Partnership ramps up young professional mentoring program

Be A Mentor has five programs throughout the Lowcountry.   File photo

Young professionals in the Lowcountry will be encouraged to involve themselves in mentoring to school children as part of a ramped-up partnership between budding business leaders and a nonprofit involved in developing future leaders.

This partnership, between the Charleston Young Professionals (CYP), a division of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the Be A Mentor organization, has been in place for just over two years.

But the announcement this year of various programs was to bring more awareness to the initiative, CYP director Erica Wright told Palmetto Business Daily.

“We started this in January during National Mentoring Month,” Wright said. “We have had a partnership for about two years but we wanted to bring more awareness and get those young professionals involved.”

Wright said all those professionals, who will hold weekly meetings in schools across the region, are volunteers who want to give back, as many were given support and guidance by others as they developed their careers.

The thinking behind developing the program is to ensure the best talent is retained in a rapidly evolving global economy. In such a future the race for talent will be increasingly competitive, and future generations need to be adequately prepared for career opportunities, a joint news release issued by the CYP and Be A Mentor said.

Be A Mentor has five programs throughout the Lowcountry: 

***The Lunch Buddies program is for in-school mentoring of elementary children and aims to promote positive social and emotional development.

***Project Shine focuses on career exploration, academic success and teaches the importance of setting and reaching goals at the middle school grade levels.

***The Career Path program matches mentors with high school students interested in similar professions.

***Basics Boosters matches adult tutors with students to improve their academic skills in fundamental subjects, and

***The Academic Mentoring program is in partnership with the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) and matches mentors with youth living in residence at CYDC to offer academic support as well as life mentoring.

Essentially, the CYP’s job will be to help match these programs with mentors.

"We are excited and proud to partner with CYP and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring in our community," Eileen Burkhardt, executive director of Be A Mentor, said. "There are so many at-risk kids right here in the Lowcountry that just need to know someone believes in them and through our programs at Be A Mentor, we're able to connect them with positive, caring adults who will help prepare them for a successful future."

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