Putting the You in Youth

By Chelyse Prevost
Blog Content Contributor

We are part of a generation where mass shootings in churches, clubs, movie theaters, and even schools have become all too familiar. The fight for more progressive gun laws is ongoing, but awareness of the emotional and mental health of the people we interact with seems to be the keynote of discussion. We all share the responsibility to become more involved with the people in our communities and the only way we will is to make it a priority to do so. The most promising place to start making that connection for a positive future is within our youth.

One of the many beautiful things about kids is that they’re effortlessly bound with the ability to learn. Working with kids will show you that taking in the world and understanding its elements are two completely different concepts, and because of that, kids need guidance more than ever. Even with the greatest parents and teachers, kids today are given much more independence and oftentimes need more undivided attention. By volunteering as a mentor, you give kids the opportunity to confide in someone other than their superior figures. Being an influence outside their friend group also helps deal with the problems they may not talk about without bias or their feeling inferior. Whether you mentor by just talking to students in a class or engage in their life outside of school, the relationship you build with struggling kids will open their eyes to a much needed brighter perspective. From the elementary to high school level, a mentor that’s not only aware but supportive of a youth’s emotions, struggles, and general well-being will only leave a positive impression on their lives.

On top of changing the lives of others, mentoring will change your life and the way you interact with others. With youth comes ingenuity and the same way we learn from our elders, we learn from them. The responsibility of being a mentor and having an impact on another life will teach you life lessons on patience and compassion above all else. To put yourself in position to be someone else’s role model and change the way they perceive the world is powerful in that it will make you reflect on yourself and the choices you make. Working with someone on a different level intellectually will make you more understanding of the way people learn and teach you effective communication. Because you put so much of your time, energy, and heart into the welfare of your mentee, their accomplishments will ultimately become your accomplishments too. The opportunity to see the change and growth in every child you had an effect on is beyond rewarding, and will give you the utmost optimism about yourself in society.

youth picture
A few future leaders. Photo by Michelle Sharpe.

Making an impact on the kids I’ve worked with has come to be one of the most rewarding functions in my life. The last six years I’ve worked with kids has shown me that the small some things you do on your end can mean a better day, stronger mindset, or sense of purpose for someone else. There are many kids that go without the guidance they need to be successful in school, their friendships, and with themselves. Kids have different struggles emotionally, culturally, economically, etc. so it’s important that we as a society have good representation as mentors to our youth. We have all the education, awareness, and resources to help struggling kids before they become destructive and disturbing members of society. If we all made an effort to create a positive yet realistic sphere of influence for our youth, we can look forward to the next generation of adults and, therefore, look forward to a better future.

To find ways to be active in your community, visit your local school district’s website for volunteering and mentoring opportunities. For San Marcos residents, visit their website.

Featured image by Michelle Sharpe.

Kaitlin Stubbs

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