If you want to inspire and empower the next generation, join a mentoring program with Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami Valley volunteer mentors, also known as Bigs, help guide youths, or Littles, as they navigate the challenges of growing up. If you’re considering enrolling in the program as a mentor, you might have a few questions about the position. This guide dispels some of the most common misconceptions about youth mentoring to help you decide if being a Big is right for you.
Age shouldn’t stop you from joining mentoring programs. Being a Big is all about providing support, encouragement, and a positive influence. Even someone in their early 20s can help keep their Little on the right path. In fact, while older adults have the advantage of experience, young mentors may feel like a more relatable presence children can confide in.
If you haven’t had or been a Big, you might wonder if you’re right for a mentoring program. Just because you haven’t seen a mentor in action doesn’t mean you can’t contribute valuable insights and experiences. Simply imagining the role model you wished you had as a child could be the inspiration you need to be a motivating mentor.
Many people worry that they don’t have enough time to devote to a Little. However, mentorship is fairly flexible and can be molded to fit into just about anyone’s lifestyle.
Just a few hours a couple times a month can be enough to make a difference in a child’s life. Your Little can join you in tasks and activities like cooking, gardening, sports, and hobbies.
The idea that mentors need to be well-established and successful is common, but untrue. No mentor is expected to be perfect. Kids need real, down-to-earth role models who can help them establish goals and feel confident in themselves. The only accomplishments required are consistency and dependability.
While it’s common to assume a Big needs to be a hero, mentoring programs don’t expect you to fix every problem. In reality, being a savior isn’t the goal at all. Mentoring relationships go two ways. Your Little will positively impact you as much as you impact them. You’re teaching them to make positive choices in life, and in turn, they will offer a fresh perspective and challenge your way of thinking.
Anyone can make a difference in a child’s life by becoming a Big. When you’re ready, volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami Valley. Having served Dayton, OH, and the surrounding community since 1958, this organization offers school and community mentoring for youth ages 6 and up. Call (937) 220-6850 or learn more online about joining their mentoring program.