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If it were not for my mentor, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Mentors are able to give thoughtful guidance when we need it most. My mentor provided an ongoing relationship of learning, challenge and meaningful dialogue. She taught me to think differently and approach the challenges in life with an open mind. When I stumbled, my mentor was there to help me get back on my feet.
Mentors are the heart of the HOPE for Prisoners program — without them, the program would not be successful. That can also be said about life in general because I believe we all need mentors in life. No matter what path one walks, a mentor makes that journey easier and more enlightening. A successful mentor is one who has a sincere desire to serve and change the lives of others. He or she will openly share life experiences, both good and bad, and listen with head and heart while offering compassionate leadership to those in need. A good mentor is especially important to someone who has significantly stumbled in life, like the man, woman, or young adult who is leaving prison and returning to society.
Mentorship provides opportunities for individuals who have the hope, desire, drive, ambition and potential to achieve specific goals to be paired with guides who have the know-how, experience, wisdom and resources to facilitate them toward the achievement of their goals. The mentor is not simply a role model, but rather the embodiment of that which was once only imagined. They provide avenues where the person being mentored can make the intangible, tangible.
I have failed more times than I have succeeded, but with the help of mentors I continue to learn from these failures. Through maturity and humility, I have learned to be a better student of life.
Mentorship takes on various forms, but the most meaningful experiences for me have been with individuals who supportively pushed me in ways that made me uncomfortable. Growth is, indeed, not comfortable. In fact, it can often be painful. This is why mentorship is about so much more than simply guidance or advice -- it is a supportive, authentic relationship.
All of us have lots of people speaking at us during our lives. Mentors bring an experiential perspective to the changes we want to make in our life journeys. It’s fine to have someone speak to us about new ideas, principles, and techniques, but having a mentor who has actually lived these things is invaluable. Their personal touch in our lives not only gives us another’s perspective, but allows a sounding board for how to implement our intended goals. Additionally, the mere fact that someone considers us valuable enough to pour their lives into ours assures us that our lives are worth living and improving.
The most important part of programs geared toward helping people change the course of their lives is mentoring. People cannot be expected to be successful doing things they've never done before without someone to walk through those times with them. Jon Ponder and the team at HOPE for Prisoners are helping people achieve sustainable life change by providing skilled, trained, and compassionate mentors to accompany them on the journey.
In life there are so many people that encourage and wish us the best, for which we are forever grateful. However, the power and influence of a mentor is priceless. If you don't have a mentor, seek one out. They'll be most appreciative and honored to help you along life's journey. If you have a mentor, embrace them and never take them for granted. They are 'family' forever.
WHAT TO EXPECT
At Hope for Prisoners