You may already know that I’m a big believer in mentoring. A few years ago, I took a dynamic woman under my wing as her mentor and now, Jackie Trujillo-Watins is our superintendent. It has been a thrill watching her growth in the administration of our schools over the years. I am convinced that through coaching, modeling and mentoring, everyone becomes more invested in creating a united team. At some point as a mentor, you allow your “students” to stretch their wings, take risks and try new things. Along the way, you’re there to advise them as they explore their new world.

Mentors are not only essential in business, but in every child’s life, too. Most often, a child’s “mentors” are parents or other close family members. But neighbors, family friends, teachers, coaches and others can also be influential mentors in a child’s life. According to a new study by Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center, “Developmental research shows that having one or more caring adults in a child’s life increases the likelihood that they will flourish, and become productive adults themselves.”

Some of the highlights of the study:

  • Children and adolescents who have a formal or informal “mentor-like” relationship with someone outside their home are less likely to be bullies or be depressed.
  • These children also are more likely to finish tasks they start, stay calm when challenged, show interest in learning new things, volunteer in the community, engage in physical activities, participate in extracurricular activities and be engaged in school.
  • Children who have a caring adult outside the home are more likely to discuss “things that really matter” with their parents.
  • Mentor-like adults outside the home promote positive well-being for children and adolescents.

We encourage families to participate in school activities and as volunteers. Those who do can have a wonderful positive impact not only in their children’s lives, but other students’ as well.