Mentoring is Servant Leadership

The-Mentoring-TrustWhat is a mentor? A mentor is a person that can serve as an advisor, coach, teacher or confidant. With any great mentoring relationship, the foundation must begin with trust. Many of our youth today lack the opportunity to have a positive trusting relationship with an adult.

Do you remember growing up and encountering that one adult that recognized your great potential? Throughout my childhood, I can remember several people that made a positive impact on my life. It was their patience and ability to communicate that introduced me to new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of mentoring programs. Unfortunately for many of these groups, the numbers of volunteer mentors are declining. Mentoring programs across the country continue to invest a significant amount of resources into the recruitment and retention of mentors.

In my humble opinion, it’s going to take more than money to reverse this trend. It’s going to take leadership. Now more than ever, we need more servant leaders to answer the call and become mentors. A servant leader is attentive to the growth and development of others and tends to positively influence those around them and, in turn, creates more servant leaders.

I applaud the servant leadership that many of our local civic organizations continue to demonstrate across the community as they mentor our youth, but I also want to recognize and celebrate the informal mentoring that takes place every day and typically goes unrecognized. Mentoring not only takes place in organized programs and community centers, but it also takes place informally in our neighborhoods, classrooms, gymnasiums and places of worship. Regardless of the setting, a mentor can have a lasting impression on the life of a child.

As adults and servant leaders, we should look for every opportunity to provide positive words of encouragement to our youth, but sometimes the most valuable trait of a leader and a mentor is the ability to listen. Once a youth recognizes that your intentions are sincere, there’s a level trust that begins to develop beyond any formal program structure.

This year, please join me in becoming a mentor in the life of someone who matters. Become a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Gary at the John Will Anderson Boys and Girls Club. For more information contact Alicia Pernaw at: or 219-980-3800.