My name is Theo Winfield, new to the Mentor Up Team. Mentor Up focuses on inspiring and engaging young people, ages 15-24, for mentoring and community service opportunities that help older Americans.
Let’s be honest, when someone says “community service” thoughts of hard work and long hours naturally come to mind. Believe me, I have those thoughts too! Before I became involved in Mentor Up, I HATED community service, and I wasn’t exactly the best people’s person either. I was the guy who would try to socialize with new people, but weird, Chewbacca noises would come out. So anyways, what makes Mentor Up any different? Maybe a little background will help explain:
“Family is everything.” I hold this value close to my heart. No matter the situation or time of day my family is always there for each other. My grandparents live over an hour and half away, from my home, at a farm in Courtland, VA. At a certain age, the human body begins to slow down and prevent people from doing everyday activities- this happened to my grandparents when I was 13 years old. My father and mother drive my younger brother and me to the countryside every weekend to assist my grandparents with as much as possible. We help with basic tasks like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, cooking meals, and everything in between; yet, I didn’t notice the other ways I am influencing their lives until I joined the Mentor Up team. Through the years of assistance, my grandparents started to learn how to take control of their lives in the changing world. I remember overhearing my grandmother and grandfather discussing new ways to ensure better income and how to form better communication with friends and family. But how could I have made such an impact at a young age?
It’s in the conversations!
My father, mother, brother, and I are unknowingly playing roles as ‘mentors.’ My brother and I explaining to my grandparents how our tablets work; my dad explaining how they can receive news updates 24/7 on smartphones; my mother discussing how selling items online would reach a larger audience. These conversations my family share with my grandparents continuously introduce my grandmother and grandfather to solutions to issues relevant to their lives.
This is why Mentor Up is amazing! It takes the natural teaching skills found in young Americans and allows them to utilize those skills to help older adults. It’s a reverse mentorship- the younger person is the mentor and the older person is the mentee! Both parties are gaining important knowledge and skills! For instance, mentors will be able to enhance their interpersonal skills, valuable in every career path, and the mentees will be able to directly strengthen his/her business or life.
Mentor Up is providing an opportunity for people to help older adults find stability in the world. Together we can make a difference!
“What You Know is What They Need.”