Blogpost: The Role of a Mentorship by Amicia Bowman

IMG_20130906_111547At our first pre-screening of the film, The Graduates, the panelists talked about their experience with mentorship and how it has affected their lives. Listening to the conversation has led me to reflect on my life and experiences and the role that mentorship has played in all of it. As a Latina and first generation college graduate who has been working at the Forum for the past year, I cannot express enough how grateful I am for all of the hands-on experience granted to me on this journey. I have learned just how valuable and important mentorship really is.

Growing up, I lived in a community that often lacked the necessary resources to gain a quality education and to live comfortably with a single mother and five siblings. My determination, work ethic, and will power are all great contributors to my success, but I truly would not be where I am today without the people who guided me and continue to motivate me along the way. My middle school teachers, my three moms, my counselors, my peers, and my co-workers are my mentors. They have helped mold my being and their diverse support has helped me accomplish many of my goals.

I matured at a very young age and had a complicated, disturbing episode in life during my teenage years. While I worked hard to make the best of my situation, my middle school teachers reminded me all the time of how smart I am. They would always say I had a big heart and great potential. My moms taught me how to be a young professional. They pushed me to reach my full potential and by doing so, I attended the number one public high school in Detroit which is Cass Technical High School. They encouraged me to get involved in my community and to find ways to become a well-rounded person. My counselors helped me cope with my anger and sadness. They also helped me understand that everything happens for a reason. My peers have been by my side through the good and bad times. They have opened their arms to comfort me and their families have made me a family member too. My sorority sisters have taught me all about community service, academic excellence, professionalism, event planning, and leadership. My co-workers, especially those at the National Forum have heavily educated me more about my interests in social work and higher education. Here, I have been given the opportunity to put into action the knowledge and skills I gained during my time as an undergraduate student. In a matter of two months, I have been able to combine my bachelor degrees with my passions and serve underrepresented and under served communities. 1402251_10102746301297006_1934062262_o

With that said, I want to put emphasis on the importance of all youth having mentors, positive role models, and strong foundations in their lives to be able to succeed like we expect them to. I am especially passionate about helping at-risk youth and their families with getting the resources they need to self-improve and I also believe that we, outside of their homes, are responsible for their success as well. So, how can we help?

We need to be aware that we do not have to take drastic measures to contribute to the well-being of others. We can help by simply doing our jobs right all of the time and for the good of all people. We can help by being positive and influential family members. We can help by being mentors.
I am practicing this belief in my professional and personal life on a daily basis. I am thanking my mentors by passing on the knowledge they gave me. Professionally, I am teaching my peers who are still undergraduate students how to improve their writing, public speaking, and event planning skills. I guide my sorority sisters to learn about and practice professionalism. Personally, I have created a path to higher education and success for my siblings, nieces and nephews. I mentor young girls by helping them stay focused in school and improve their self-confidence and self-respect.

577942_10151355895406660_138095323_nIn reflecting on mentorship and the pre-screenings of The Graduates, I have begun to plan the next steps to further and positively influence my community. Making time to do what I love has allowed me to not think of participating in mentorship as a responsibility. It is a blessing and a privilege to be able to be mentored and to mentor others on the path to greatness.