Five Keep-it-Real Lessons From the Frontlines of Mentoring

Mentorship truly is a wonderful real life example of the motto, "You don't have to change the whole world, start with one person."

I'm GOOD's first Fellow, and I'm on a yearlong mission to discover the best practices in entrepreneurship education, and figure out how they are (or aren't) empowering middle and high school-aged girls. Follow and engage with me on my journey of learning and doing.

January is National Mentorship month, and the statistics on mentoring speak for themselves. Youth who are mentored are 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to use alcohol, and a full 52 percent less likely to skip school. I recently spent six months mentoring six sophomores in East Oakland with BUILD, a nonprofit that provides hands-on entrepreneurship training and college preparation to high school students. As you might guess, along the way I learned some real life lessons on how to be a good mentor.

"Just be real" was the main advice from Jessica, a senior BUILD student on how to be an excellent mentor. Jessica shared that advice during the initial mentor training, which had students describe why mentors are such a key part the BUILD experience. When asked what her mentor did right, Jessica emphasized how her mentor was really there for her—not just to support her business idea and team, but to individually coach her through personal challenges.

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