Our male mentors mean so much to the disadvantaged Los Angeles boys that they mentor.
These men generously commit to support their mentees. They take them to places they wouldn’t normally get to go.
In the life of a boy from a tough neighborhood, this man becomes much like a dad. In the case of fatherless families, they are the only father figure.
Some tips for being a great male mentor and role model that we have learned from our male mentors:
Share How Vision and Grit Helped You in Life
First take a look at your own vision. How did you get to where you are in your life right now? What does it take to stay there? Create a picture for your mentee so that they can see how your vision became a reality and theirs can too. You are showing them what hope, persistence and grit can accomplish in their lives.
Talk About Choosing Friends
Share a time that you had to walk away from hanging out with a group of boys or one particular boy. Hanging with the boys is something every boy needs to do, but they also need to be alert to group dynamics or activities that could create lasting damage in their lives. In the neighborhoods in which our “I Have a Dream” Foundation – LA students live, some groups can be experts at getting into trouble.
Help Them Understand Giving Back
Find a volunteer opportunity in Los Angeles that you can do together – perhaps helping out at a food pantry. Discuss the difference you made with what you did that day. Talk about remembering what having a mentor in their lives meant to them growing up later when they are successful adults.
Teach Them Men are Human
Men deserve love, attention, and praise too. Boost his self-esteem with compliments when the opportunity arises. When things go wrong, help him to understand that it was about doing something that was not the best, not them being a bad person. See a movie together and talk about some feelings that were generated.
Of course, forgiving others is important, but we often forget about forgiving ourselves. Help your mentee to forgive themselves so that they can move on.
Many of you familiar with “I Have a Dream” Foundation have seen Andrew Carlberg at our Dreamer Dinner and other events working hard to make them as successful as possible. Andrew says:
“Getting to know Luis and watch him grow from an insecure middle-schooler to a fully motivated and driven college student has been one of the great joys of my adult life. I’ve been reminded, through mentoring him, that we often need to be our own source of motivation and that there is never any shame in relying on others for assistance along the way.”