While many will say that mentoring should only be done by some one of the same race because children need to learn about their cultures I think that the important thing is that the child be given the opportunity to get something they otherwise would not have access to. I raised three children alone, one of them was a son, he was lucky enough to have a grandfather who was willing to do the “man” things with him.
Boys need the influence of a man in their lives, girls need the influence of a women. If for whatever reason they can not get that influence at home then they can turn to a mentor. You do not need to be of the same race to teach a boy how to fish or play baseball, or to teach a girl how to sew or make cookies. Children for the most part don’t see race, they see an adult who is willing to take the time to do things that the child wants to do.
Learning about cultures is important because the more we learn about others the more tolerant we become. Why should this make a difference on mentoring? If the child being mentored is a different race from the mentor, why can’t they teach each other about their respective cultures?
If the child has no one at home to teach him/her about his/her culture than the mentor could set aside some time for both of them to learn. How you ask. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Libraries. A wonderful source of information. The bigger the library the more information available.
2. Religious leaders. If you live in a community where a child may be paired with a mentor of another race then there is a good chance that the community has at least one church in which the congregation is the same race as the child.
3. The elderly. Many elderly people are lonely, they would welcome the chance to visit with someone. They also have many things to teach. Let’s face it you can’t live 80+ years without learning something.
4. The internet. If it can’t be found on the world wide web it doesn’t exist.
Whether or not the mentor and the child are the same race is not important. What is important is that the mentor is willing give the child quality time. The job of the mentor is to fill a gap in the child’s life, being willing to learn about the child’s culture and help the child understand that culture will only make the mentoring a better experience. It will show the child that the mentor is interested in what is important to the child.M Any member of any race has the power to make a child feel important. Making a child feel important is a good thing. Mentors are mentoring because they want to do a good thing.