I know it sounds dumb sometimes but when people ask me why I mentor I say "because I can." Same as when people ask me why I run..."because I can." I think to me that means that every one of us has the ability to mentor. Mentoring is just your story shared with others. But just as important, it's their story shared with you. It's not trying to fix someone...it's just listening. It's showing someone that life is about opportunity. No matter what decisions you've made in the past, or will continue to make in the future, you always have opportunity.
Personally for me, I get the opportunity to mentor young boys, most of whom do not have a father or consistent adult male in their life. I lost my father to cancer when I was 27, so I have lived a large portion of my life without a father. I didn't ask for it, just like the boys I mentor didn't ask for their fathers to not be present in their lives. Mentoring gives me the opportunity to go through life with other sons just like me. We learn from each other.
The most important thing about being a mentor is having an impact on someone's life. It's not about telling a young boy everything he's done wrong, or every behavior he needs to correct. It's about telling jokes, swapping stories, small little lessons, and sharing life experiences. Just being there is enough.
January is National Mentoring Month. I volunteer mentor with Elevate Recreation which is a part of Metro United Way's Black Male Achievement work. I encourage you to think about mentoring in our community. There are plenty of children who need caring adults in their lives and opportunities to get involved; find them HERE.
Originally from York, Pennsylvania, Matt has lived in Louisville for 15 years. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Physical Therapy and now works for Agility Health. Matt has been married 20 years to his beautiful wife Leslie and they have three children - Mason, Sophie, and Graham. He's a member of Northeast Christian Church and his interests include running, golf and coaching youth sports.