Opinion | January is the perfect time to start mentoring Charlotte youth

January is National Mentoring Month.

It’s National Mentoring Month, a perfect time to focus on the positive impact we can have on Charlotte youth. 

Research shows the personal and academic achievements that can happen as a result of mentoring relationships. For example:  

  • Boys with a mentor are three times less likely to suffer peer pressure and anxiety, and two times less likely to develop negative behaviors.
  • A mentor increases a student’s likelihood of attending college by 50%. 
  • Youth in a mentoring program are 46% less likely to use drugs and 27% less likely to use alcohol.

Each year, my personal development plan includes seeking out opportunities to mentor others. I credit many of my successes to lessons learned from mentors throughout the years.  

As an aside, I did a Google search for mentoring organizations impacting Charlotte’s Black boys and girls and was surprised that many of the top results didn’t include nonprofits founded or led by people of color. I continued to research and saw that it was a common trend in the nonprofit sector both in and outside of Charlotte. 

Children need to see — and be mentored by — people in leadership roles who look like them. There’s value in mentorship regardless of cultural background, however, representation can influence what a child believes is possible.

We must get involved as mentors, in addition to joining boards and leadership teams of organizations that serve Black youth. After all, the future of our community is in their hands.

Check out these local organizations offering mentoring opportunities: 


The Academy of Goal Achievers is a program created to develop young leaders to impact their communities. Incoming high school students and their parents make a four-year commitment to the program which includes mentoring, college/career guidance and social events. Get involved

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Carolinas creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships between youth and adults that ignite the power and promise of youth in our community. There’s a particular need for Black male mentors. Chief Executive Officer Donna Dunlap said African American children make up 69% of the youth served and many parents are seeking Black male volunteers. Become a Big

Boys to Men Foundation provides young men with positive male role models, opportunities for community involvement, leadership development and more. Volunteer

EmpowHERment creates a network of girls and women to be leaders in their community through mentorship, talent development and advocacy. Volunteer

Firm Foundations‘ Mentoring MATTERS uses small group sessions and/or one-on-one mentorship as a prevention and intervention program. Get Involved

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Nakisha Washington
Nakisha is a millennial career coach, content creator and fashion insider. She shares highs, lows and lessons learned from her 10+ year career in corporate America on her blog, www.nakishawashington.com.

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