Like I mentioned in another recent blog post, “How to Help Men and Boys of Color Overcome Obstacles,” a great way to help men and boys of color succeed is through mentorship. There are lots of fantastic mentorship programs out there, particularly in more urban areas. These programs help youth who may be disadvantaged work with an older adult who can direct them toward a bright future. Mentorship programs can be particularly beneficial to boys of color as they work to overcome the challenges they face. Here are a few of the many benefits of mentorship for boys of color.
For young men of color, there can be academic challenges that do not face their white peers. For various reasons, boys of color could face challenges regarding academic success, but with mentorship, this issue can be managed. Having an adult they respect help them with homework and assist in navigating academic challenges, makes these students much more likely to succeed. Young men of color who have a mentor are much more likely to successfully transition into college than those who do not, which often leads to better job opportunities in the future.
Better mental health
Another benefit of a strong mentor for boys of color is an overall improvement to mental and emotional health. Instead of facing challenges on their own, mentored students have an adult they can go to for help dealing with stress and anxiety. Having someone provide them with quality advice and guidance improves students’ mental health and leads to higher levels of happiness.
A safe confidant
For many students of color, they may feel as though it’s difficult to find a safe adult to talk to about problems and concerns they have, especially topics they feel like they cannot talk to their families about. Knowing that they can talk to their mentor and not be met with judgement is a relief and helps them open up about problems they’re facing. Mentors can guide their students to make the best choices and talk through issues they’re experiencing in their lives.
Guidance for their future
For boys of color, having a mentor to discuss their future plans which is incredibly beneficial. They may not receive the guidance they need at home or are too shy to discuss what they want to do for a future career or if they want to attend college. An experienced mentor can help students find the path that’s best for them and then help them through applying to jobs or colleges and give them advice on how best to succeed in whatever path they choose.
Finally, a mentor is a wonderful source of motivation. Having an adult who has been through a lot of the same challenges as them, encourages a student to work toward success. Seeing how you’ve overcome obstacles in your path provides the best motivation for a student who’s wondering if he can really do it. Be open about your own journey and discuss the ways you’ve made it past problems standing in your way on your road to success.