The Power of Mentoring: As Told by 5 Indianapolis Mentoring Organizations

This National Mentoring Month, we're celebrating the organizations that we are proud to know and partner with as we each work toward our shared mission: Setting our future generations up for success through meaningful mentoring relationships. We've asked four mentoring organizations – and our own president and CEO – to share about their missions and how they've seen the power of mentoring through the children, adolescents and adults they serve.
 

FEATURED ORGANIZATIONS:

College Mentors for Kids
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana
Elevate Indianapolis
Starfish Initiative
EDGE Mentoring


College Mentors for Kids

Connecting college students with the most
to give to kids who need it the most

We believe that all kids, regardless of their current circumstances, should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential.

"We believe that all kids, regardless of their current circumstances, should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential. As a dual-impact program, we also want college students to develop leadership skills and learn the importance of serving their communities. By pairing these two groups in one-on-one mentoring relationships through weekly activities that take place on the college campus, the results are amazing.

Our kids range in age from 1st grade to 6th grade and often are potential first-generation college students or come from poverty or low-income homes. They learn about the importance of higher education and the opportunities it provides, and they begin to link what they need to do now in order to achieve the careers they want to pursue in the future. They also develop stronger self-esteem, improve peer relationships and begin to expand their views of the world. The college students who participate learn more about their campus and the local community. In many cases, that includes the disparities and challenging circumstances facing families.

I'm passionate about the mission of College Mentors because I believe that education is an opportunity to escape poverty. Mentoring allows kids to understand the importance of education and take it seriously, and even more than that, it inspires kids who may not hear it often in their lives that they are valuable, important, and can do anything they set their minds to."

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Erin Cosler

Director of Operations
College Mentors for Kids


Big Brothers Big Sisters

Changing lives for the better, forever

I’ve seen first-hand the impact that mentoring can have on a child’s life. I was blessed to be matched with my ‘little’ almost 12 years ago.

"Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana is an affiliate agency of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and was formed in 1973. We believe that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. BBBSSCI provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships. 

We recently had one of our former littles share her experience with her Big at an event. She said: 'My Big knew my life was very hard, but that didn’t stop her from being there for me. She made some terribly hard and dark days in my life much more bearable, just by being there, by being fun and caring. You know, I am the first in my whole biological family to graduate from high school, the first woman in my bio family to get a driver’s license, and the only one to take college courses. None of this would have happened if it weren’t for my role models.'

I’ve seen first-hand the impact that mentoring can have on a child’s life. I was blessed to be matched with my 'little' almost 12 years ago. She is now a junior at Ball State University, a 20th Century Scholar and a Dean’s List recipient. The work our agency does every day is impactful…we change lives for the better, forever."

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Danell Witmer

Director of Development & Events
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana


Elevate Indianapolis

Building Long-Term, Life-Changing
Relationships with Urban Youth

The greatest impact made in mentoring our city’s urban youth is found in walking alongside them with a consistent willingness to meet them right where they are.

"Thinking of National Mentoring Month, I’m drawn to the Elevate phrase we declare the most: No one gets there alone. Surveying the past 20+ years of 'adulting,' I can’t think of any moment or season of success that isn’t linked directly to a personal mentor's investment in me.

And while my own life journey is one quite different than most of the urban youth we mentor, one need we all share is a reliance on mentors to experience the greatest success in any area of life. The greatest impact made in mentoring our city’s urban youth is found in walking alongside them with a consistent willingness to meet them right where they are. To be with them through it all. There is nothing greater than watching the urban students we serve in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) high schools strive toward being a greater version of themselves, through gained wisdom and identity discovery, that’s unleashed through the power of mentoring."

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AARON STORY

President & CEO
Elevate Indianapolis


Starfish Initiative

Shaping economically disadvantaged high school students into college-educated leaders

There’s infinite potential for life impact when an adult is willing to show up and be present in the life of a teen.

“Starfish Initiative inspires, encourages, and prepares academically promising, yet economically disadvantaged Marion County high school students for college and career success by matching them one-on-one with college-educated mentors. Mentors enjoy the autonomous nature of the volunteer opportunity and the unique experience of coaching a young person to pursue a major life goal. The results are inspiring, as there’s infinite potential for life impact when an adult is willing to show up and be present in the life of a teen. This is how one Scholar put it: 'My Mentor doesn’t just give me knowledge, he gives me hope that I can do and be so much more than what I thought I could. He has shown me and given me so much that I will appreciate for the rest of my life.'

I believe that being intentionally present in a relationship with someone who can’t directly offer anything in return is one of the clearest ways to live in the image of Christ. Learning my Starfish Scholar’s life perspective and aspirations has lent invaluable perspective to my own life. Earning the right to speak into someone else’s life is a tremendous honor, and hanging out with a teen is just a good time too. Mentoring is not a light commitment, but I encourage anyone considering becoming a mentor to figure out how to make it work and take the plunge!"

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DAN JOHNSON

Director of Mentor Engagement
Starfish Initiative


EDGE Mentoring

Sharpening the influence and impact of emerging leaders
personally, professionally and spiritually

At EDGE, we believe that intentional intergenerational relationships are the key to unlocking accelerated growth and development for young people in their 20s and early 30s.

“There is no handbook that exists for navigating the first few years after college – regardless of the preparation you might have from a strong university, internships, your parents or other role models you have experienced along the way.

At EDGE, we believe that intentional intergenerational relationships are the key to unlocking accelerated growth and development for young people in their 20s and early 30s. Our mentors do not necessarily have all the answers, but they have experience. And by asking good questions and forming sincere relationships, they are helping their mentees discern the important choices they are faced with immediately after college – from career paths and where to live, to relationships and starting a family. We believe this accelerated development enables young people to maximize the impact they can make over the course of their lifetime. Our mentors find the investment of time pretty life-giving as well.

I believe there are few more important things than mentoring as we think about our next 50 years as a society. Forming leaders who have a strong character foundation and aspire to pursue excellence in everything they do cannot be overstated – this will have a significant multiplier effect through our families, companies and communities for generations to come.”

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DAVE NEFF

President & CEO
EDGE Mentoring