Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? Although January is quickly coming to a close, we at TeenNow California decided to celebrate National Mentoring Month by reminding everyone how important mentors are for youth and for sexual health professionals.
We all know dedicated and long-term staff are essential for creating relationships with youth and for being knowledgeable on what works for teen pregnancy prevention. Yet, in a report by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, HOPE found that a major challenge to Latino teen pregnancy prevention programs was the high turnover rate of staff which resulted in unstable programming. So although long-term and knowledgeable staff are necessary, high turnover rates are still prevalent among sexual health and teen pregnancy professionals.
How can we help combat this high turnover rate, especially among young professionals who are just beginning their careers? Sexual health professionals need mentors for support and guidance in a field that is volatile and often lacking a support system.
Often when we think of mentoring we think of a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” program and forget how essential mentoring can be for aspiring professionals, especially young professionals who may have little support from others or not know anyone within the field. A recent USA Today article also pointed out how hard it can be for young professionals to find support. The article profiled a 21 year-old who had always wanted a mentor but, coming from a family where no one had graduated from college, it was hard for her to find someone to help her with educational and career choices. For young professionals within the sexual health field or youth who are considering entering the field, it can be equally challenging and there are usually few options.
Sexual health education is essential for teens, but teens won’t be able to make informed decisions if they aren’t guided by professionals who are knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated to their position. So if you are a sexual health or teen pregnancy professional, consider reaching out to aspiring professionals and give them the support they need.
So Happy Mentoring Month! Go out there and make an impact on a young professional today!
*TeenNow California is currently in the development stage of a mentoring program for new professionals within the sexual health and teen pregnancy field. We hope to lower the high turnover rate among sexual health professionals by offering them support, mentoring, training, and technical assistance. To learn more about TeenNow California’s programs and services, visit our website.