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Gratitude Tuesday

The Power of Mentorship

At SOS, there’s a lot that goes into ensuring that our programs are as impactful as possible for the youth we serve. We engage with mountain partners that align with our vision, our program managers build robust multi-year curriculums that center around leadership development and social-emotional learning, and we partner with local schools and youth agencies to ensure that we engage with kids who will benefit from our programs the most. Through it all, we’d like to recognize that our impact would not be as strong as it is today if not for our incredibly passionate and dedicated mentors. 

To put it simply, our mentors are rockstars. From shredding with the kids to weekly phone-call check-ins and helping run curriculum-based workshops, our mentors serve as educators, sounding boards, advisors, and above all else, role models. 

“I think mentors help kids connect with another person who isn’t a peer, parent, or teacher,” says North Lake Tahoe mentor Dani Perot, “It’s a unique relationship, where you’re there to listen, help be a sounding board for them, for their ideas, and work on life skills and core values together.” 

SOS Youth and their mentor

The relationship between a mentor and mentee is special in that offers a different dynamic than that of a parent-child or student-teacher relationship. According to the National nonprofit, MENTOR, “Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations.” 

For instance, “With a mentor, young people are: 

  • 52% less likely to skip a day of school
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
  • 130% more likely to hold a leadership position”

When in the context of SOS Outreach programs, we find all three of these statistics to be tangibly relevant. Nationally, one of the top risk factors that SOS youth face is low academic goals and little to no academic support. SOS mentors hold weekly phone-call check-ins with their mentees to set goals and help their kids stay on track. When it comes to volunteering, SOS youth and mentors pick local causes to get involved in each season. From working with the Salvation Army to planting trees in the mountains, mentors and mentees work together to identify and address the needs in their communities. Finally, when it comes to leadership, mentors hold workshops that specifically focus on leadership development skills. A significant portion of SOS participants then move on to the Junior Mentor program where they put their leadership skills to work by inspiring the next generation of SOS youth.

SOS kids and mentor volunteer for the Salvation Army during the holidays

“My favorite part about SOS is being able to pass down my love of snowboarding to younger kids and getting them pumped on all things SOS.” says Armando, a Junior Mentor, “Hopefully, when they grow up, they’ll be inspired to become junior mentors and the cycle continues”

Ultimately, our SOS mentors are the key that unlocks the tremendous impact that our programs have on the youth we engage. We are so incredibly fortunate and grateful to have mentors across all 15 of our locations who are dedicated to helping youth walk through their own opportunities and thrive. 

To learn more about mentoring with SOS Outreach, click here.