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Mentoring Makes a Positive Impact that Leaves a Legacy in the Lives of Others

Retired and want to leave an enduring legacy that shapes the lives of others? Be a mentor. But what does it take? Marc Freedman, in the New York Times article, “Want to Leave a Legacy? Be a Mentor,” by Jane Brody,  summed up mentoring as, “Being consistent and listening. You don’t have to be a charismatic superhero. You don’t need an advanced degree. It’s more about the relationship than imparting sage advice. The key is not being interesting. The real key is being interested — being present and paying attention.”

Catholic Charities of New York provides mentorship opportunities in its affiliated agencies such as Bigs and Littles NYC, (formerly Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers). Bigs and Littles NYC mentorship programs address challenges facing youth living in New York City’s low income neighborhood by providing one-to-one community based mentoring services that are supported by skilled learning programs.

Mr. Freedman points to a vast untapped resource of mentors in this country that could be deployed, to the mutual benefit of mentor and mentee. All it takes is getting the two together, a task made more challenging by the growing segregation of older adults in senior citizen communities devoid of children.

“Older people are uniquely suited for a mentoring role,” he said in an interview. “The critical skills for nurturing relationships — emotional regulation and empathy — blossom as we age.” And, of course, those who are retired also have more time to devote to younger people, be they grandchildren, neighbors or strangers.

Read more about legacies through mentoring in The New York Times. Learn more how you can make a difference at Bigs and Littles NYC in the Catholic Charities Blog, “Bigs and Littles NYC Mentoring Intervene to Help Bullied Siblings.