Celebrating Mentors during National Mentoring Month

How both mentors and kids grow together with Classroom Champions

Joey Duck
Classroom Champions
4 min readJan 23, 2023

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Think back to your childhood — who was someone who inspired or influenced you? Would you call them a mentor? From family members to teachers to superstar athletes, children are exposed to a range of social identities and quite often, one of these individuals will make an imprint on their hearts and minds. Such is the role of a mentor — someone who can provide trusted guidance over time in hopes of helping a mentee further develop and dream big.

Image source: Octo.us

But what about the mentors themselves? What do they gain out of such a relationship? What impact does mentoring have on them? In honor of National Mentoring Month, we asked Classroom Champions Athlete Mentor and 2x Olympian in Skeleton, Jane Channell.

Read more about Jane Channell

What made you choose to become a Classroom Champions Athlete Mentor?

I had helped my teammate film his videos for the Classroom Champions SEL Curriculum and asked more about the program. After hearing the impact it had on him, I wanted to join and be apart of it all!

What do you love about being an Athlete Mentor?

I love being an Athlete Mentor because I get to share some of the things I’ve learned and lessons with my classes. They can hopefully learn or take away something from me and I also get to learn from them! Knowing my classes are always there for me and rooting for me to do my best, regardless of the outcome is amazing. They motivate me when times are tough and help keep me grounded.

Did you have a mentor when you were in school and how did they impact your life?

I did have a mentor when I was in school — it was my cousin. Seeing how hard she worked to play basketball despite her being one of the smallest on the team, showed me that it’s the effort you put into something that truly matters.

This mindset not only helped me excel in sports but also in school and beyond into job and workplace.

What’s one of your favorite memories from being a Classroom Champions Athlete Mentor?

One of my favorite memories is back in my first year being an Athlete Mentor, when I surprised my classroom with a visit. We had already had our last virtual chat of the year and the students had no idea I was coming to see them! I worked with the Classroom Champions staff and the teachers to plan this surprise, and it was incredible! It was so much fun walking in seeing them speechless. Some cried from being so excited!! The hugs and comments of, “You really ARE real!” or “I never thought I’d ever get to meet you!” These are core memories that I feel so fortunate to have, and I hope they are memories that my Classroom Champions will also have forever — it’s all thanks to Classroom Champions. They’re such an amazing organization that creates true connections where life lessons can be shared and learned.

This January, we celebrate National Mentoring Month, and the fruitful relationships between mentors and mentees. As you can see, the growth and support goes both ways! Classroom Champions’ teachers talk about their mentors as their teaching partners and — quite endearingly — students refer to their mentors as their friends.

Jane‘s mentoring story is just one of the many such heartwarming bonds developed with Classroom Champions. With over 250 volunteer athlete mentors connected to schools and teachers throughout North America, we are proud to have amazing impact data to share:

If you’re interested in becoming an Athlete Mentor at Classroom Champions to work with kids in classrooms across North America, please get in touch — we would love to chat with you! Congratulations and THANK YOU to all the mentors supporting our children.

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Joey Duck
Classroom Champions

Joey is a former British track & field athlete who now works for Classroom Champions as Marketing Coordinator.