This week, I have been writing about the Unnoficial Mentor. Let me know if this sounds familiar. You are an educator or staff member at your school, and students come up to you between classes, before or after school, just to hang out. They may find time to tell you about their day, weekend, and even their challenges. When we have created strong bonds with our students in this way, it means that they see us as empathetic.
Being a mentor does not require an official application or joining a program. We engage with students on regular bases. They look at us as models and often seek our advice. We may not be able to relate to their situations personally; however, we can empathize.
A few years ago, I had a student that I was close with who was having some challenges at school and home. He decided to join a youth mentorship program on the other side of the state. He and his mom asked me to sponsor him, and I gladly agreed. The bond was already there, and now we would correspond more formally.
It was nice, but it could have been more convenient with the amount of paperwork/documentation that came with the program (I'm not the biggest fan of paperwork).
What I learned from this experience was the value of the unofficial mentor.