Mentorship isn’t a new concept (it’s a cornerstone in businesses, as this new Harvard Business Review article points out), but its importance is often overlooked – particularly in the field of education. In the last few months, a mentorship model has arisen in discussions surrounding education reform, with the idea of pairing senior teachers with less-experienced teachers as one way to potentially improve student outcomes. As potentially beneficial as this relationship may be, the mentorships that I hope will grow in popularity are those between successful community members and students.
Institutions such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and MENTOR have long served as vehicles to match mentors and mentees, but mentorships can also spring up organically between students and “stakeholders,” given the right circumstances. In the unique example of Taft High School student, Adolphus Washington, and Cincinnati Bell CEO, Jack Cassidy, we see a mentorship that developed outside of a formal, organizational structure. In this example, Washington was able to find a mentor in Cassidy because Cassidy – a successful businessman and an active stakeholder in Taft High School – made himself available to students by actively investing and engaging in their education and success. Just imagine if more community members did the same.
It’s encouraging to see these kinds of relationships because of the long-term positive impact they can have on students. Done right, mentors can become thought partners (as Cassidy’s and Washington’s relationship indicates), guiding students and helping them make good decisions about their future.