Central Bucks Talks Teens and Depression

iintell articleIn an Intelligencer article posted today, parents of local Central Bucks teens gathered for a 90 minute presentation on how to help teens deal with depression. Among the topics of the presentation were social media pressures and the statistic that “In Central Bucks, about 30 percent of teens report feeling sad or depressed and 16 percent feel they’re failures.” This is significant and speaks about our local youth. Also mentioned was the importance of each teen having an “objective adult” to talk to.

At the Tabor Mentoring Program, many of our mentees do not have an adult support that they can talk to. With the introduction of a mentor into their lives, the response to the question: “Who are your adult supports?” may change over time. One of the objectives of the Tabor Mentoring Program, and, moreover, Tabor’s Adolescent Initiative Program (AIP) is to establish permanent connections for our youth. Mentors often fill that void!

With this article shedding light on 30% of teens in Central Bucks feeling depressed or sad, it’s so important that we provide opportunities for youth to connect with and talk to potential supports.

Read the article by clicking the link above. Photo taken from the linked Intelligencer Article, taken by Art Gentile.

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First Generation College Students: Celebrating Differences and Uniting in Support

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Read the New York Times article here! (Photo taken from the NYT article)

In a previous post, we discussed preparing for college through the eyes of a first-generation student (a story by NPR). This New York Times article beautifully illustrates how first-generation students have come together to unite in their struggles, differences from the ‘typical’ Ivy League students, and talk about how to better campuses across the US by preparing them with the supports needed for first generation college students.

Many of the youth that participate in Tabor’s programs are the first in their families to attend college or a certificate program. This article sheds light on some of the dynamics that we forget about, such as a youth taking a class called “Poverty in America” that they identify with more so than the backgrounds of their peers. Read more to learn about how students are taking action to support each other through college and beyond.

“All Work and No Play makes Jack a dull boy…..”

Following up on our article review about laughter, here is a fantastic short film about stimulating the brain with different types of play. In many educational psychology classes, play in learning is a recurring topic; the fascination with play creates a deeper, more complex understanding of social awareness in children. This article beautifully illustrates why we gravitate towards play:

See the NPR film below and read the article here.

The Best Medicine

laughing

Laughter: A Neglected but Vital Element of Mentoring

In reading Jean Rhodes’ latest article on laughter in the mentoring relationship (linked above, under the picture), I am reminded about the reason people appreciate laughter in any relationship: it creates an empathy between mentor and mentee when mentors can be playful and light-hearted. It creates a common understanding of, despite how different their backgrounds may be, a sense of humor and mutual appreciation.

Quite often in our interviews with new mentors, we talk about the “objectives” of a mentoring relationship. While some mentees may have clearly defined goals: “I want to go to college” or “I want to get a job,” for the most part, we are looking to create a long term relationship between two people that enhance each other’s lives. Many mentors feel pressure to show “outcomes” in a mentoring relationship and can start to feel uneasy or antsy if the mentee hasn’t had much change in their lives….but, I always like to remind them how far their mentees have come by asking these questions: “Are they still meeting with you weekly? Are they talking to you about their personal issues or goals?” THESE are the outcomes; THESE are the wins!

If a mentee is meeting with you consistently, opening up about their frustrations and laughing with you about their awkward or silly moments– THAT is the goal! We want to create the feeling of a naturally evolving relationship. While they still may be struggling with school or are struggling to find a full-time job, these may continue to be struggles, as they are with many youth in foster care. Being able to process these struggles through informal interaction, laughter and with someone who isn’t paid to ‘be there’ creates a connection that can help build a web of support for the youth after they have aged out of foster care (at 21, or 18 if they elect to sign themselves out of care).

Jean perfectly states in the article: “Of course, humor in mentoring involves finesse. Adults must maintain boundaries and avoid misinterpretation, sarcasm or inappropriate jokes. But, with mounting research showing the benefits of age appropriate humor, fun and laughter in forging close relationships, these critical components should not be ignored.”

So, as we begin Spring 2015, try to think more about laughter with your mentee, family or coworkers, as, for all of us, it sometimes does just the trick~

Help us to spread the word!

Tabor Mentoring Program is looking for mentors! Share this flyer on your Facebook wall or print it out to post on a bulletin board at work or your gym!

Right click on the image below and Save As to save it for sharing!

Tabor- Spring Ad

As always, thanks for your continued support!

Much Ado About Mentors, Arrive Magazine, March/April 2015

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March/April 2015

Mentoring: “It’s not exactly teaching, it’s not exactly advising, it’s not exactly friendship. It can be all of these things, though it need not be any of them, explicitly.”

After reading the above article in the March/April issue of Arrive Magazine (click the above magazine cover to read!)I was reminded of all of the incredible mentoring relationships that have created filmmakers, artists, musicians and pioneers of science. When given the chance to connect, mentors have the ability to create a spark in a person that helps to propel them to the next level.

Famous ballerina, Misty Copeland, says of her mentor, “I saw myself through her. I’d never met anyone like me. That makes it impossible to dream, to think a path us attainable.”

In our matches, often our mentors and mentees have commonalities, but sometimes, it is the actual bouncing ideas off of one another that creates the lasting connection; it helps to improve both lives, and creates a source of extrinsic motivation that keeps them meeting and connecting.

Mentoring is an incredible way to pay it forward in your community, connect with someone and help them to discover their inner gifts or ambitions. You never know what may come out of it: maybe the next award-winning film maker, songwriter or pioneer of medicine!

Read the above article to learn about some of the famous mentoring relationships in history and see what kept them alive.