By Asma Naim
At the beginning of this year 2016 we at Challenge2Change started our pilot Big Sister/Little Sisterprogram; by mentoring young women from Gaza and Beirut. We are now moving ahead with our Mentoring Project and expanding our mentoring to reach larger number of young women from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas. Reflecting on the progress made in our mentoring movement, we are greatly emboldened to further proceed with this program.
As an Arab society, too often we leave mentoring relationships; which are powerful human connections, to chance. The cultural construction of the Middle East society basically believes that mentoring is limited to parents or big siblings; who every so often lack the required skills and experiences to fully inspire their youngsters. Challenge2Change decided to close this “mentoring gap”- for the good of young people and our world.
The consistent, enduring presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life can be the difference between realizing one’s potential or failing to achieve one’s dreams. Mentors can make a profound difference in the lives of their mentees – and in turn, strengthen our communities, economy, and country. Youth mentoring assumes that supportive relationships with adults are important for personal, emotional, cognitive, and psychological growth.
Main positive outcomes our Big Sister/Little Sister program aims to attain:
Mentoring is often discussed as a means to increase desirable behavior; e.g., academic performance, job performance or successfully engage in the community and decrease undesirable behavior as college drop-out, and academic failure.
It is presumed that mentees will develop positive attitudes toward the activity that they engage in with their mentors. Having a mentor may also foster psychological attachment to the context in which the relationship is embedded, such as one’s school, university, or organization.
A mentor may listen and offer advice during times of stress or provide counseling on personal or job-related issues. They can also enhance overall well-being by challenging mentees’ negative self-views, which may enhance mentee’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
The experience of a trusting, close relationship with a mentor may lead the mentee to develop positive expectations about interpersonal relationships with which in turn may promote positive relationships. They may enhance interpersonal relationships with parents, siblings, and peers.
Role modeling can expose mentees to educational and social opportunities, which may open their eyes to different possibilities and motivate them to seek out new. Moreover, mentors may help mentees stay focused on tasks and steer them away from redundant activities
Finally, mentoring relationships may promote career success. Mentors can impart specific knowledge and expertise which contributes to mentee’s learning and skill development. They can also facilitate professional networking by introducing mentees to influential individuals within academic and organizational contexts.
Through Big Sister/Little Sister program young women are given mentors who encourage their ambition, empower their confidence, and keep them on track by helping them set goals and work toward achieving them.
So; if you’re still wondering if mentoring really matters, YES, it does!
“ Challenge to Change, is an initiative aimed at raising awareness about mental health for women from the Middle East. It is a platform for dialogue and support, enabling women to share their experiences, strengths and hope while being supported by mental health professionals. Through raising awareness and taking on the stigma, Challenge to Change has created safe communication channels and support groups with the objective of providing effective and lasting solutions.
Challenge to Change is THE voice for mental wellness for women from the Middle East.”
Article source: https://challengetochange.me/does-mentoring-matter/