When I think about the value of intergenerational mentoring and how it can help shape a different future, I really couldn’t express its potential better than Marc Freedman, Founder of encore.org in USA.
Mentoring brings us together – across generation, class, and often race – in a manner that forces us to acknowledge our interdependence, to appreciate, in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, that ‘we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny.’
In this way, mentoring enables us to participate in the essential but unfinished drama of reinventing community, while reaffirming that there is an important role for each of us in it.
-- Marc Freedman (Founder/CEO Encore.org)
Recently I was MC for the intergenerational panel as part of the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) Unleashed Festival . The panel explored intergenerational collaboration and how we can benefit from connection, learning and sharing across the generations.
A lot it seems. One of the things that struck me from the conversation is the desire of elders to want to inspire, support and encourage young people on their journeys. Equally young people expressed the desire to have a sounding board, someone to trust and speak with confidentially. To be guided by someone who can give reassurances and share wisdom developed through years of experience.
And it also goes the other way. Young people mentoring older people is a growing opportunity. The rapid growth in entrepreneurship, is fastest amongst people aged 55 and above, who would benefit from the perspective, insight and wisdom of youn people.
Older people are seeing the value of having a young mentor. As Jane Owen, FYA’s CEO says “I think anyone over 40 would be crazy not to have a mentor under 30 these days” (Dumbo Feather #42)
I believe intergenerational mentoring is hugely valuable for both mentor and mentee. I’ve personally had great older mentors and more recently I have loved the mentoring from people younger than me. I have also been a mentor to people younger and older than myself. Each of these relationships can be characterised as being “thriving” in that, regardless of being the mentor or mentee, we both learned, gained insight, build empathy and found solutions.
So while there are clearly benefits to mentoring, one of the challenges people seem to experience, is being able to find the right mentor. I am therefore exploring the opportunity to create a service where that helps mentors and mentees easily find and connect with each other, regardless of location or previous connection.
I'd love to understand your perspectives on mentoring and how we can best design a service that helps you find the right mentor and mentee to work with. We know you're busy, so we would really appreciate it if you could take 10-12 minutes to complete our survey.