“Nobody succeeds on their own: each young person’s strength and resilience is fostered by those who have taught them they can do anything they put their mind to.” – President Barack Obama
January not only starts a new year, but it also marks the beginning of the National Mentoring Month campaign. Since 2002, former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama endorsed the movement to increase public awareness about the importance of mentoring, advocating for mentoring, and encouraging new mentors to volunteer. Mentors can significantly impact a young person’s life and be the difference they need to be a better version of themselves in the future.
In addition to our mentors through our Big Brothers Big Sisters program, JBBBSLA introduced another mentorship program in 2019 specifically designed for highly motivated high school students seeking a more focused mentorship experience. That’s when the Make An Impact Now (MAIN) Coach Program started. A year later, we have a remarkable group of volunteers who contribute their time, knowledge, and experience as mentors to high school students.
Our MAIN Coaches provide the critical support students need to pursue their academic, professional, and personal goals by sharing their firsthand experience on applying to and attending college, pursuing a specific field of study, or embarking on a career path. They also challenge their students to create direction for their aspirations and find purpose for their talents and interests that will help benefit their communities and the broader world. It is because of our MAIN Coaches that JBBBSLA can fulfill our mission to ensure that our students reach their full potential. Thank you to our MAIN Coaches for everything you do!
We asked our students why having a mentor was important and to share the impact their MAIN Coach has made. Here’s what they had to share:
“Having a mentor is like having both a role model and a cheerleader at the same time. My MAIN coach has helped me so much throughout my college process whether it was brainstorming essays, editing supplemental essays, or connecting me with alumni. She has been a wonderful resource and mentor over the past five months, and I can’t wait to continue to work with her as I go off to college.” — 12th grader from Cleveland Charter High
“My MAIN Coach has become not only a friend, but a support system that in my times of need, I know I can rely on. She has opened up doors I never even knew existed to help me achieve my goals. She has also done so with an amazing amount of patience and understanding. At the end of January, I get the privilege of starting an internship at The Alliance for Children’s Rights, and I would not have gotten this opportunity without the help, support, and guidance my MAIN Coach has given me. From the minute we began speaking, we both felt a connection, and ever since then we have only become a stronger team 🙂 I could not be more grateful to have her in my corner.” — 11th grader from Redondo Union High
“Having a mentor is important to me because without my MAIN Coach I’d be lost on a lot of things. Having the ability to send any question through email or message and get a response so quickly is just amazing. Something that my mentor has done to help me is to get me through my college interview. I’d never really done interviews before and I didn’t really know what to expect. She helped me through it and even did a mock interview with me. When it came time to do the interview, I thought I did great after! Mentors help you through everything, whether it be academic help to just talking about anything that comes to mind.” — 12th grader from Hollywood High
“Having a mentor is important to me because I get to find out about the college experience. My MAIN Coach is able to provide suggestions and enthusiasm so that I remain encouraged to make my own way to college. I also get to learn about what I have to look forward to after college, and how passions discovered and/or developed in college can lead to a career. I feel like someone always has my back and knows me well so that I trust her when she says I can do this.” — 12th grader from CHAMPS Charter High
“Having a mentor is important to me because not only can they provide us mentees with advice and help, but they can also guide us in making decisions in the future. They are people we can lean on for almost anything, whether it be being emotionally available to talk to if we have problems, or helping us in school. They are fundamental resources for the success of their mentees. My MAIN coach has made a positive impact in my life by supporting my ambitions and endeavors in school and for my future. I started a little project a while ago, and she’s provided many educated and accomplished contacts that I can talk to. In turn, I’ve gotten to expand my social network, and consequently, continued to build my confidence and communication skills. She’s an amazing mentor, and I’m super grateful for her help!” — 11th grader from Girls Academic Leadership Academy
We also asked our MAIN Coaches why mentoring was important and why they decided to become a MAIN Coach. Here’s what our Coaches had to share:
“Mentoring is important to me because I have seen the value that I have received from mentors to me throughout my career which is still continuing. I became a Main Coach to share the knowledge and the wisdom that I have learned along the way that hopefully will inspire someone to help them with their future schooling and career.” — Mark, MAIN Coach
“Mentoring is important to me as it is a way of passing down knowledge to a younger generation, while also learning more about them. It’s a great way to make connections with others and diversify both of our perspectives. I have benefited greatly from mentors in my life and wanted to provide that guidance and support to someone else.” — Dana, MAIN Coach
“There are so many kids out there that just need to be heard or need a nudge in the right direction. We all have something to offer and the long term impact is immeasurable.” — Mike, MAIN Coach
“Mentoring is important to me because I believe it is an honor and a duty to give back to my community. I also believe our collective future relies on children and equal access to education. I took a break from my social work career to raise my own three children. I ended up serving on multiple school committees and my interest in education continued as I learned more about the many school options in LA. Obviously there are many positives and some negatives as well. After learning more about the college admissions process when my oldest son applied, I became even more aware of the inequality in the system. Many capable young students would benefit and hopefully have better success if they had assistance navigating the competitive and complex process. Becoming a MAIN coach was a perfect combination for my interest and passion. I have been blessed with a student who inspires me each time we speak. Her positive attitude, organization, and curiosity gives me hope in the future and cements my belief that we can all learn from each other.” — Jill, MAIN Coach
If a mentor has positively impacted your life, pay it forward by reaching out to them and expressing your gratitude. You can also make a contribution to help JBBBSLA continue our work with students.
To learn more about the MAIN Coach Program or to become a MAIN Coach, visit our website today!