Giving Compass' Take:

My' Yelle Warner, writing for The Hechinger Report, discusses the traits of a good mentor and her experience eventually becoming one herself. 

How can mentors be transformational for students who are experiencing adversity? How can donors support mentor programs in schools?

Read about why more students need mentors.

My life was turned upside down when Hurricane Katrina forced my family to leave New Orleans in 2005 and relocate to Texas and then Georgia.

Then I found a caring adult in my school — Ms. Barnes, a Communities in Schools organizer. Ms. Barnes became my mentor. She was always there to help me talk through how I could make better decisions next time. It was the push I needed to grow and start taking responsibility for myself.

Every student deserves a support system and a mentor. When students are just surviving, just getting by, they don’t have the mental bandwidth to think about the future. Having a mentor to help navigate obstacles creates space to think beyond just the next class, day or difficulty. Unfortunately, many students don’t have mentors, and that needs to change. Adults can change the situation, but so can other students.

When a teacher pointed out students who reminded her of me — who I was before I’d met Ms. Barnes — I became a mentor to three young women at my high school.

Ms. Barnes was such a good example of what a mentor should be that it felt natural for me to take on this responsibility.But I don’t plan to stop at these three. As I continue on to college, I’ll be on the lookout for more young women who need mentors.

A mentor should connect with their mentee on a deeper, more honest level than most young person/adult relationships. To be a great mentor, one should be able to talk easily with one’s mentee, understand them, and hold them accountable when they make missteps. Good mentors will support their mentees regardless of the missteps.

Read the full article about good mentors by My' Yelle Warner at The Hechinger Report