With the holiday season in full swing, and perhaps a wee bit of free time (said in my best Irish accent). Have you considered devoting a few hours of your holiday reprieve to guiding and shaping younger or less experienced individuals who are also blind or low vision? Perhaps it’s time to reach out and provide encouragement and counsel as they navigate career pursuits, educational choices, and valuable experiences.
A few resources to support you:
- The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision shares their Employment Mentoring Manual, a resource for consumers and service providers who are interested in looking for a mentor and/or starting a mentoring program.
- In Mentorship multiplies: Mentoring benefits everyone and inspires future mentors, Amy Lynn Smith shares specific programs to help you connect with mentees who are blind or low vision.
- In 13 Tips for Working with a Mentor, Joe Strechay defines the mentor relationship and encourages individuals to take advantage of virtual platforms to establish relationships.
- In Paying It Forward as a Visually Impaired Mentor, Steve Cardenas reflects on the value of mentors in his life and encourages others to “be a shining example for someone else to understand quality of life can be good despite vision loss.”
- In Barbara Corcoran’s Recommendation for Finding a Mentor, I share the Shark Tank star and real estate tycoon’s advice regarding mentorship: it can be a two way street. Consider providing mentorship in an area of expertise and asking for mentorship in an area of the mentee’s area of expertise. For instance, you may share business expertise and your “mentee” may share social media expertise with you.
- In So You Think You Can Dance? I Mean, Mentor? Yes, You Can. Here’s How., I share tips for leading the mentorship with grace, humility, and confidence. Because even if the responsibility of the mentorship technically falls on the mentee, the mentor can direct conversations and support the mentee.
- In Six Guidelines for Establishing an Effective, Healthy Mentorship, I discuss boundaries for a healthy mentorship.
You are shaping the future when you choose to mentor. Consider with me the STEM field alone. Research suggests a link between individuals who are blind or low vision working in STEM fields and early mentoring experiences in science, technology, engineering and math.
Happy holidays and happy mentoring!