AUG. 6, 2014 - VOL. 49 No. 11

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Mentoring programs aim to guide people at all ages and stages of life, careers

Sioux Falls YPNYoung Professionals Network

A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor; or someone who advises or trains someone else, especially a younger colleague.

Formal mentorship programs can be found across the community, some even within companies. Earlier this year, the Chamber´s Young Professionals Network launched its first YPN Mentoring Program, which was designed to connect YPN members with community leaders.

YPN members submitted applications that included the type of information or knowledge they hoped to gain from their mentor. For the initial mentor program, six community leaders were approached about participating based on the requests of the YPN members. Five groups of six to seven young professionals and a mentor have been meeting since spring. Each group meets on a quarterly basis and discuss topics related to their group´s interests, including: Professional Growth, Business & Networking, Civic & Community Involvement, and Leadership Development.

This YPN pilot program is currently halfway through its initial year, and YPN Manager Lauren Fosheim is pleased with the feedback from both mentors and mentees.


"Young professionals are hungry for success, not only in their professional lives, but in their personal lives as well," Fosheim said. "The YPN mentoring program gives them the opportunity to seek out advice and guidance from a strong community leader early on in their careers, setting them up for success in the years to come – what an invaluable tool!"

The first round will wrap up the end of February, with the next round of applications being
accepted the spring of 2015.

More than three years ago, EmBe partnered with Junior League of Sioux Falls to develop the Women´s Leadership Program to meet the specific needs identified by area women and business and community leaders, said EmBe Director of Women´s Leadership Erin Bosch.

"Research shows that the natural collaborative and relationship-based leadership skills of women are most effective in today´s environment," Bosch said. "Women change and enhance the conversation, bring a nurturing perspective to leading, increase the health and sustainability of their communities and offer solutions to problems at every level."

In addition to showing different leadership styles and opportunities to interact with community leaders, the program pairs participants with women mentors for 12 months. Bosch said the program has received positive feedback from both mentors and protégés (program participants). The EmBe WLP has expanded to Aberdeen and applications are now open for the fourth Sioux Falls class.

"There are so many benefits in expanding networks and relationships," Bosch said. "The knowledge and experiences shared in the relationship are invaluable."

Time is a constant in mentoring relationships, whether formal or informal – it is necessary to make that commitment in order to establish a relationship. The Lutheran Social Services School-Based Mentoring program has hundreds of volunteers who give one hour per week to elementary, middle and high school students across the region. LSS has operated the program at the Sioux Falls public schools since 2001 and area districts were added in 2009.

Leadership Sioux FallsLeadership Sioux Falls

Most mentors meet with their students during the school lunch hour. Mentors and students read, play games or simply eat lunch together. Earlier this year LSS kicked off a campaign calling for "Everyday Heroes," with the goal of growing the mentors who participate in the School-Based Mentoring program by an additional 500 new volunteers by 2017. More than 1,000 students already participate in the program with hundreds on the waiting list. More than 70 local companies employ the mentors who volunteer.

Research has shown the positive effects mentoring has on students. Students have increased self-esteem; improved academic skills, attendance and social development; a greater awareness of the importance of education; a better understanding of trusting relationships; and increased confidence. Businesses also benefit because employees can have an impact on the community.

Perhaps one of the community´s longest-standings programs to grow leaders is the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce´s Leadership Sioux Falls program, which is now accepting applicants for its 29th class.

While not a specific mentoring program, participants are able to connect with community leaders and learn about opportunities to give back to the community and move forward in their careers. The program uses the community as its classroom, with topics changing along with the community. Its greatest strength is the participants.

Many Leadership Sioux Falls graduates go on to serve the community in a number of leadership functions, including being mentors for the YPN Mentorship Program, EmBe Women´s Leadership Program and Lutheran Social Services School Based Mentor Program.

EmBe Women´s Leadership Program
(605) 336-3662
The program is open to women of all ages. The 2015 class will run January-May. The application deadline for the 2015 Women´s Leadership Program is Oct. 15, 2014.

Young Professionals Network Mentorship Program
(605) 336-1620
You must be a YPN member to participate. Details about how to apply for the next mentorship program cycle will be available in late 2014/early 2015.

Leadership Sioux Falls
(605) 336-1620
You must be at least 25 years old and live or work in the Sioux Falls MSA. The program runs October-May.
The application deadline for LSF-29 is Aug. 21, 2014.

LSS School-Based Mentoring
(605) 221-2403
Once the application is received, LSS will process it and complete background checks. Participants can attend a new mentor orientation session and school counselors will match mentors with students.

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