While this page is under construction, please enjoy reading an excerpt taken from UP TO THE TASC, our Spring 2005 Newsletter.
“Preparing for a career is more than just getting a job”
The opportunity to spend time with an adult who is positive about their job is a unique experience for many kids in the Mentor Program. Many of them only listen to talk about how much a parent hates a job, and comes home only to sit in front of the TV all night. They hear about how little they are paid, and how much they hate the boss. They can’t wait to quit, but the option of a better job is not there. The parent will tell them to get an education so they can get a better job, but it isn’t that simple. This is where you (Mentors) come in. You model a positive approach along with interests in the outside world and open the eyes of many of the students to the possibilities that are available for the first time.
What do I look for when I recommend students to the Mentor Program?
An underachieving student, who is just getting by in class, but has the ability to do much better. This student needs to be able to connect their classes with something they will be doing after high school. They need to answer the question: “Why do I have to learn this.”
A student who is “personable, but needs some polish”. This student is friendly, interested in others and the world around them, but needs someone to model appropriate behavior. They need to understand the connection between appropriate dress, good manners and the importance of a good first impression. They need to learn how to talk to people.
A student who expresses an interest in “going to college”, but their behavior does not match their ambitions. This student has a goal, but does not have the skills needed to attain that goal. This student needs to begin to focus on career ideas, and the need to understand that preparing for a career is more than getting a job. One gets a job, not a career.
You may meet an achieving student who needs focus and guidance, someone who needs help navigating the road to getting started. Talk about your interests and leisure time activities. They will see that integrity and honesty matter. That people admire you for what you accomplish.
Don’t expect them to always say “thank you” and often you will wonder if your outing with them was worth it. They may not dress as you hoped or be as well groomed, as you would like. But each time you show up dressed up, the student will notice and file that back in their minds. They will begin to equate success with making a good first impression.
Going to new places is very important for these students, and that is often what I hear about later. College visits are critical. Many students have told me they visited a college with their Mentor, and it made that goal more achievable. Students also appreciate the exposure to different careers, and someone to talk with about how people achieve that goal. Talk about how you got where you are today, why you decided to be a Mentor, and your own plans for the future. Stress the concept that life is a continual learning process.
So know that you are making a difference in the life of the person you are matched with. Most of all, enjoy yourself. These kids have their whole lives ahead of them and it is exciting to be a part of their future.
Susan Grefe, Former Head Guidance Counselor
Taunton High School
If you are interested in participating in the Mentor Program, please contact Nancy.
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