As we exit National Mentoring month, we acknowledge the initial purpose of the month, which is to promote mentoring and raise awareness about the positive impact that mentoring can have on young people. But it’s also important to highlight what mentorship means specifically for young black girls. In celebrating this incredible month, we shed light on how crucial it is to not only offer mentorship but culturally sensitive mentoring programs for minority groups.
Mentoring is a powerful tool that can help young people to achieve their full potential, and this is especially true for young black girls. Research has shown that having a mentor can have a significant positive impact on a young person’s life, including increased self-esteem, better academic performance, and a greater likelihood of achieving their goals. However, young black girls in particular often face unique challenges that can make it difficult for them to find and benefit from mentorship.
One of the biggest challenges that young black girls face is a lack of representation in various fields. Unfortunately, many industries are still largely dominated by white men, and this can make it difficult for young black girls to find role models or mentors who look like them. This lack of representation can also make it difficult for young black girls to envision themselves in certain careers and can lead to a sense of isolation and self-doubt.
This is where mentorship becomes crucial. Having a mentor who is a black woman can provide young black girls with a sense of belonging and validation. A mentor can serve as a role model and offer guidance and support in navigating the challenges that come with being a young black girl. Furthermore, a mentor can expose young black girls to different career options and provide them with the skills and resources to pursue their goals.
Comfortability in a Mentor
In these ever-changing times, now more than ever, young black girls need people in their circle whom they can trust to help steer them in the right direction. While having their best interest in mind, these girls should be able to access mentors that can resonate with them on a level that makes them feel comfortable building healthy relationships. In the social climate we are currently living in, being comfortable with confiding in your mentor is a basic level standard that all black girls should be able to access with a question. Especially for those who live in a low population of student diversity, there are already clear hurdles of social isolation and underrepresentation for students who struggle in those communities.
Mentorship can also be a powerful tool in addressing the issue of self-esteem among young black girls. Minority women often have lower self-esteem than their white counterparts. This can be attributed to the negative stereotypes and messages that they are exposed to on a daily basis. A mentor can provide these girls with positive reinforcement and help them to develop a positive self-image.
Mentor’s Understanding of Social Burdens
For some girls, it isn’t difficult to find a mentor who understands them on a social level, they are able to open up to them about their concerns freely. In many instances, they are able to create a plan together and achieve their goals accordingly without any challenges or hesitation. This is not always the case for black girls who often have to explain the social burdens of current events that leave them triggered or scared for what their future holds. The struggles these girls may face day to day can prohibit them from focusing on their goals and leave them feeling helpless. For something they may want to discuss with their mentor, they won’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings or concerns because they fear they will be judged or misunderstood.
In the world of technology and social media, the pressures and noise of information that plagues the mind of young people can be damaging and detrimental. This especially rings loudly for minority girls who often can’t escape the noise no matter if they want to or not. By having a culturally sensitive mentoring program, black girls are able to voice their concerns in a psychologically safe environment. They don’t have to feel they need to shy away from their thoughts or, even worse, suppress their emotions altogether, leading to high levels of stress and anxiety. With genuine compatibility with a mentor to guide and uplift black girls, they can focus on their goals and stay on their chosen path with confidence.
Mentorship is essential for young black girls and has been shown to help them overcome the unique challenges that they face and provide them with the support and resources they need to achieve their goals. It’s crucial for organizations and individuals to recognize the need for mentorship for young black girls and to actively work to create mentorship opportunities that are culturally sensitive. Every young black girl deserves to have a supportive and empowering mentor in her life. One that is based on a level of perspective understanding that can only be viewed from someone with a similar background in many cases. With the advantage of a mentor, a young girl in need of change can make a true connection and profess sound concerns without the feeling of being misunderstood. Although to some, these benefits come naturally and do not require an additional thought process, the benefits of a diverse mentoring program can be life-changing. It can provide young black girls with the emotional and social support that they truly deserve in embarking on life’s inevitable changes.