Change-A-Life Mentoring Program
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a one to one caring, supportive relationship between an adult and a youth that is based on trust. This relationship focuses on the needs of the youth and encourages them to develop to their fullest potential based on their own vision for the future.
The mission of the Mooresville Graded School District mentoring program is to encourage and support students to become successful academically, personally, and socially.
Mentoring has been a practiced art of developing and maintaining positive and helpful human relationships for hundreds of years, by nearly every culture, in various individuals and groups, and in many different ways. With this in mind, Mooresville Graded School District implemented the Change-A-Life mentoring program. Several years into this program, the Change-A-Life mentoring committee and site coordinators at each school have established a successful program for our students.
- Mentoring has survived the tests of time and has been of enormous value to individuals and societies.
- Mentoring is accomplished with the support of the business community, faith-based organizations, social agencies, service institutions, and in schools.
- Mentoring programs have changed thousands of lives, both the life of the mentee and the mentor.
Why do students need mentors?
Today's youth grow up having to cope with academic, personal and social issues. Early intervention through a structured mentoring program may be able to provide young people the encouragement, tools and support they need to navigate these challenges.
According to the "The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Adults Mentoring Young People", eight out of ten young people in mentoring relationships have one or more challenges that put their success in the areas of school, health or development at risk. The survey reported the five most prevalent problems faced by young people are:
- negative feelings about themselves
- poor relationships with family members
- poor grades
- hanging out with the wrong crowd
- getting into trouble at school
Additional issues that impact our youth in today's world:
One of the greatest forces on adolescents is the power of influence from their peers. This outside influence about personal attitudes and outward behaviors can be either positive or negative and should be recognized by the mentor. Mentors cannot force their beliefs upon the mentee, but urge them to make their own choices.
The curiosity to experiment with alcohol, tobacco and drugs is a constant threat to adolescents in today’s world. Each mentee will need to make his or her own choice about participation. The mentor is expected to set an excellent example by avoiding the use of alcohol and tobacco in the presence of the mentee. Mentors should encourage discussions about the issues of abuse and be very observant to mentee behaviors. If evidence exists that the mentee may have a problem with substance abuse, the mentor should seek the assistance of the school site coordinator.
When young people are overwhelmed with issues and situations they cannot resolve, serious depression may develop. When mentors are sensitive and see any indications of extreme depression or suicide, it must be referred to the school site coordinator
Physical or mental abuse within the family or in any environment, will have both an immediate effect on the mentee and also create long-lasting, negative attitudes and behaviors. A mentor will need to seek the assistance of the school site coordinator if observations indicate that this type of abuse may be occurring.
Many young people are exposed to bullies or other violent behaviors in the school setting which may result in attendance problems or lower academic achievement levels. An observant mentor should discuss this with the mentee and inform the school site coordinator about the situation being careful not to involve the mentee in the process.
Many young people may turn to sexual relationships for a variety of reasons. This is a sensitive issue, and great care must be given. The mentor is expected to seek the assistance of the site coordinator.
Many young people feel they are immortal and tend to ignore good health practices. Mentors can provide excellent discussions and model healthy lifestyles.
This issue is usually within the domain of the family, and mentors should be sensitive to family values and practices.