Micki Harrison is a Youth Success! Mentor though Empower Youth Network. She has been paired with her mentee for the past three years. She loves that her mentee is full of energy, enthusiastic, has a wicked sense of humor, and so much more.
A few years ago, she was inspired to become a mentor when she volunteered at Echo Glen. Harrison said, “When I had the opportunity to interact with those young people, I was drawn to offer a consistent and encouraging influence to them. I believe that earlier exposure to positive examples in their lives will boost their abilities to make better choices as they reach adolescence.”
Her mentorship benefits here mentee because she shows up consistently for him, is a positive role model, listens to him without judgment, thanks him for his ideas, and is genuinely interested in understanding his likes and dislikes. She also benefits from being a mentor. “When I am curious about my mentee’s ideas and thoughts, it opens my mind to possibilities and provides an opportunity to see things from a different perspective,” Harrison said.
She has two major highlights from throughout her time mentoring. She recalls that her first mentee was interested in fashion design. Together, they created a portfolio of her designs, a creative and collaborative effort Harrison looks back on fondly. As for her current student he loves to offer direction and coaching regarding sports, especially on how best to kick or toss a ball, and has complimented Harrison on her improvements.
Harrison has done a lot to help her mentee navigate challenges. “The best example I have is our discussion around why he needed to buy a phone, as he believed that having a phone would make him cool. We made a list of other attributes that could be considered cool versus having a cell phone,” she said. Through conversations, they create opportunities to gain broader perspectives and explore different viewpoints.
Harrison believes that you need to meet your mentee where they are, as opposed to resituating them to be more in line with you. “Sometimes they need quiet, or to share ideas, or to make up their own rules for games.” All of that is okay, and Harrison embraces whatever direction her mentee takes them in during their time together. “The main thing is to be there for them as planned,” she said.
Each January, we come together as a community to support youth with National Mentoring Month. By harnessing our collective voice, we can raise awareness for how one conversation, one experience, and one mentor can change a young person’s life. Thanks to Micki Harrison and to all of the mentors in the valley making positive differences in their mentee’s lives.