outdoor portraits

Mentoring Youth

Why Mentor Youths? Benefits For Mentors and Youths

If you attended your high school classes regularly, abstained from taking drugs or drinking, and attended college, you may have a mentor to thank. You’re probably part of the, approximately, 67-percent of people who’ve had a mentor growing up. However, 1-out-of-3 people are not as fortunate to have the positive influence of a mentor, according to Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership.

Mentors and programs like Boys and Girls Club of America are important to the well-being of your communities. They are beneficial to all youths, but they have a marked impact on the lives of at-risk youth.

Mentors act as a positive influence for at-risk youths likely to skip classes, participate in recreational drug use, and drop out of high school. As a mentor you act as a listening ear, show an interest, and provide guidance that can make a difference to such a child. 

Mentor explains, “Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes them feel like they matter.”

According to youth.gov, the benefits to youth are numerous:

·         Increased high school graduation rates
·         Lower high school dropout rates
·         Healthier relationships and lifestyle choices
·         Better attitude about school
·         Higher college enrollment rates and higher educational aspirations
·         Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
·         Improved behavior, both at home and at school
·         Stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers
·         Improved interpersonal skills
·         Decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use

There are also benefits to mentors:

·         Increased self-esteem
·         A sense of accomplishment
·         Creation of networks of volunteers
·         Insight into childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood
·         Increased patience and improved supervisory skills

Are you interested in becoming a mentor? According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D., a Fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University, there are six qualities that would make you a good mentor:

·         You are Supportive
·         You are an Active Listener
·         You Push—Just Enough
·         You Have Authentic Interest in Youth as Individual
·         You Foster Self Decision-Making
·         You Lend Perspective

If you have an interest in helping children and making a difference in your community, consider becoming a mentor. You may change the life of a youth for the better, and you’ll see some positive changes in your life, as well. 

Single?

Why One Should Get Annual Photos Even If They’re Single

Annual photo sessions are traditionally associated with family portraits including married couples and children. They are a tradition dating back over 150 years to the onset of photography and have served purposes of recording family history, pride, and at times prominence, especially in its earliest forms when the process was time consuming and expensive.

As a single person people will probably tell you, unless required for professional purposes, an annual photo may seem unnecessary and downright silly. There tends to be a stigma surrounding an individual, especially a single one, having their portrait taken: a stigma similar to eating dinner by one’s self or screening a movie alone. As in these cases, such apprehension towards having one’s portrait taken on an annual basis is nonsense, and when overcome can provide a sense of freedom and confidence in one’s self and position in life, while serving as a valuable asset and keepsake.

If there is uncertainty in having annual portraits taken, consider these reasons why it is beneficial to do so despite uncertainty, embarrassment, or stigmas:

1.      Portraits taken annually can be used to keep professional and social media profiles fresh and updated. Unlike others who keep the same photo year upon year, be the individual who takes pride in their image and others will notice.

2.      Updated annual portraits can provide the individual, their family, and friends a record of life. Just because one is single doesn’t mean the progression of their lives is unworthy of capture in a portrait. Give yourself and others in the future a record of your strength and happiness in the life you lead.

3.      Annual photos for the individual can be used in much the same as others for holiday cards and messages. They are guaranteed to raise a smile and show your love towards your family, friends, and co-workers.

4.      Photos can be taken with a close friend or even a beloved pet. Such relationships are important in many people’s lives and are just as worthy of being documented.

5.      The photo session itself can be a fun, exciting, and empowering experience, inclusive of whatever you want it to be. Enjoy the time with the photographer whose focus and intent will be to make you feel and look good. Who doesn’t enjoy that?

Most people have taken part at some point in their lives in traditional family photos: those taken by a professional studio photographer, utilized to preserve memories and project a presence in life. As outlined above, such use of annual photos need not only be exclusive to individual’s belonging to a group or relationship, and they can have valuable significance and benefits even for the single person. So do a little research, maybe ask friends for a recommendation, and find that photographer you can enjoy working with to capture the best and present you.