As mentors...

As mentors we are suppose to be role models, we are suppose to show our mentees the right way vs the wrong way. We are supposed to be the ones they strive to be like. We are suppose to be the ones who know what to say exactly when to say it.

Although that can feel pretty good, it can also be quite terrifying. What if you get in trouble and get a detention? Or what if your mentee catches you swearing? Or talking bad about someone else? Or what if they ask you a personal question and you freeze and have no clue what to say?

When I first started doing Mentorship, I felt like everything I did and said had to be monitored. For the first part I felt like I was being watched by two beady eyes from the moment I walked into the school till the moment I stepped onto the bus.

I know when I was in grade 7, I had a mentor and she changed my life. She made me come out of my comfort zone and taught me how to love myself and my body. She taught me that it doesn't matter what others think of you as long as you know your worth. She taught me that it's better to have 2 or 3 loyal friends that to have 20 friends who talk behind your back and spread rumors. She told me every day until I got it through my head that no matter what I am beautiful and worth more than I could ever imagine.

She is the reason I wanted to join Mentorship. I wanted to return the favor. If you didn't have a mentor, be the mentor you wish you had as a kid when you were a new, scared grade 7.

Over the past few months I have realized that mentoring is a two way street - you get out what you put in. If you don't try to connect with your mentee, and you don't try to create a relationship ship with them, your mentee is not going to open up and well,  it's going to be a long year.

What I have learned over these past few months is that: it's okay to mess up, it's okay to make mistakes, it's okay to not know what to say. It's okay to say “I don't know”. You're mentee knows you're not perfect, in reality no one is.

The Good The Bad And The Purpose

There are so many good things that come with signing up for mentorship: you get 3 easy  credits, and it’s an easy  opportunity to get a spare. So why not join?

But what if you do decide to  join and  your mentee hates you? What if they’re in this program against their will? What if you can’t connect with them and the only thing you ever learn about them is that they have a cat named Kat? What if your mentee doesn’t like you or you don’t like them?

Everybody always seems to be talking about the obvious pros and cons about joining mentorship but no one ever seems to talk about the purpose. No one seems to talk about why the mentorship program was placed into our school. Have you ever thought that maybe your little person has a rough home life and you are the only person that they trust enough to tell you private things. Or maybe your mentor is shy and insecure…. Maybe they don't know how to love themselves until you come along and teach them. Us mentors could be inspiring our mentees and not even know it.

Being in mentorship is more than just meeting with a little person once a week. Mentor has a purpose. More than one. Mentorship is a program that gives high schools the opportunity to make a connection with someone who is new to the school and give them a feeling of being safe and secure.

To  the world, you may just be another high schooler, but maybe just maybe to that little grade sevener, you're their hero. Maybe you're their role model and they look up to you with such awe.

When I first joined Mentorship, I didn't think I was going to create a relationship with my little person. I didn't think I would be able to sit there and have her tell me things she wouldn't if she didn't trust me. I didn't  think that I would be able to make her laugh to the point where she's almost choking. I didn't see myself looking forward to picking her up in her classroom and just talking about everything and anything. Mentorship gives the mentee the benefit of knowing that someone cares about them. That someone is looking out for them and can give them advice on anything. Mentorship makes mentees understand that they are not alone and that they don't have to be scared of what's going to happen.

Mentorship has the opportunity to change lives for both the mentors and the mentees.

 Instead of just looking at the pros and cons of joining Mentorship…. Think about the purpose.

What is Mentorship?

What is mentorship and why do we do it?

Mentorships in our school is when a high school student takes time out of his or her day to meet consistently with a Grade 7.  It may seem trivial when the idea is first suggested, but when actually considered, it’s a system that will greatly benefit the younger kids at our school.  One of the big focuses of our school with the “Encounters” that we do is meaningful relationships.  Meaningful relationships between a person and their friends, between a person and the adults in their life, and lastly between a person and God.  We are seeking to create meaningful relationships between the senior kids in the school and the inexperienced younger kids in the school.  Jr. high and high school can often be overwhelming for individuals.  The expectations go up.  The pace is faster.  They are expected to find their identity in a constantly changing environment.  They are frantically trying to find themselves amidst the chaos.  Thus, some kids often make poor decisions or develop a demeaning opinion of themselves.  It is our job as mentors to help the kids that we are paired with to realize how gifted they are and that they are cared about and that they are not alone going into Jr. high.  We are friends to come along side them and give them an example of how to act and walk in faith.  We pray for them and help them build meaningful relationships.  We help them learn about themselves and find their own identity in a constantly changing environment.

