Today is International Day of Families. 2017’s theme is families, education and well-being, and we at Mentor are honoring this day in support of the UN’s Sustainable Goal 4.7, the importance of “knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyle, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”
The goal of this day is to raise awareness of the role of families in promoting lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth, however a family is constituted. We recognize and honor all caregivers in families. Stronger families are the first step to raising empowered children who are less likely to engage in risky behavior. While our mentoring programs are emphatically not a replacement for families, we are committed to providing additional support for them and young people to promote education and well-being. Research has shown that youth with mentors are more likely to engage in positive behavior, have higher self-esteem, and set higher education and career goals.
Mentor’s individual mentoring program can contribute to young people staying in school, teaching them how to relate and communicate better with others, and help them take steps to set and realize their career goals. Our career mentoring programs offer them the opportunity to learn about myriad job options that they may not have otherwise been exposed, providing them with increased inspiration and motivation for learning.
Mentor also offers parenting programs that are designed to provide skills and techniques to enhance the communication and relationship between caregivers and young people. The goal is to equip parents/carers with tools to create a constructive and nurturing environment conducive to learning and positive development. The range of topics include developing a relationship with a young person, conflict resolution, non-violent communication, trends in drug use, and understanding the teenage brain.
Effective parent programs have been linked with decreased rates of child abuse and neglect, improved parent/carer-child communication, better physical, cognitive and emotional development in children, increased parental knowledge of child development and parenting skills, reduced youth substance abuse, and strengthened protective factors.
The bottom line is that children with engaged parents/carers are more likely to succeed in school. The quality of parent/carer and child relationships is 10 times more powerful than any demographic measurement in predicting whether children develop critical life skills such as motivation, empathy, and responsibility. We at Mentor believe that supporting parents is a key factor in supporting young people’s education and well-being. Ultimately, stronger families, resilient children, and robust support networks are at the crux of fulfilling Goal 4.7.