The original “Mentor” is a character in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. When Odysseus,King of Ithaca went to fight in the Trojan War, he entrusted the care of his kingdom to Mentor. Mentor served as the teacher and overseer of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus. Mentor’s name-with a lower-case “m”-has passed into our language as a shorthand term for wise and trusted counselor and teacher.
Today, mentoring is an increasingly important instrument in the professional development of promising talent. Within the mentoring framework, mentees have a greater opportunity to enhance their self-confidence, communication skills and leadership practices. Ideally, this relationship leads to where one can share triumphs, defeats and new ideas, receiving in turn guidance, a nonjudgmental audience and constructive criticism.
Peter and Terry Hussey relocated to Beaufort in 2009 and brought with them a wealth of experience in mentoring from their professional careers with the federal government. They desired an opportunity to refresh their knowledge base and engage mentoring in a more localized experience. An experience that would make an impact locally with young people. They completed the United Way mentor certification program and found placement with the Whale Branch Early College High School. “Mentoring is an important adjunct to the educational experience,” says Peter Hussey. “Benefitting everyone connected to the process.”
“I constantly came across people while serving as an ESL tutor through Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry that would benefit from some helpful guidance and knew that a basic course in mentoring would validate my experience in lending an ear and providing insight,” says Cassandra Campbell, a United Way certified mentor.
Mentoring is a proven way to promote individual growth and development, accelerate learning, fast-track leadership, improve retention, elevate morale, strengthen recruitment and promote diversity.
“Mentors need to understand the key components of mentoring, and how to avoid the situations that tend to derail mentoring relationships. New and experienced mentors can benefit from enhancing their personal mentoring skills and applying mentoring best practices taught through this course,” says Jill Briggs, executive vice president with the United Way of the Lowcountry.
The United Way of the Lowcountry will offer it’s Mentor Training program on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, January 10 and 12, as well as 17 and 19, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Comfort Inn & Suites located in the Belfair Towne Village, Bluffton. The program is free and open to the public. It requires attendance at all four sessions to receive certification. The course is taught by Carolann Roberto, a certified social worker, consultant and trainer.