Jess was a freshman at a high school in San Antonio, a city that graduates only 50% of their high school students. She was determined to be successful, so she enrolled in an after school mentoring program. She was pushed to build real relationships with people she wouldn’t normally even speak to and to communicate when it was awkward.
The decision paid off for Jess three years later. Her skills and confidence helped her get a job as a sales associate at a nearby company. She became one of the top 200 sales associates in the nation in just 9 months. Jess received a bonus and is now entering the management training program; she is also the youngest one in her store to ever enter the program.
Jess did not have a mentor, Jess was the mentor in a program called Velocity. Jess developed skills and confidence by mentoring middle school students on how to navigate through the challenges of being a teenager. She helped lead and train mentors in the mentoring program that is offered by an organization called Boy With A Ball – San Antonio (BWABSA). The program’s goals are to improve connectedness to the school, friends, family and self, increase graduation rates, increase academic performance, and develop of a model for fighting school desertion in San Antonio.
When we think of volunteering to help someone in need, we think of the unmet needs of the person being helped. Yet the person providing the help has unmet needs as well and are key to making it work. The volunteer may be addressing unmet needs of achieving a sense of purpose or becoming more connected and loved. It could be Bill Gates finding great purpose from his wealth by ensuring all children live past 5 years old at the same rate as children in developed countries. This dual mission of addressing the unmet needs of both the mentor and mentee has become a proven approach for successful organizations. They are improving the lives of the volunteers and achieving their missions by improving the lives of those they serve.
The Mission Continues – founded by former Navy Seal Eric Greiten to help post-9/11 veterans to transform their own lives by serving others and to directly impact their communities. Eric believes “these veterans have hearts large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose.” He also believes these attributes set apart the only 10% that survive the torturous Navy Seal training to become a Navy Seal. (see Service To Other Delivers Success)
Wikipedia – for Wikipedia to achieve its goal to provide free access to the sum of world’s knowledge, founder Jimmy Wales knew he had to address the needs of volunteers like Justin Knapp. The 30 year old pizza delivery man earned advanced degrees in philosophy and political has volunteered his time to make over 1 million edits. Justin enjoys being part of something (purpose), can leverage his talents (competence) and feel connected to others in the Wikipedia community. (see Getting Help Is All About The Supporter)
Meals on Wheels – Kitty Hutchings is a Meals on Wheels volunteer. She is not paid, rather she achieves “purpose” and and feels “connected & loved” through volunteering. Kitty saved the life of 89-year-old Geraldine Feist by notifying authorities when Feist didn’t answer the door one day. Kitty shunned the hero title saying, “I like giving back, the people are so appreciative of getting a meal”. (see 7 Things We Want More Than Money)
Kickstarter – is a site for people to raise money to create products, music or even full length movies. Volunteers donate money to help make these creative ideas happen. It helped Jennifer Redfearn go from imagining her passion leading her to a homeless shelter, to standing on the red carpet as an Academy Award nominee. The volunteer donor’s to Redfearn’s kickstarter campaign must have felt a sense of purpose after seeing the story told of islanders losing their homes to rising seawaters in the film “Sun Come Up”. (see Passion Leads To Red Carpet)
We volunteer as little coaches, donate blood and are care givers to our loved ones. We each have intrinsic human needs (see 7 Things We Want More Than Money) that we can achieve by volunteering to help:
- Connected & Loved
Do someone a favor, discover their unmet intrinsic needs. Then figure out how you can address theirs and yours at the same time. Then do them a favor, let them help you.