Kids need more than homework help to get through school successfully. Students only spend 20% of their waking hours in the classroom, so helping them succeed must come from outside. PBS and United Way are teamed up for American Graduate Day to bring a volunteer community into the other %80.
Any one of us could be a mentor, to offer that adult shoulder a middle schooler or high schooler needs to lean on. Especially for kids from disadvantaged homes, guidance and advice about making it in the real world might be hard to come by.
Mentoring can look very different, depending on the program’s goals and outcomes. Some takes place within schools (like Communities in Schools); some happens outside school (like Big Brothers Big Sisters). Research shows that the right mentor, paired with the right kid and the right curriculum, can improve attendance, behavior and grades – all critical to graduating high school.
Programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and United Way cannot do this alone. There are many things you can do to help. Please join us on Saturday, September 22nd, for PBS’s American Graduate Day. Have a conversation with the top minds in education on Twitter via #AmGrad from 1-8pm. Finally, you can pledge to become a Volunteer Reader, Tutor or Mentor with United Way.
Here are a few tips for becoming a successful volunteer mentor:
? Decide how you will spend your time together.
? Be consistent and dependable. Make a commitment to maintain a steady presence in your mentee’s life.
? Don’t be put off if the relationship is fairly one-sided at first. As a mentor, you are responsible for keeping the relationship alive and part of your job is to seek your mentee’s trust and involvement. This takes time.
? Call your mentee before each meeting or appointment to confirm their attendance.
? Pay attention to your mentee’s need for fun.
? Respect your mentee’s opinions and believes.
? Allow your mentee to make mistakes and learn from the experience.
? Leave your personal agenda behind. Separate your own goals from those of your mentee.
? Do not focus on the negative aspects of your mentee’s life, neighborhood, or care givers – leave it alone.
Want to sign up? Find opportunities near you at http://www.unitedway.org