Special thanks to JPMorgan Chase & Co. for their generous funding of this project and for their programmatic interest in helping young people find purpose in life and the passion to pursue their dreams. MENTOR thanks you for your partnership in this work.
Social work with youth, Mentoring -- Evaluation, Mentoring -- Research
We can all benefit from purpose— an intention that supports our engagement in activities, causes, or contributions that invigorate us, get us planning ahead, and thinking beyond ourselves. Some people experience a plethora of purpose—a mindset that reinforces their engagement in a range of meaningful experiences while contributing to others— while many others have never, or only occasionally, identified or experienced opportunities to explore purpose. Wherever you happen to be on this spectrum, you found your way to this resource because you care about young people. And as a caring adult, you can tend to both individual and communal wellness by helping young people connect to and explore their purpose.
Throughout this material you will find references to several worksheets designed to help integrate awareness of your own purpose journey, so you are better positioned to stand alongside young people on a similar journey. This material is intended as an iterative workbook, something you can come back to over time instead of reading quickly, cover to cover. Most of these worksheets are designed for your reflection, though, wherever possible, an asterisk and footnote within the worksheet indicate how you can also adapt the information to use in direct interactions with young people. If you are hoping for a step-by-step checklist to nurture yours or others’ sense of purpose, you won’t find it here— supporting young people in attunement with what makes them who they uniquely are is necessarily continual, messy, and personal work.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Perry, Meghan, "The Mentor's Guide to Youth Purpose: The Art of Helping a Young Person Find Meaning, a Sense of Self, and Ways of Giving Back to their World" (2019). School of Social Work Faculty Publications and Presentations. 578.