Making Your Mark is Made Here Featuring Conroe's Mentorship Opportunities
18 Jan 2022
More Is Made Here, Area Companies
January is National Mentoring Month, a time to celebrate the individuals and organizations who advocate through mentorship. Everyone could use someone in their corner inspiring them to be greater than they are alone. In Conroe, an extensive list of businesses, education and community organizations, and professionals are stepping up to make a difference by opening their world to others. These key advocates show that, in Conroe, Texas, Making Your Mark is Made Here!
Connecting with Students
Conroe Independent School District (CISD) is an influential part of the community and a top school district in Texas. Beyond educating students, CISD has several programs that develop kids into successful future leaders. One such program, Project Mentor, takes a firsthand approach via the help of community members. Project Mentor connects community members with students to foster meaningful relationships that promote positive youth development so that students can successfully navigate school and life.
“The focus and goal of Project Mentor is building a relationship with that student. We serve any student that can benefit from having a positive, consistent, trusted adult investing in them,” said Angela Matthew, Project Mentor Facilitator.
Mentors typically enter the students’ lives in the 4th or 5th grade and remain their mentor through graduation. Currently in its 14th year of operation, Project Mentor serves more than 200 students. The success of the program has positively impacted hundreds of lives, and this type of impact is needed more than ever. According to Matthew, young people with a mentor are 52% less likely to skip a day of school, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities, and 130% more likely to hold a leadership position in a club or sports team.
“Our mentors are people within the community who have a heart to engage and serve kids. Being a kid can be hard, especially nowadays. If students can have as many people on their team as possible, the better off they’ll be,” added Rachel Gentry, Project Mentor Liaison.
With more than 60 students on the waiting list, there is a need for more mentors. If you are interested in Project Mentor, they have an upcoming training on February 16th!
Connecting with Local Businesses
Another key partner in building mentoring relationships, this time at a business-to-business level, is the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber. Through activities like business roundtables and one-on-one coaching sessions, the Chamber facilitates relationships throughout Conroe and Montgomery County to help businesses grow. The Chamber is ramping up mentorship opportunities to match the tremendous growth in the region.
Celebrating 88 years, the Chamber has an incredible amount of history and expertise to lean on. Chamber President Scott Harper says it is important for large businesses to remember that they started small once and that it is critical for those companies to mentor the many small businesses coming to Conroe. This type of relationship helps small businesses flourish and enhances Conroe’s entire economic vitality.
“At the Chamber, we are able to open up our talented business community to bring people together to share stories and experiences,” offered Harper.
The Chamber’s mentorship focus expands beyond business-to-business. The organization is also committed to serving Conroe’s nonprofit organizations and offering mentoring through service. Collaborating with Angel Reach, a Conroe-based nonprofit that works with young adults who have aged out of the foster care system and/or who are homeless, the Chamber and its members are hoping to provide mentorship opportunities. While still in the planning stages, the Chamber is planning on hosting Angel Reach clients for meals and breakout sessions with business leaders and local entrepreneurs to mentor these young adults.
“We’re going to use the resources of our members to better equip Angel Reach clients to tackle life,” added Harper.
Angel Reach also facilitates its own mentorship program that has provided immense benefits to its population. Having a support system outside of Angel Reach is one of the seven indicators of success as part of the transitional living program for young adults, according to Transitional Living Program Director Franchesca Calhoun.
“We know from experience and research that if our population has just one positive person in their life, it will significantly increase their rate of success as independent adults. People truly can do better for themselves when they have the right support,” said Calhoun.
Clients stay with Angel Reach on average of four years. During that time, Angel Reach prioritizes clients becoming independent. Mentors play a very large role in making that happen by introducing young adults to new opportunities and expanding their perception of the world around them. Mentors build trust and rapport with the young adults helping them through obstacles and celebrating successes.
“When a mentorship relationship works well, our clients feel comfortable reaching out to mentors when good stuff happens and especially when not so good stuff happens,” added Calhoun.
Calhoun served as an Angel Reach mentor before joining the staff. Her experience in this volunteer role helped broaden her perspectives and build an even greater appreciation for what mentorship can do for mentors and mentees.
“The people I’ve mentored have expanded my horizons. If we don’t step into the lives of people who don’t look like us or have not experienced life the same way we have, then we never know the beauty in their stories,” said Calhoun. “We need those positive relationships for our clients, but the real blessing is all of us who are allowed to step into their lives. That mindset allows us to provide them the support they need.”
More Local Opportunities
Other organizations playing a key role in mentoring in the Conroe area include:
- CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County
- SCORE Houston
- Montgomery County Association of Business Women
- United Way of Greater Houston Montgomery County Center
The importance of mentoring has never been greater. Conroe is fortunate to have so many associations, businesses, and community leaders stepping up to serve the growing population. By offering time and sharing personal experiences with those who need it, mentors make Conroe a better place to live, conduct business, and truly demonstrate why Making Your Mark is Made Here.