At SquadLocker, we’re thinking a lot about youth mentorship these days. There’s more than one way to mentor youth -- either an adult mentors a child, or youth peers mentor other youngsters. The process of mentoring itself is about people helping people, but it always comes down to leading by example.
Mentoring plays an obvious role in the youth sports environment, and in schools, too. But it’s about more than helping a kid become a better soccer player, or a more supportive teammate or get better grades.
- Mentees learn skills and positive attitude and leadership from their mentors.
- Mentors themselves learn patience and positive reinforcement and hone their own leadership skills.
When you add fundraising to the mix, you’re doubling down on the benefits of mentorship. By participating in fundraising activities, both mentors and mentees learn the invaluable life lesson of helping others because it is the right thing to do.
And, speaking of examples, let’s see how Big Brothers Big Sisters is putting this concept to work.
If it’s not one challenge, it’s another
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Prince Edward Island usually hosts an annual Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser which also promotes team building, community spirit and the joy of having fun while doing something good.
But of course that’s not feasible this year, so they’ve stepped up to a new challenge – the Big Little Challenge -- a three-week event that kickoff March 8th. Each week features its own thematic Challenge – Celebrate Summer in Winter, Great Chili Cook-Off and Go Bowling Covid-19 Style (they couldn’t omit bowling altogether!). Each features a list of activities individuals can do on their own while raising money as teams.
Clever, yes? And very effective.
In some ways, their match-up of mentoring and fundraising was inadvertent – one of so many pandemic-related adjustments we’ve had to make in our lives. But what a great opportunity! And everyone’s a winner. The Big Little Challenge will:
- Raise needed funds to support BBBS programs (that benefit at-risk youth in the community)
- Provide loyal supporters and new-to-BBBS community members with personally rewarding volunteer experiences
- Show creativity and resolve in the face of adversity (a great lesson for all ages)
- And let’s not forget the fun quotient – always important, now more than ever
Following the BBBS example
Like Big Brothers Big Sisters, schools and YSOs are struggling with how to keep youngsters and families engaged while still separated. Schools and YSOs also need to raise money. So, how can your organization emulate BBBS by getting creative with engaging community fundraising?
The possibilities are almost endless. For example:
- You can put a virtual twist on traditional fundraisers
- You can modify traditionally in-person-close-together events as BBBS is doing
- You can sell custom-decorated school or team spirit wear using your SquadLocker store
One more thought on youth mentorship
We don’t usually think of BBBS as a peer-to-peer mentoring opportunity, but sometimes 16- and 17-year-olds can serve as “Bigs” with parental approval. Besides, lots of kids who have been through the program as “Littles” return the favor as mentors when they’re older. And any young person can aspire to becoming a Big Brother or Sister or mentoring in some other way.
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