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How Can Mentoring Help Combat Loneliness?

Updated: Mar 28

Mentoring is a solution to combat loneliness in youth and adults. Bolder Options provides a nurturing environment for volunteers and the youth we serve so they can build strong relationships. 

In May 2023, United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy emphasized the prevalence of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in the country. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half of adults disclosed experiencing high levels of loneliness. This disconnection in relationships has adverse effects on mental and physical health, including anxiety, depression, and physical decline. Studies suggest that lacking social connections could pose a mortality risk equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! We know that the loneliness epidemic impacts both adults and young adults alike. 

Despite the alarming prevalence of loneliness, there are strategies to address it. Establishing strong relationships where individuals feel heard and valued is crucial. Finding a community where one feels safe and a sense of belonging can help alleviate loneliness.

Young people greatly benefit from having a connection with a positive adult in their lives as well. Positive relationships with adults act as a protective shield against negative events and challenges that may arise. The skills acquired in building and nurturing such positive connections with adults are invaluable and will stay with youth throughout their lives. These bonds not only offer support and guidance but also provide essential life lessons and experiences that contribute to their growth and well-being. The impact of a positive adult figure extends far beyond the immediate relationship, shaping the youth's outlook on relationships and influencing their ability to form healthy connections in the future.

Learn More about how mentoring combats loneliness in these two articles that were featured in The Chronical of Evidence-Based Mentoring :

Bolder Options mentors also receive the benefits from volunteering and building relationships.  Mentors receive training, support, engaging activities, and a sense of belonging. Mentors are carefully paired with youth based on shared interests, proximity, and compatibility. They receive guidance from staff and regular check-ins. Monthly gatherings provide mentors with the chance to connect with others, share experiences, and foster relationships. Pairs have opportunities to participate in various events like art classes, cooking sessions, and cultural and sporting events, with each pair receiving a gym membership.

Many mentors at Bolder Options express the positive impact of the community within the organization. The mentorship program is viewed as a community where mentors feel they belong, supported by the program staff who offer guidance, backing, and fun opportunities to cultivate healthy connections with mentees. Previous mentors have shared their thoughts on how mentoring influenced their lives:

"I joined the program to feel more connected to the city I was living in, and we, together, accomplished that." -Emily, Mentor

"The relationship with my mentee was amazing and it came along with a whole community." - April, Mentor

"It takes a unique and selfless individual to volunteer to be a mentor and because of that, some of my best and closest friends to this day are people I met through Bolder Options" - Ryan, Mentor

Creating a connected life starts with everyday decisions. It takes courage to become a mentor.  Cultivating connections, forming relationships, stepping out of comfort zones, and embracing vulnerability are all essential components in combating loneliness and fostering a sense of belonging and connection. Join our family at Bolder Options by becoming a mentor -  building relationships is our focus.

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