Mentoring: Taking the first step

Step one in mentoring; Make the call

I have been thinking about this for sometime now. Mentoring came up in a previous post that was related to helping the youths involved in the rioting in London in August 2011. I also have been thinking about Louise Rosenblatt a lot lately too.

Rosenblatt, NYU professor among many other things, was an advocate for “transactional” reading; the reader and the text had to transact in order for a reader to extract true meaning from it, be it a poem, car manual or a novel. The real gem among her teachings for me is that she believed reading built better citizens. I truly believe that.

With that in mind, and wondering if I can make a small difference, I called the local Mentoring number today and am signing up to become a mentor. The interesting part about this is I am struggling about whether to choose a mentee who is male or female, my son’s age or younger. And even more interesting is that my thirteen year old son is advising me about who I should pick.
The truth is, I just want to help a kid, be a listener and hopefully make a difference in the child’s life. Possibly even expose the child to new experiences that he or she may not have the chance to do. At the end of the day, I just want to help foster a better citizen for tomorrow.
I will never give the child’s real name here of course, but I’d like to begin keeping an account of the friendship that develops. I’ll be nervous when we first meet. That’s not for sometime yet. I have to do a two hour orientation course, the Mentoring Program will need to do a background check and I will also need to be fingerprinted. All this protects me and the child. I’ll keep you posted right here. The journey begins in February.