sure, a Mentor Can Help Change a Drifting Kid’s Life. Turns out, Mentoring Might Also Help Control Health Care Costs.” further defends the topic of how mentors make monumental differences to a child’s life by mentioning: “A good mentoring relationship for one year or more, just quality time together for a few hours once a week, and things like violence, school dropouts, and depression decline and hope, purpose, and performance increase”. The statistics “If your parent is a doctor, you’re likely to become a doctor… If your dad is in jail, it’s really hard to break that cycle”. This continues my argument that mentors are very important. Most kids that live in poverty are growing up with one parent. That parent might have to work two or more jobs to support the family, which could cause severe stress in the parent, thus adding stress to the child. If a child has a parent who is successful, they would want to emulate them and be the best they could be. If a child’s parent is incarcerated, they would live a much more taxing life and get involved in dangerous lifestyles.

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In addition to the argument of the absolute need for mentors, the reliable data of “As we all know, there is a strong correlation between what a young person achieves later in life… and if they had a mentor earlier in life” exhibits crucial information of the formula of success in life. When a child has someone to look up to and the advisor is a stable person in the child’s life, the child will grow up victorious and achieve what they set their minds to. If the child witnesses an unreliable figure in their life, the mentee loses the hope and desire of reaching new levels in life. The at-risk child completely loses ambition in their future. A child’s cry for help isn’t always through words, but more through actions. Children that come from low income families tend to be very hostile and violent towards others, especially at school. “I had a hard time in school...I couldn’t sit still, I was getting in trouble, sassing teachers”. The reasoning for such behavior can be blamed on the disorder called “toxic stress”. Children who live in poverty experience something called “toxic stress” from facing the traumatics of living in poverty at such a young age. Toxic stress has severe symptoms such as, problems with learning and accelerating in school, behavioral issues, and physical as well as mental health issues.

Mentors make a monumental difference in the children they guide. In some instances, the child isn’t turning to life of crime, but instead losing motivation in school and being active. “I’ve lost 10 pounds, and I don’t eat as much junkfood sitting on the couch playing video games”. Mentors can also help encourage a child to live a healthier lifestyle and decrease childhood obesity. If a mentor can help the child live a healthier life, the child will gain motivation and perhaps participate in school activities.Studies show that “Kids do need a male figure in their lives, but it does not have to be a biological father”. The inclusion of this quote advances the reason for the pressing need of mentors. Anyone can be a mentor, it doesn’t have to be anyone related to the child, just someone the child can depend on. The author adds in addition, "The most important thing in a family is that a child feels loved and he or she has emotional support and some kind of stability". This illuminates an at-risk child’s utmost need in life other than positive reinforcement from an adult figure, but empathy and compassion from said adult figure.

Another instance of a stranger making a difference comes from Willie Mason when he says, “Bennett (football coach) has improved me as a person… he brings the best out of me”. This contributes to the statement that mentors don’t have to have a familial relation by revealing the relationship between a player and his coach. Many children who play sports do look up to their coaches, especially males, as guardians and sometimes even parental figures. Because most kids leave a single parent home, the demand for another parental figure comes as almost an instinct. Children crave empathy, sympathy, and compassion from a parental figure, hence why they lean towards someone who shows progressive and constructive discipline such as coaches and teachers.

The eye opening statistic that was incorporated into “Mentors have influence in children’s lives.” demonstrated that all successful people had a mentor or idol of some sort that they looked up to and were motivated to strive to please or become:“When you ask successful adults, and particularly so for men of color and women, when you ask them did you have a mentor in your life, those who were self defined as successful in their career choice to a T say yes”.

Mentors are the sole solution to this younger generation’s success and motivation. The benefits don’t stop at a child succeeding with the help of a mentor. The pure satisfaction of knowing that a child’s life was changed with a few simple motions of caringness is a reward in return to the mentor. “There’s nothing better than helping someone shape the future of their life by being a positive role-model, a positive in their life so they can reach their dreams.” If mentors didn’t exist, there would be no one to motivate at-risk children when no one else can get through to them and form a very unique bond.To add to benefits of being a mentor, the children are very grateful when they notice the change in themselves. The children also enjoy having someone to look out for them and spend time with them. “Ian said having a mentor has been more fun than a good time”. Children like Ian recognize how his mentor is making their time together a fun experience rather than a lecture. In addition to the prior quote and to further the evidence of a child enjoying their time with their mentor, “Ian said that having a mentor has been more fun than he expected”. This specific quote perfectly illustrates that being a mentor isn’t just about teaching the child how to progress in life and lecture them on how to act in school and obtain the material but to also help them open up and be more empathetic to those around them.

In conclusion, mentors are the key to this younger generation’s success. Mentors, regardless if they are aware or not, are very powerful and important in today’s society. They help give this younger generation hope and motivation to do something great with their lives. Advisors are truly the saviors of this generation and fulfil many duties in a way that most parents or guardians cannot fulfill themselves for their own children. Mentors create an immense impact on our ever growing population by shaping our youth.

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