In celebration of National Mentoring Month, eight young people from FRIENDS FIRST, a Colorado-based mentoring program that educates and mentors teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships, traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in Capitol Hill Day and other events as part of the 2016 National Mentoring Summit.
Each of the eight young people who took part in the Summit serves as a student mentor through FRIENDS FIRST’s STARS mentoring program, a student-led peer-mentoring program in which high school upperclassmen mentor younger students.
The program provides support, character development, and healthy relationship education to young people during school or in after-school programs – work that closely supports MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership’s (MENTOR) national efforts.
Three of these students spoke at a dinner hosted by MENTOR prior to Capitol Hill Day. They shared their personal stories and talked about the kinds of meaningful relationships that have influenced some of their most important decisions.
Each story supported MENTOR’s mission to focus national attention on the need for mentors in real life, identifying the importance of mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives.
Recently, MENTOR reached out to these young people to learn more about their experiences at this year’s Summit. Here’s what they had to say:
What does mentoring mean to you?
“I am so passionate about mentoring, it gave me a whole different outlook on life. Mentoring is eye-opening because it made me reflect on my personal life, and it is one of the greatest reasons why I stand here today.”
-Ezekiel, FRIENDS FIRST Student Mentor
“To me, mentoring helps me be a better person, I have developed a sense of maturity and motivation to do what I love and be myself.”
– Alondra, FRIENDS FIRST Student Mentor
How did being a part of Capitol Hill Day and the Summit impact you?
“Capitol Hill Day was an experience I will never forget. The day made the idea of actually having contributed something to the process real to me, and it makes me proud. The Summit made me see how important mentoring is, and instilled in me a feeling of community.”
-Katlyn, FRIENDS FIRST Student Mentor
“Being a part of Capitol Hill Day impacted me in a way that I wasn’t even expecting. I went in there feeling like I wasn’t going to make a difference, and I left knowing that I actually did! This will impact my future because it gives me more motivation to continue on my path of mentoring.”
– Devontay, FRIENDS FIRST Student Mentor
What would you say to anyone who might be thinking about becoming a mentor?
“The impact of mentoring is monumental. If you are thinking about it, you need to keep in mind what you would like to see in someone to mentor you. You have to remember that the littlest thing can change someone’s life, like it did for me and my mentor.”
– Kacie, FRIENDS FIRST Student Mentor
“[Mentoring] will grow you as a person and a leader. It is an experience well worth the time and work put in.”
-Diego, FRIENDS FIRST Student Mentor