2017 was the year many of us broke free, made momentum, and defined new trends of success within our families and our spheres of influence. When I look back from this new space I occupy this year, I realize that I’m grateful for the struggles I’ve endured because they’ve led me to appreciate my successes in ways that I never would have if I didn’t have obstacles to overcome. I’m sure you can say the same. Looking around at the women I call friends, I’m amazed at the accomplishments we’ve made. Some graduated as first generation college students. Some kicked addictions. Some stepped out on faith and opened new businesses, and others decided to persist until they saw their first six figure salary or a doctorate in hand.
What did you accomplish? I dare you to identify one thing you overcame, one success that surprised you, one moment that you questioned would ever come. Titus 2:4-5 encourages us to mentor others as women of God, and even though we’ve all found talking about our accomplishments to be rewarding, I’ve found that talking about who you’ve brought along to learn from your accomplishments is even more rewarding. Mentorship spreads hope and makes the accomplishments we achieve appear even more attainable in the eyes of those who lead lives much like our younger selves.
November 2017 brought news that shocked many of us across the world with the revelation that slave auctions in Libya are still active today, and many were shaken because the new knowledge brought a sense of hopelessness for how to fix the problem along with it for the average person. Would you be surprised to know that slavery is alive and active in the United States as well? Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, in which perpetrators use force, fraud, or coercion to manipulate and establish control over individuals who are exploited for profit. Here in Las Vegas, I meet girls and women who have been recruited, coerced, and forced into selling their bodies from small towns throughout the United States and beyond, and it’s scary to realize that modern day slavery has the potential to affect the women we call daughter, sister, niece, friend.
Lenore Jean-Baptiste is the Project Coordinator for Power ON!, a program in Las Vegas that provides youth that have been sex trafficked or are at high-risk to sex trafficking, mentorship by pairing them with community trained mentors. Lenore notes:
“Anyone that is trying to reach any level of success needs a mentor because mentors are the bridges to an individual’s next phase in life…Mentorship is vital to the community because it serves as an intervention piece that empowers a youth that has a life filled with problems, to living a life filled with promise.”
In honor of Anti Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Mentoring Awareness Month this January, let’s choose to mentor a younger sister(s) in our communities by consistently visiting a school to provide assistance, volunteering in a mentorship program, connecting with the youth in your church, or incorporating an internship program in your business. Mentoring matters. After all, could you imagine the possibilities that now define your life had it not been for someone that spoke into you, listened to you, or showed you the way during your time in need? Choose to pay it forward. Become the mentor you needed when you were in high school, when you nursed addictions, when you wondered if you would ever pay the bills. It matters. The quality of our world and the next generation of leaders depend on it.