Put your skills to work by mentoring in the community.
We all know how valuable mentoring can be for your high-potential employees, but have you ever considered leveraging your knowledge and experience to help someone who might be struggling to understand the workaday world? When the mentee is a high-school student, for example, one-on-one mentoring has been shown to reduce dropout rates and absenteeism. When you mentor a woman re-entering the workforce after a prolonged absence, you help the business community by increasing the pool of qualified applicants for open positions.
As a mentor, you can teach valuable life skills, such as writing a résumé, effective interviewing, managing personal finances and dealing with office culture. More than anything, you'll serve as a role model for girls and women who want to achieve financial independence in their lives but who may have few personal examples of success to draw from. Here are a few national programs that can help you find a mentoring relationship that is not only rewarding, but also puts your skills and experience to best use:
Dress for Success is best known for its network of thrift shops and personal shoppers that provide appropriate attire to disadvantaged women seeking employment. The program also offers career development through mentoring. Once a client obtains a job, she becomes eligible to join the organization's Professional Women's Group, which offers ongoing support as members transition into the workforce, build careers and learn their way around the workplace. To find a Dress for Success affiliate near you (or for information on starting one) visit dressforsuccess.org.
National Mentoring Partnership is a comprehensive resource for those interested in community mentoring, from volunteering to starting a local chapter. Young people between the ages of 6 and 18 are offered support and guidance to build productive and meaningful lives. Regional partnerships across the country aggregate various local mentor programs and help match volunteers with the program that best suits them. To learn more and to find mentoring volunteer opportunities near you, visit mentoring.org.
Women On Call is a web-based organization that matches nonprofits with skilled professional volunteers. While not focused specifically on mentoring, it is a great way to find community work that takes advantage of your particular skill set with an emphasis on short-term, high-impact projects that may be handled locally or remotely. You begin by registering at womenoncall.org and entering information, including your areas of expertise. The system alerts registered volunteers when an appropriate project becomes available that best matches their strengths and interests.
There are also myriad local programs. To find volunteer mentoring opportunities near you, start your search at volunteermatch.org.
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