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Be a Mentor: It’s Easier Than You Think

Lady O posted this Facebook photo with the caption “Breakfast with my girls.”

Mentorship is great, being one, having one, it’s good times all around. But in these times especially, we must work overtime with the next generation of young ladies because we’re not just keeping them off the pole, but also off one of those shows. If mentoring has been on your mind lately and you’re still trying to figure how to pass your genius on to a budding young woman, check out some of these programs:

Step Up Women’s Network (NYC, Chicago, LA)
Step Up is a membership-based network with opportunities to mentor high school age girls (and get access to mentoring yourself from top women executives). Their Pathways to Professions program involves weekly e-mail mentoring through prompts and a monthly trip to different workplaces like Google, L’Oreal, EMI Music and more, mentoring young women through their exploration of different career paths.

Girls Write Now (NYC)
GWN is a writing-based mentoring program where writers (professional and non-professional) are paired with young women writers in high school, mentoring their voices and supporting them in producing a portfolio of monthly works in different genres of writing.

iMentor (NYC & other U.S. cities)
This e-inspired mentoring model involves e-mailing with your mentee once a week and monthly in-person meetings. The organization’s hub is in NYC, but have partners who use their model in various cities.

The Future Project (New Haven, Conn., NYC, DC)
This innovative start-up is a new initiative seeking to equipt every high school student in the U.S. with a life coach. They’re starting off in a few cities and the first round of applications is open now until August 15 but perhaps they’ll take late-comers.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (U.S.)
The largest and oldest mentoring organization (around since 1904), BBBS is in cities nationwide and has opportunities for mentoring youth ages 6-18.

The Cares Mentoring Movement
Founded by storied former ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Susan L. Taylor, Cares is another great resource for connecting with local mentoring opportunities in your area using your zip code.

My mentee Ceasia, a Syracuse undergrad, and I

For those of you who might be too busy, or you’re concerned about signing on for a long-term commitment you’re not sure you can keep, workplace mentoring is another great way to be that role model for a young woman. Parlour Mag co-founder Shannon Washington has shared how she made a point of finding one of the young black girls in her office when hiring her assistant so she could help mentor her on the job. Another friend in a high level office of a foundation did a similar thing by coaching a recent college graduate through the interview process and then took the young woman under her wing once she successfully got the job.

This style of work-based mentoring is a trend amongst other women, too. A study this summer reported that the perception of executive women being “Queen Bees” who don’t support each other in the workplace is actually not as true as most might think. According to Catalyst, the company behind the study:

“Women, the report finds, are even more likely than men to develop other talent. Sixty-five percent of women who received career development support are now developing new talent, compared to 56 percent of men, and 73 percent of the women developing new talent are developing women, compared to only 30 percent of men.”

As the wise Maya Angelou, mentor-in-words-and-spirit to many of us, says: “When you get, give. When you learn, teach.”

Do you have any recommendations for groups to mentor with or other creative ways you’ve incorporated mentoring into your life? Let us know!

Last 5 posts by Ariana Proehl