Contributing to society as a mentor is a priceless contribution to humanity. Mentoring is priceless because young minds are forming connections about the nature of existence that will determine resilience levels and decision making processes for the remainder of their lives. When we talk about resilience we’re talking about the manner in which a brain functions based on positive connections formed during early life experiences. One of the best ways to form a resilient mind is to be a person who cares for another and to be someone who can listen and respond with compassion. From a compassionate and caring connection between two people, a world of opportunity can arise.
Jim Byrnes has been a mentor for 19 years and is now the director of Friends of Children of Walla Walla. Friends is a non-profit mentoring organization that helps children in the Walla Walla Valley engage in safe friendships with adults who care. Adult volunteers concentrate on the child, letting the friendship find its own impact and letting the child lead the way. Adult friends do not act as parents, teachers, disciplinarians, coaches, therapists or saviors. Instead, they act as friends, providing an encouraging, caring presence that the child can count on over time.
A survey of parents indicated significant behavioral improvements in their children after being matched with an adult Friend:
- Over 30% of parents reported an increase in their child’s self-confidence and ability to make decisions
- Over 50% indicated an improvement in their child’s academic performance and ability to avoid delinquency
According to The National Mentoring Partnership young adults who were at-risk for falling off track but had a mentor are:
- 55% more likely to enroll in college
- 78% more likely to volunteer regularly
- 90% are interested in becoming a mentor
- 130% more likely to hold leadership positions
“You make a living by what you get and we change lives by what you give” ~ Jim Byrnes