Mentoring to succeed

At a time when many young people are looking to find their footing, mentoring is seen as essential. Brands are increasingly becoming aware that it’s essential for them as well. Mentorships serve as a two-way street in which brands share the guidance and motivation that Gen Z need, while Gen Z share their tech savviness, relevance and cultural and social perspective that brands need. Unfortunately, available mentorships have declined despite greater than ever demand among younger generations as evidenced by 2.2B views for #mentor on TikTok and even looking to Chat GPT to fill the mentorship gap. Today, we’re spotlighting local mentoring resources that are creating meaningful opportunities for today's emerging workforce.


What started out as an MBA project idea for founder and executive director Nicki Hangsleben, specifically for LGBTQ+ youth in Minnesota, QUEERSPACE collective is now a growing mentorship program that creates space for LGBTQ+ youth to feel safe and empowered to be their true selves. The free program matches Twin Cities area LGBTQ+ youth with LGBTQ+ adults for connection and support through meetups two to three times per month. Many queer and trans kids have very few LGBTQ adults in their life, which can be isolating and discouraging. QUEERSPACE seeks to fill that gap.


Founded by five friends who saw that Asian American youth lacked the support they needed to thrive, Apex for Youth launched to empower underserved Asian and immigrant youth from low-income families in NYC. Its mentor program addresses middle and high school students' personal, educational, and social needs to develop confidence in their self-identity, navigate relationships, manage stress, and plan for their future to play an active role in their communities.


Friendtorship brings together Portland State University art and design students and local middle and high school students to collaborate on creative projects, build strong relationships, and have fun. As presented in Cassandra's The Great Re-port on Work report, and recognizing ‘friendtorships’ in the workplace are on the rise, the program aims to increase access to design and arts learning for underserved students, empowering them to engage in experiential creative processes that better themselves and their communities. The personal relationships that develop between the university and students is fundamental to the active engagement that drives the program.