Space for Social Interaction
Aims and objectives
In this module, mentors will offer their skills. A skill is a learned, observable behavior you perform that indicates (to someone else) how well you can do something. The set of skills described here constitutes your overall ability to mentor and be mentored.
Mentors that incorporate storytelling bring authenticity to their knowledge and experience because their stories help bring their examples to life. Storytelling must be learned and practiced, and it can take some time to refine the skill of storytelling in the context of a mentoring relationship. For example, knowing when to share a story, when to stop, and when to ask a mentee to share their own story while you simply listen are all nuances one must learn.
Any adult can be a mentor, but seniors are particularly positioned to make unique contributions. Not only do they have plenty of wisdom and experience to share, but their potential is often undervalued and underutilized. Mentorship puts these untapped resources to good use. We encourage each adult to take part in a wide range of activities, many of which provide opportunities to be out in the community, forming meaningful connections with their peers and staff. When you think about volunteers, the typical image of a team or community group planting a garden, revitalizing a local park or painting a lively mural at a school comes to mind. Yet all around the globe, at any given time, thousands (if not millions) of engaged citizens volunteer virtually — using their computers, the Internet, even their smartphones.
Virtual volunteers can complete short-term or long-term tasks, in whole or in part, typically off-site from the organization or person being assisted. If you’ve got access to a computer, thousands of different volunteer projects and roles are available to you — from your home, the library, a coffee shop, anywhere with an Internet connection.
Personal stories provide points of connection and remind us of the power of relationships to break down otherness, find common ground, and elevate shared humanity. It will be collecting stories about mentoring in real life — stories from mentors, mentees, programs, and anyone willing to elevate their voice and personal connection to mentoring.
Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth. Many mentors say that the rewards they gain are as substantial as those for their mentees, and that mentoring has enabled them to:
- Have fun
- Achieve personal growth and learn more about themselves
- Improve their self-esteem and feel they are making a difference
- Gain a better understanding of other cultures and develop a greater appreciation for diversity
- Feel more productive and have a better attitude at work
- Enhance their relationships