Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Make time to mentor a girl

A good post is worth repeating!  I had the opportunity to talk with local author/mentor Paula Dirkes about the importance of mentoring girls for the Oakland/Macomb NOW blog, but I want my audience to see it too:

Paula Dirkes knows that the concept of being a “mentor” is scary for many people, but she also knows first-hand that it can be the basis for a fulfilling and meaningful relationship that can change lives – especially for women and girls.  

Paula Dirkes talks about the importance of mentoring girls, how to get involved, and how she incorporated mentoring into her busy life:


Dirkes has written a book, out this week, titled “Mentor Me! The Complete Guide for Women who want to Mentor Girls.” Her coauthor is her mentee of over a decade, Chelsea McKinney, who is now 22 years old and a student at Michigan Career Technical Institute.

What she hopes to convey is that it doesn’t take a superhero to be a mentor, and it’s something that can be accomplished within the constraints of a busy life.

Dirkes was matched with McKinney through Oakland County Youth Assistance when McKinney was a fifth grader.  When their relationship first began, “I thought I had to be the solver of all problems, it freaked me out,” Dirkes said.

But she soon came to discover, “You’re not the fixer or the changer, “you’re just there.  You’re a partner, in some cases a listener, a buddy, a friend.”

What young women mentees want, Dirkes says, is someone who will “show up on a regular basis and listen.”

They might view a mentor as “an adult friend that’s supportive and reliable, dependable and respects what you have to say.”

Dirkes wants to encourage other women to take up the mentoring torch.  She wrote the book as a guide for her target audience, “busy women,” like herself.  Dirkes is the owner of Solid Pathways Consulting, LLC  based in Berkley, Mich.  

“I want to invite the busy women of the world to take on the task of mentoring a girl, and the whole idea is that you incorporate that child into your existing routine,” Dirkes said.

After all, Dirkes says, “If you want something done, give it to a busy woman.”

In conjunction with her book launch, Dirkes will host a mentoring appreciation event Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012  from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Unity Church, 11200 E. Eleven Mile Road in Warren, Mich.  The event is free and will include networking, mentor/mentee success stories, giveaways, light refreshments, mentoring resources and book signing.  To RSVP, email mentormebooklaunch@gmail.com by Monday, Jan. 16.

Related links: 

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's resolutions for every woman to make now

Welcome to 2012!

To make resolutions or not to make resolutions, that's always the annual question.  Yet, January is a great time to set goals and take stock of our lives and goals.

Here's a handful of resolutions every woman should make right now.  They are guaranteed easy to keep and can make a tremendous difference in your life, and in the lives of others:
  1. Vote!  We waited far too long for the right to vote, so don't take it for granted.  Don't wait for the registration deadline -- October 9 here in Michigan -- and take a chance on missing it.   Make sure you are registered nowRock the Vote can help.  If your going to be out of town or away at school, make arrangements to get an absentee ballot ahead of time. 
  2.  Mentor a girl.  January is National Mentoring Month.  Local author Paula Dirkes has written a book titled "Mentor Me! The Complete Guide for Women Who Want to Mentor Girls."  She also has offers suggestions on her website.
  3. Read more.  It's one of the easiest ways to push your boundaries.  Try a different genre of fiction or a different point of view.
  4. Support other women.  We don't do it enough and it seriously holds us back.  It can be as simple as liking a post on Facebook, following a blog, joining a cause, making a phone call or writing a personal note.
  5. Wear red for heart health.  My personal mission is to make the read dress as recognizable as the pink ribbon.  Heart disease is the number one killer of women.  National Wear Red Day is February 3, but you don't have to wait to learn what you can do to protect yourself and the women you love. Check out this video from the Ministrelli Women's Hearth Health Center:
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