A warm thanks to Jessica Angelone (a current UVM Senior in the Exercise and Movement Science program) for writing this piece for WEmentors.

If and when a topic of conversation revolves around mentorship, it is often difficult to discern what it truly means to act as a mentor in a given situation. More often than not, this term seems to be used interchangeably with words such as coach or preceptor. However, the meaning behind each of these three unique words is different and deserves appropriate attention. Much to my surprise, the term “mentor” originated in Greek mythology and appeared in Homer’s Odyssey, which many of us were forced to read during our high school years. Looking back, we may begin to recall the impact that the character Mentor had on Odysseus’ son Telemachus. As stated in Pediatric Nursing, a mentor is “a close, trusted, experienced counselor or guide who engages in a long-term, relationship-oriented, development driven, mentoring relationship.”

In my experience working as a mentor for underprivileged children attending the Integrated Arts Academy in Burlington, I have seen a surplus of positive outcomes and benefits that have occurred not only for my mentee, but for myself as well. In my situation specifically, I have noticed that my “little buddy” often looks to me for safety and security. As her mentor, I am more than honored to have had the opportunity to help map out her future by suggesting certain paths, provide her with a sense of protection, and help her to actively engage in leadership roles. Without guidance from individuals like us, children may naturally feel pressured to partake in the negative and harmful behaviors that are potentially present in their homes, school system, or daily lives.

Although mentoring is a voluntary commitment that does not result in monetary compensation, there is no money in the world that can pay for the benefits that come along with being a mentor. From enhancing leadership and communication skills, learning to see the world through multiple realms, and gaining personal satisfaction, you will ultimately feel more confident in your abilities to navigate any situation. As a mutually beneficial and rewarding practice, this is definitely not one to miss out on!

Author: breannapletnick

Bre graduated from UVM in January 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Movement Science. During her time at UVM, she was a four-year NCAA student-athlete and served as a captain of the Catamounts women's soccer team, which helped to promote her passion in sport, health, and fitness.