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We are all role models

Posted by Mila Yochum Apr 4, 2011 , , ,

At SWSG we encourage positive behavior and holding girls accountable for their actions.  As volunteers, it’s often hard for mentors confront poor behavior – how do they tell a girl she needs to behave without causing too much anxiety or angst?  We strongly encourage our mentors to talk and listen with the girl.  Mentors remain positive, explain what SWSG is all about, what we expect of and from the girl during program and let her know she can do it.  This is often a challenging task to ask of our volunteer mentors but we know they can do it!

In late February, a mentor had approached me about a girl who started this semester and was disruptive to the mentor group.  It was apparent that her personality caused the other girls to behave poorly, she would talk without regards to others, she would not sit during bios. She was just disruptive.  After providing some guidance, here’s a recent email I wanted to share from a mentor addressing this issue.

“Talking to her was a little hard at first, but I told her everything you told me…That SWSG is optional. I am a volunteer, we are a team, and being a leader and role model is very important to us. Her eyes lit up when I talked about her being a role model to other girls.  It was really, really great to see. She is a leader, but her leadership qualities have been causing problems during mentoring, but I know she can be a great leader for all the girls and all she has to do is be an example of a great girl.

The end of the discussion was a little hard to wrap up because I wanted to make sure we had an agreement before we went back in the room as you had recommended. But we eventually got there. When we first got back into the room everything wasn’t perfect either, but I wasn’t expecting it to. Throughout the rest of the day she was so much better behaved and whenever she did something that was disruptive and mean I would whisper to her…remember good role model? And she would stop that behavior…it was great to see what an impact those words had on her! All of the mentors were like what did you say to her?

Now comes the fun part – maintaining, reinforcing the message and encouraging her to continue this behavior!”

It makes me proud to hear the words from the mentor and to share the story as I know other mentors are experiencing similar challenges.  We know the way to change our girls, build their self-esteem and make a lasting impact is to show the girls we care about them.

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