Mentorship Matters: Bridging the Gap Between Experience and Ambition

By Dr. Christina Rahm

by Elliot Derhay

I typically author guest columns relating to scientific research, corporate resilience, and strategic health and wellness – from nutrition and business acumen to detoxing and patent innovation, I try to educate extensively. Fortunately, my skill set is an ever-evolving sphere of learning, developing, reevaluating, and reinventing myself, which helps that educational process.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to enjoy success, while also watching my four children grow to become adults – Duquesne, 27, Preston, 24, Crider, 19, and my adorable daughter, Merritt Ella, who just turned 18. I watch what they accomplish daily, which makes me reflect on where I was at their age, and my life’s experiences that have made me who I am today.

I was lucky. I had amazing parents who provided for me and my siblings, who mentored us, and who pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves, just as I try to do with my children.

Sadly, not everyone has that guidance and support. Not everyone has the mentorship that is needed to develop and progress in this tough, unfortunately divided, and overly stressful world.

I think of this often, and why, through the Rahm Foundation, we have recently added a Mentorship Program for both mentors and mentees looking to grow mentorship communities. In my opinion, this is a perfect solution to celebrate the role models and mentors who have impacted my life, including my parents, grandparents, friends, family members, teachers, professors, and a plethora of colleagues who have supported and helped guide, educate, and mold me.

Our Mentorship Program is based on my unwavering belief in the pursuit of a more equitable world. A large aspect of working for that equality is investing in our children, especially those who are less fortunate. We want to make sure those who long for success can learn from others – disciplines such as how to become successful, and also inspiring, uplifting, and equipping children of all backgrounds to embrace their unique potential, overcome challenges, and achieve their goals.

Our mission also includes teaching the importance of social responsibility and giving back to society. We endeavor to promote inclusiveness by embracing diversity, exploring passions, talents, and interests, and by providing mentees with the tools and guidance necessary to achieve goals while cultivating leadership. Our project seeks to bridge the gap between experience and ambition, while recognizing both mentors and mentees have valuable contributions to offer in this journey of shared growth.

The Rahm Foundation has supported many causes through the years. These include environmental initiatives, educational programs, and social, cultural, and academic empowerment through scholarships. The Foundation has also extended into mental health through Tennessee Voices for Children, which was organized in 1990 by Tipper Gore as a statewide coalition to promote children’s health, behavioral health, and education. We also support The Green Foundation and Captain Planet Foundation for their expansive environmental programs.

We engage in philanthropic work supporting women, children, and broader peace-building efforts through the United Nations Women for Peace Association (UNWFPA). This global nonprofit promotes “tolerance and respect for women” with the primary goal of providing opportunities for access to education, freedom, and protection, along with social, cultural, and academic empowerment programs.

The Foundation has supported students through internships, healthcare, and education, while working to support the mental and physical health of mentors. Through these initiatives, the Foundation strives to promote upward mobility amongst marginalized populations, to better gain equal footing in both education and employment.

I am proud of the Rahm Foundation’s philanthropic accomplishments, though I am mostly proud of “paying it forward” with our Mentorship Program. Without the myriad of special role models and mentors throughout my life, I am not sure I would be the person I am today. Mentors are one of the best investments in our children, and I am thrilled to support such a program.

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