Empowering youth to identify and respond to community needs not only helps them become empathetic individuals, but sets them on a path to continue this important work in their future. However, youth involvement benefits more than just the youth. The organizations and programs that are developed in partnership with youth will likely be more effective at engaging the community and having a larger impact. Mentorship has also been proven to have significant benefits for both mentors and mentees. Many research studies show while the brain continues to develop throughout childhood and adolescence, the prefrontal cortex, which controls reasoning and regulates emotion, is not yet fully developed. Based on this, children and teens are more likely to act impulsively, get into fights, and engage in risky behaviour. Mentors can act as a positive role model and by sharing their personal experiences and introducing them to new experiences, this can deter youth from making regrettable decisions.
Currently, we are already in the process of reaching our goal. Our team and mentors focus on educating elementary students on different issues surrounding our society. Start Small provides bi-weekly lessons regarding a wide range of topics including society, social justice, equity, and much more. By educating youth, we can help improve mindsets to be much more inclusive and slowly make the world a better place. As a whole, Start Small is stepping up and helping kids grow into well educated teens by teaching them about issues and important topics that will pay a big role in their futures.
At its core, Start Small is a program with 7 high school students that host a volunteering mentorship program that aims to pair elementary students along with motivated student leaders in order to educate them about the issues facing the society of today and create positive change. This is accomplished through bi-weekly sessions where mentors interact with a group of younger elementary students to create a fun and informative experience. During these sessions, the mentors cover pressing topics in order to teach lessons about the society we live in and the problems it is faced with to promote the youth of tomorrow to take action and stand up for what is right. Start Small’s goal is to educate youth and provide them with mentors that they can trust and look up to because the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.