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The gift of mentoring

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” 
Benjamin Franklin

A few weeks ago my friend, Alexandra invited me and a few of her inspiring friends, to a very special lunch. The purpose was not to catch up, but rather in a mentoring role. Alexandra has been involved with a local school here in LA,  a place where barriers crumble and community grows. Students from all walks of life come together in this unique school to learn, thrive and grow.

Alexandra spoke to the school’s principal and asked for ways she could support the school and out of that conversation came this age-old and brilliant idea of real conversations with mentors. Something so simple, so perfect and truly missing in our busy lives.

The guest list of mentors included; our wonderful hostess and Friends With Causes Founder, a very inspiring Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker, a super hip successful interior designer,  and myself. We were asked to come armed with questions for these young ladies and to be ready to answer some as well.

None of us knew one another, and yet we were all there to learn and that in itself created a beautiful beginning for conversation. Our discussions ranged from prom dresses, to college, to boys, failures, careers, following your passion and my favorite question, “Who do you think you mentor or inspire?” From that question alone we learned about one girl’s experience with foster care, another who mentored after school at the Boys and Girls Club, another’s younger siblings….but more than that, you saw these girls (young and old) shift in the thought that someone looks up to them.

We all mentor someone, whether we realize it or not. Ask yourself whose life you inspire? I think you will find your self surprised and smiling too. That is the gift of mentoring, you always get so much more than you give.

 

Charity Matters.

 

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SOS Outreach

arn menconi sos outreachSince this week finds me in Colorado looking at colleges and making a few glorious turns on that magical white powder I wanted to share the amazing story of one snow boarder who has created change for thousands of underserved kids. Yes, even snow borders can create more than turns.

His name is Arn Menconi and he grew up in a poor neighborhood in Chicago’s south side in the 1960’s. A trip to Colorado with high school ski club changed everything.  In 1991, Arn moved to Vail, Colorado and decided to replicate his experience for other underserved children by using skiing and snow boarding as the “carrot” to get them going.

In 1993, what started as a way to get underprivileged kids to see the mountaintop turned into a non-profit called SOS Outreach. A non-profit that is much more than skiing and snow boarding but really core values training and mentoring, with a little winter fun mixed in.

SOS teaches courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and compassion.  The goal is to keep kids in year-round, multi-year outdoor programs with service projects, peer mentoring, and leadership workshops.

Today SOS Outreach, is the country’s largest winter sports based youth developmental agency teaching over 5,000 kids each year at 30 ski resorts with 500 adult volunteers in 15 states.

Arn told Mountain Online, “I started SOS because I saw injustice and wanted kids to have fun. What matters is that something is happening that positively affects the lives of kids growing up in neighborhoods like the South Side, where decades of crime and poverty make it seem like there’s no way out; like there are no mountaintops.”

You don’t need to be a skier or a snow boarder to create change, but simply someone with a passion who cares.  Goodness is everywhere and each encounter I have with a snowboarder this week will remind me that Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2013 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.