The Value Of Mentoring: Legg Mason Steps Up

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – It has been proven that mentoring can improve a young person’s self-esteem, by guaranteeing a young person that someone cares and they are not alone in dealing with life’s challenges. About 40 percent of a teenager's waking hours are spent without companionship or supervision. A mentor provides teens with a valuable place to spend free time, giving friendship and helping in any number of situations, from homework to improving their mentees’ academic skills. A Public/Private Ventures study of Big Brothers Big Sisters, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has shown that students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52 percent less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37 percent less likely to skip a class. This research involved more than 1,300 youth, drawn from seven programs serving young people in Washington State.

This same study showed that youths who meet regularly with their mentors are 46 percent less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27 percent less likely to start drinking. Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and strengthening communication skills. Importantly they can help young people set career goals and start taking steps to realise them by using their personal contacts to help young people meet industry professionals, find internships and locate job possibilities. Mentoring is a cornerstone of Legg Mason’s community volunteerism initiatives, reflecting the firm’s commitment to education with an emphasis on underserved youth.

The newest class of Legg Mason’s Community Workplace Mentoring Program recently graduated high school with 100 percent of the participants earning their diploma and with many students receiving honorary awards as well. This is the second group of mentees in the Legg Mason program to graduate from high school and the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year class of marks the 6th year of this award-winning program. As each academic year, dedicated Legg Mason employees at the firm’s headquarters location mentor youth from Patterson High School, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake.

Since 2010, Legg Mason volunteers have mentored Patterson students through a structured workplace program once a month and for many Legg Mason mentors, this commitment extends beyond the workplace to mentoring in the community on their own free time. While most of the sessions are held at Legg Mason’s Baltimore location and are focused on building life skills, the students have also had an opportunity to participate in off-site environmental wetland protection projects as well as serving meals at local soup kitchens.  Additionally, some of the mentees have had an opportunity to intern with Legg Mason over the summer, providing students with important professional resume-building experience.  

This Legg Mason initiative is regarded by many in the community as a best practice model and shows that the experience mentored youths gain is greater than those teens without mentors, strongly suggesting that mentoring programs can be beneficial for youths with a broad range of backgrounds and characteristics.

Photo Credit: Legg Mason/3BL Media