Building resilient communities begins at the foundational level. Those in these communities know the issues that affect them and also the length of time it takes to develop solutions. Because these issues do not just fade away immediately, it becomes clear that it will be the young people who will eventually experience the harshest of effects. Many factors go into fostering a sustainable and resilient community for our young people; many, too, that most don’t think of.
One key component of facing these challenges is through professional and interpersonal Advocate Mentoring. Guiding young people in the development of their skill sets is critical to help them to achieve their goals as well as provide outcomes that contribute to their communities. Creating an Advocacy Mentorship program at JAY4T helps to find those who might benefit from having a mentor and places them with one that aligns with their goals, needs, and schedule. This mutually beneficial relationship is based on shared interests, mutual respect, and care. These Mentors act as a resource for information, professional expertise, interpersonal skills knowledge, and act as a role model to both Mentees as well as their peer Mentors.
Having been a part of the development of this program myself throughout my time as an JAY4T intern, I find it more important than ever to work alongside a community in the hopes of establishing a Mentorship Program. There is such a need for leaders who are able to offer professional and technical guidance throughout a young person’s time with us. Building these new connections to bring Mentor and Mentee together leads to cycles of new young people willing to pass down knowledge on to the next generation of advocates.