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NIDA. (2016, July 13). Finding Your Yoda: Why Mentors Matter. Retrieved from

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The NIDA Blog Team
July 13 2016
  • In Star Wars—Episode IV: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker is guided in the ways of The Force by the Jedi Master, Obi Wan Kenobi.
  • In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke receives advice from Yoda, another wise elder.
  • In Episode VII: The Force Awakens, a new Star Wars heroine, Rey, is taught how to fly the Millennium Falcon by none other than Han Solo.

See a pattern here? In each of these movies, a young person is helped by an older expert who passes on useful wisdom and experience. An older person like that is known as a mentor. While most kids learn a great deal from their parents, there is a real advantage to also having a mentor outside of your family circle who has a different perspective on navigating the choppy waters of everyday life.

For Luke and Rey, a mentor’s guidance literally saved their lives. In real life, a mentor’s role isn’t always that dramatic, but it can still make a difference.

What’s so great about mentors?

A nationwide study found that having a mentor increases your chances of success and happiness. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSOA) connects young people child with role models and has done research showing that kids with mentors do a lot better in school and in life.

Young people who are mentored have better social skills, better grades, improved family relationships, and more self-confidence compared to those without mentors. Being mentored also increases the likelihood of enrolling in college.

Nine million teens face challenges every day that increase their risk of doing poorly in school, dropping out of school, or using drugs, so having a mentor to help make decisions can be a great benefit. However, many kids don’t know how to find a mentor, and even if they have someone in mind, they may not know how to ask. Keep in mind that most adults would love to be asked to help you achieve your dreams.

So while Yoda himself might not be available, think about finding your own Yoda! They might be as close as your high school gym or classroom, your after-school club, or even a friend’s house. Just think about what adult you admire and who might be able to teach you some valuable lessons about life.

Want to learn more?

President Obama and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors recently teamed up to spread the word on mentoring. (Check out Stephen Curry getting “lessons” in shooting hoops from the President!) They’re having fun while sharing the message that mentors matter.

If you think you might like to have a mentor, talk to your parents about it and ask them to explore the possibility with BBBSOA.