Every January across the nation is National Mentor Appreciation month. A mentor is defined as an experienced trusted advisor. Mentors are considered very knowledgeable in several facets of life. A mentoring relationship is one that is very unique. Sharing individual learned experiences helps create and inspire an invaluable connection between a mentor and an individual receiving mentoring services.
The Utah State University Health and Wellness Extension is in our second year of providing free youth mentoring in Tooele County. We currently have 14 high school students providing mentoring services in two different youth mentoring programs: Health Rocks, and Prevention Pals.
The median ages of the youth in our clubs range from nine to fourteen years old. A mentoring connection with youth in this age demographic helps instill many protective factors. The mentoring relationship helps youth develop healthy decision-making abilities, learn resiliency skills, and reduces the peer pressure to engage in risky behavior like alcohol, tobacco, and harmful substance use. Mentoring is a great model that helps youth discern what positive, healthy relationships look like. All of these components can lead to your child having greater social determinants of health in the future. Mentoring isn’t just for needy kids, anyone can benefit from a healthy relationships with a positive role model.
Health Rocks and Prevention Pals mentors selflessly dedicate their time weekly to be available for these young youth. A majority of our mentors embody scholastic accolades to be proud of. Aside from scholastics, these youth participate in athletic programs such as basketball, softball, ballroom dance, swim team, and cheerleading. Other extra-curricular activities include working on their school’s yearbook staff, school paper, welding programs, and the HOPE squad. Many of the mentors hold down part-time employment in our community. No matter who youth are, there is a mentor to match their interests. All of these individuals show grace, compassion, and empathy. Tooele’s mentors communicate well, like to have fun, and show amazing resiliency in everything they do.
The amazing USU Extension youth mentors for 2021 for Health Rocks are: Kennedie Anderson, Haley Bice, Kaylee Campbell, McCade Laughlin, Avery Mott, Ridge Searle, Maddison Teeples, and Jacee Walker. Prevention Pals mentors include: Cadence Brown, Jasmine Edrich, Brandon Hadlock, Traevynn Miner, Isabella Mohel, and Christian Zamora. Please be sure to thank them for their upstanding service to the youth in our community.
David Stoddard once stated, “Getting the most out of life isn’t about how much you keep for yourself, but how much you pour into others.” This is the heart of mentoring. It just goes to show, when people’s hearts are in the right place they tend to perform amazing acts of service. We truly are blessed to live in a community that is very service oriented and devoted to helping others.
We always have room for more mentors and youth in our programs at the USU Extension. If you have a youth in the 4th-8th grades or a high school student who would like to be involved in our mentoring programs please have them contact email@example.com or 801-560-4608.
Emily Hamilton is the Health Educator & Mentoring Coordinator at Utah State University Health & Wellness Extension