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EARLY YEARS: January is National Mentoring Month

Mentor relationships can begin as early as middle school
Kids as young as middle school aged can benefit from mentors
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:42 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - When it comes to finding a good mentor, the earlier you start, the better.

”You can’t be what you can’t see. So, really exposing young people to all the different avenues they can take, and then helping them navigate that.”

Kevin Fudge is the Director of Advocacy with American Student Assistance, and is a dad himself.

Like many parents, his words of advice often fall on deaf ears.

“My son, I can tell you a quick story, 15 years old, like had a nice mentor he met this summer. Talked to him about life, worked on basketball. And I was so overjoyed, because they were talking about stuff that he and I had been talking about, but sort of seemed like he tuned me out,” says Fudge.

Fudge says the role of a mentor has evolved, ranging from being someone you find on the job to someone who ignites interests those who are younger.

“The modern definition is helping young people feel empowered, encouraging them to explore their interests, skills, values, and seeing how they translate into a career pathway. And that starts as early as middle school,” he says.

Having another positive role model outside the family helps validate kids and their interests.

These days, virtual space can allow kids to connect with mentors from all over the world.

Even those who don’t think to consider themselves as mentors.

“You might not think of yourself as a role model, or even a person that relates well to kids, but you as an adult have so much to offer our young people,” says Fudge.

For more information on mentoring, click this link.

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