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Helping Young People Find Their SPARK


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This presentation was delivered on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, as part of the free monthly webinar series of Friends for Youth's Mentoring Institute.

Research by the Search Institute has uncovered a way to start or strengthen relationships by helping young people find their spark - unleashing their energy and joy and helping them find focus. When young people, supported by one or more caring adults, are able to identify, explore, and develop their spark, research indicates that they are more likely to engage in thriving behaviors and less likely to experience several negative outcomes. Mentors can deepen their relationships with their mentees through a focus on spark. In this webinar, we will present relevant research, view young people talking about their sparks and the ”spark champions” in their lives, and explore resources designed to be used in mentoring relationships. This session was also offered at our 12th Annual Mentoring Conference, Share What You Know, in January 2011 <http: />.

Frequent collaborator and Director of Training & Community Partnerships at the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota, April Riordan will be leading this webinar.

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Helping Young People Find Their SPARK

  1. 1. Transforming lives through the power of mentoring
  2. 2. Webinar Logistics: Adding Comments•  All attendees muted for best sound•  Type questions and comments in the question box; responses will either be direct to you or shared with all attendees•  “Raise your hand” to be unmuted at end to ask question live during webinar •  Works best for telephone or headset-to-computer connections •  Please monitor background noise
  3. 3. Panelists April Riordan Director of Training & Partnerships Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota
  4. 4. Slides posted toSlideShareRecording of webinar willbe posted to and brief surveyincluded in follow-up email
  5. 5. Building Deep and SustainedRelationships with Young People 5
  6. 6. Mentoring Partnership of MinnesotaMPM IS THE DRIVING FORCEIN THE MENTORINGMOVEMENT IN MINNESOTA.WE BRING TOGETHERDIVERSE INDIVIDUALS ANDORGANIZATIONS AROUNDTWO STRATEGIC GOALS:• MPM will Increase QualityMentoring in Minnesota• MPM is the Leading Champion ofQuality Mentoring AcrossMinnesota 6
  7. 7. BoundariesSupport and Expectations ConstructiveEmpowerment Use of Time 7
  8. 8. Commitment Social Competenciesto Learning Positive Values Positive Identity 8
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  12. 12.   Gallup Poll of 2,000 12 to 17-year-olds and 2,000 of their parents  Online Poll conducted by Louis Harris polling firm with 1,000 11 to 17-year-olds  Interviews with 405 teens, ages 15-17  Continued assessment in individual communities 12
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  14. 14. More likely to: Less likely to:  Have a sense of   Experience purpose depression  Be socially competent   Engage in acts of & physically healthy violence toward  Volunteer to help others others  Have higher grades & better attendance 14
  15. 15.   Athletics  Creative arts  Nature, ecology, the environment  Learning a subject matter like science or history  Helping, serving, volunteering  Leading  Spirituality or religion  Reading  Committed to living in a specific way (with joy, passion, caring, etc.)  Animal welfare 15
  16. 16. 31% do not Say They Do NOT Have a Spark Say They HAVE a Spark69% have a Spark 16
  17. 17. Percentage of teenagerswho understand and seek 100% spark Percentage who can 62% clearly name their spark Percentage with spark 37% and spark champions 17
  18. 18. 1.  What is your spark?2.  When and where do you show your spark?3.  Who knows your spark?4.  Who helps support your spark?5.  What gets in your way?6.  How can I help?7.  How can you use your spark to make our world better? 18
  19. 19. Build longer, stronger relationships •  Focus on what is strong not what is wrong •  Pay attention to what mentees would like for themselves – not just what we think they need •  Teach and model skills to help young people carry their baggage better 19
  20. 20.   My mentee’s spark is singing. She is 15 and her only career goal right now is to become a famous singer… However, she can’t carry a tune at all! 20
  21. 21.   Affirm the spark  Encourage its expression  Model the spark  Provide opportunities to express it  Run interference and help eliminate obstacles  Teach or mentor  Show up (at recitals, games, performances, play, reading, contests) 21
  22. 22.   I’m having a hard time connecting with my mentee. We don’t seem to have anything to talk about and he doesn’t share any ideas with me about things he would like to do when we are together. 22
  23. 23.   Watch for signs of sparks - “You really seem to enjoy…”  Share your own sparks - “When I was your age, I was passionate about…”  Ask open-ended questions, and then listen “What do you think your spark is?” 23
  24. 24.   I love running and was so excited to share my spark with my mentee. But when we get together to go jogging, she complains and says she hates running. How can I help her? I really want her to feel what I feel while running! 24
  25. 25.   Sparks can change over time  Young people need multiple champions; some to cheer, some to teach  Expect “ups and downs” in the conversations  A skill is not automatically a spark  Our spark may not be our work 25
  26. 26.   Sparks: How Parents Can Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers by Peter L Benson Download more resources Youth-oriented resources based on Search Institute’s work Search Institute’s web site and on-line catalog Tons of useful resources for parents 26
  27. 27. Slides posted toSlideShareRecording of webinar willbe posted to and brief surveyincluded in follow-up email
  28. 28. •  Tuesday, July 26 Coming Together Across Cultures: Intentional Relationship Building with Sarah Kremer
  29. 29. 650-559-0200