I was just having a conversation with someone this week about mentorship - what does it mean to truly mentor someone and commit to being a part of their life?
One of the most rewarding parts of my work on the Westside has been witnessing mentoring relationships form out of basic volunteerism. Volunteers come to our program from various churches and sign up to tutor. While many envision themselves serving a purpose of ‘helping with academics’ or ‘empowering the student’, they may not realize that the most important thing they offer the student is a caring non-family adult relationship. This relationship is a true gift - “non-parent adult relationships” noted as one of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets for children. It’s clearly vital to the successful development of a child.
But what’s most amazing to me about these relationships is the self-perpetuating nature. The tutors who have poured the most into the families with whom they work are also the ones who gain the most. These tutors are the returners, the ones who come back year after year, for no other reason than ‘I just love this family.’ That’s one of my favorite parts about love - it’s a renewable resource. Or better yet, it’s a resource that only grows as you use it.