 

Mentorship is a system that does not just benefit the younger end of the relationship.  The elder person also is rewarded.  Mentorship it is an arrangement that requires growth from both parties.  Those who normally don’t talk to people they don’t know are forced to make conversation.  When both ends of the relationship seem to be shy and disengaged it forces someone to step outside of their comfort zone.  It forces the mentor to be conscious of how they act in school and out of school.  One of the things that we are often reminded of is that our mentee is watching.  Always.  When a young person looks up to someone they often imitate their actions.  Do we want everything we do to be imitated?  This can be good when they see you with friends having a good time or engaging with teachers.  But an offhand conversation with swears or behaving in a way that disrespects others around you is also something that can be imitated.  It is our responsibility to help our mentee find their identity.  It is our responsibility to help them develop and grow.   Not only individually, but also spiritually.  We must be careful what we teach, because it is constantly observed and taken note of.  The advice that we give them causes us to reflect on our own experiences.  Were the choices that we made good? And how would we change them if we could?  Our experiences help us guide the kids of the next generation.  We can make a difference in their lives, and we can’t take that opportunity for granted.  

Overview of the Mentorship Program

Overview of the program by Beth Rempel

What is ‘Mentorship’? Mentorship is a program that buddies up one grade 7 with their own grade 10-12 mentor.  

Who runs it? The mentorship program is run by Mrs. Hafner, who also teaches science and biology.

Who is it for? This program is for grade 7s and grade 10-12s.

Where and when does it take a place? Once a week, the mentors will pick up their mentees from their homeroom at the start of lunch where then they will go to the link to eat their lunches. As well, they can go to the gym to hang out, play a game in the library, etc.; however, they are not allowed to meet off-campus or leave the campus while they are meeting; the meetings happen strictly at SCA. The program begins around the beginning of October and they meet throughout the school year, ending at the beginning of June.

How do you get into the program? For grade sevens, they just have to show their interest and fill out a sheet that gives them a chance to express their favourite things--food, sport, book, etc. This helps in pairing up the mentee and mentor. The mentors fill out an application and answer questions about where they are in their faith, things about their family, school, and any of their favourites--again, to help in making the matching process easier. By having common interests, it makes the introductions and getting to know each other smoother and things have a bit of a foundation to build upon.

Have any more questions? Feel free to email Mrs. Hafner at kristen.hafner@eips.ca!

Benefits of Mentorship - A Win-Win

Benefits of Mentorship- for the Mentee

North American students often lack a range of role models aside from the parents and older siblings. School counselors are fantastic - they often give students the one on one time that they require for personal and academic direction required to succeed in school. However, the average North American school guidance counselor is responsible for over 470 students. This large case load that many counselors are challenged with, prohibit many students from building a relationship with their school counselors and really benefiting from their programs. Here’s where mentorship comes in. Mentors are one form of role models on a school campus that can shape a student’s personal and academic outcome. The SCA mentorship program can guarantee young mentees that there is someone who will care about them, assure them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and make them feel valued and important. Research has shown that young people who participate in quality mentorship programs, such as SCA’s, benefit immensely from its positive effects social, personally and academically. It bridges the gap for a young person to access personal growth and development. The SCA mentorship program has another aspect that many high schools do not include and that is the spiritual growth component. Young mentees are not only getting mentored and advised about personal and academic needs, they are also guided and poured into spiritually. From being a mentee the SCA program, mentees will have the opportunity to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus and have someone to encourage them along the way.

Benefits of Mentorship - for the Mentor

Many people are under the impression that mentorship is only really for the mentee. Many think the mentor is slaving away attempting to build a relationship with a younger person without getting anything in return. I think those people are misguided. If I have learned anything from being a mentee to become a mentor this year through the SCA mentorship program, it’s that mentors can benefit from mentorship just as much as mentee’s can. Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth. I like how the SCA mentorship program really puts an emphasis on achieving personal growth and learning more about yourself and mentee, gaining a better understanding of other cultures and develop a greater appreciation for diversity, and learning how to lead your mentee in to a more whole life. Through engaging, understanding and investing in mentees, mentors sharpen their community building skills and learn to become less self-focused and absorbed. I think SCA mentors also realize that they need to hold themselves to a higher standard, than they maybe would have originally, because there is someone look up to them now. I think when an SCA mentor encourages their mentee in their faith and relationship with the Lord, the mentor really grows spiritually in a way that they maybe never would have had the opportunity to anywhere else. Being a mentor through the SCA mentorship program is also fun! Many of the mentees I have interacted with are so full of life and energy that it just radiates from them, and its infectious to the washed up teenage mentors that could use a little joy in their lives! In conclusion, if you have the opportunity to join the SCA Mentorship program as a mentor, I encourage you to go for it! Because mentors can benefit from the program just as much as mentees can.