Changing Lives Through Mentorship
Andy Hofmann, a Sears Optical marketing director at Luxottica, is an active participant in the Luxottica Mentoring Program and recently attended the 2014 National Mentoring Summit. His experience at the summit reaffirmed his commitment to mentoring and passion for making a difference in the lives of young people.
Over the past 12 years, I’ve been involved in the Luxottica Mentoring Program as a mentor and recently as a steering committee member. It’s safe to say that one of the prouder moments for me was being present during the 2014 National Mentoring Summit in Washington, DC, and receiving national recognition for our efforts. The award was a great symbol of how much we are changing our community for the better. Since the Luxottica Mentoring Program’s inception, we have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of students. It truly was an honor to be there and celebrate with my Luxottica peers and other advocates who share a commitment to mentoring.
Over the two-day summit, I participated in several workshops and listened to experts on how mentoring can and does make a difference in the lives of our youth. Today in the United States, there are approximately 6.7 million young people that can benefit from having a caring adult in their lives. Studies have proven that with a mentor for at least one year, young people have a 45% chance of achieving post-secondary or vocation education vs. 29% chance without a mentor. When the relationship goes beyond one year, young people are even more likely to continue on to post-secondary education. This data proves that mentoring can change lives.
During my time in the program, I’ve mentored three different students. My experience has taught me that little things—like showing up to mentoring sessions or simply listening to a student and allowing them to share their thoughts—can make a huge impact on a young person’s life. During the National Mentoring Summit kickoff session, Cal Ripken Jr., Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player, shared very simple guidelines for effectively mentoring young adults:
• Earn their trust by being present
• Listening first and then solve the problem with them, not for them
• Hold them accountable when they make mistakes
These principles are how I’ve approached my mentoring relationships over the years and each one has worked very well for me as well as for the other mentors in our program. After attending the summit, I’ve renewed my commitment to mentoring and am excited to see all the ways the Luxottica Mentoring Program will change young people’s lives in the years to come.
For more information about the National Mentoring Summit and our program’s recognition as the “Most Robust and Comprehensive Local Youth Mentoring Program,” read our article detailing the award.