Everyone Needs a Cheerleader – National Volunteer Month
March 31, 2023
Back in January, a picture of the ecstatic actress Jamie Lee Curtis celebrating her co-star Michelle Yeoh’s win for Best Actress at this year’s Golden Globes went viral for all the right reasons. Everyone needs a cheerleader in their life.
One Instagram user eloquently summed it up: “Life goal is to find someone who is as fiercely in my corner as JLC is in Michelle’s.”
What is a Mentor?
A mentor is fiercely in your corner—an ardent supporter and an experienced and trusted advisor. While it’s not a topic that has made the national news, nor is it a viral meme, April is National Volunteer Month. And one of the most critical volunteer roles needed in today’s society is serving as a mentor.
According to research, one in three young people don’t have a mentor while growing up. That’s powerful and unfortunate, considering the research regarding the positive impact of mentoring on our personal, financial, and career success.
- Mentoring reduces anxiety and improves mental health for both mentors and mentees
- Mentoring leads to higher college enrollment rates and educational aspirations
- Employees who are mentored are promoted five times more often
- 84% of Fortune 500 companies and 100% of Fortune 50 companies have mentoring programs
The right mentor can change the trajectory of a person’s life for the better.Chatfield Mentors
The Chatfield Edge is a new nonprofit organization, but our model is rooted in 51 years of experience helping first-generation and underserved students achieve their post-secondary educational goals.
What made Chatfield College valuable was not just the English 101 class we taught but the behind-the-scenes mentoring we provided to our students. We offered one-on-one help with career counseling, college applications, FAFSA applications, scholarship assistance, and most importantly, encouragement—believing in our students when they didn’t believe in themselves.
Committed individuals, including staff and faculty, showed up for our students throughout their academic journey and made a difference. Sometimes the mentor’s job was to help students choose their classes for the next semester. Sometimes their job was to offer tough love when a student wasn’t attending class. Sometimes the mentor’s job was to listen.
“Working with my mentor allowed me to keep focusing on my schoolwork and deal with issues when they came up. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did without them,” said Chatfield College graduate Angela.
Unique Needs of First-Generation and Underserved Students
Almost half of all college students and much higher proportions of poor and minority students drop out before they complete a degree, according to research. Why?
For many students, too many factors outside their control derail their ability to complete their education – including family instability, language barriers, poverty, trauma, lack of Internet access, unreliable transportation, and lack of childcare.
Uncontrollable life factors like race, language, economics, and family situations that contribute to lower education success rates are referred to as the Opportunity Gap.
Mentors help close the Opportunity Gap by making students know they are loved, respected, and belong. In addition, mentors can see solutions to life’s challenges and help their mentees stay focused on their biggest goals and priorities.
“The work I do with my mentee gives me pride,” said former Chatfield College mentor Katie. “It’s inspiring and amazing to see a student progress and truly become a person endowed with the personal and academic strength to address challenges in a healthy manner and get to where they want to be.”
Future Now – We Need Volunteer Mentors
As we transition from a college to a nonprofit organization focused on educational attainment, supporting our students with mentors will continue to be a crucial part of our success. We need volunteer mentors to provide that support.
There are four pillars to the services we offer, and mentorship is one called Future Now.
Future Now – Once a student is accepted into a postsecondary program of study, a mentor from The Chatfield Edge is assigned to that student to help see them through the education process. The mentor makes sure their student attends classes and completes assignments and listens to the student’s concerns about coursework and studies. In addition, the mentor helps the student find solutions to obstacles that might jeopardize their program completion, such as transportation or daycare needs. Most importantly, the mentor is their student’s biggest cheerleader in reaching their educational goal.
Become a volunteer mentor with The Chatfield Edge. We will provide all the tools, training, and resources you need for success. Plus, you have our staff of experienced educators to rely on for curriculum assistance and project management support.
All we need from you is your commitment to building a relationship with a student and a heart that is willing to serve others.
If you are interested in volunteering to become a mentor with The Chatfield Edge, start the application process here. Share this story with someone else you believe would be a great mentor so we can build our corps of mentors and cheer students onto success.