Important to realize, Youth Mentoring is the process of matching mentors with young people who need or want a caring, responsible adult in their lives.
In fact, adult mentors are usually unrelated to the child or teen and work as volunteers through a community-, school-, or church-based social service program.
Of course, the goal of youth mentoring programs is to improve the well-being of the child. Particularly, by providing a role model that can support the child academically, socially and/or personally.
All in all, this goal can be accomplished through school work, communication, and/or activities. Goals and settings within a mentoring program vary by country because of cultural values.
Although informal mentoring relationships exist, formal, high-quality mentoring matches made through local or state mentoring organizations are often the most effective.
Who is a Youth Mentor?
Simply put, a mentor is an older child or adult who can be a role model for your child.
Mentors spend quality time with a child and offer support, encouragement, and fun.
Kids who have a mentor tend to do better in school and have higher self-esteem.
Beyoncé. Peyton Manning. Mark Zuckerberg. What famous person does your child look up to and admire?
Whoever it is, wouldn’t it be even more powerful if there were a relative or a teacher your child actually knows who could become a role model?
That’s what a mentor is—an older child or adult who encourages and spends quality time with your child.
Types of Youth Mentoring Experts
According to The Encyclopedia of Informal Education, the classic definition of mentoring is of an older experienced guide who is acceptable to the young person. And also, who can help ease the transition to adulthood by a mix of support and challenge.
In this sense, it is a developmental relationship in which the young person is inducted into the world of adulthood.”
There are many types of people who could be good mentors.
Finding the right mentor might take some time. It’s important to find a mentor who’s a good fit for your child.
Below are some youth mentoring experts and people you might want to consider:
- Older kids, especially those with learning and attention issues
- A sports coach, art teacher or music teacher
- A school teacher
- Adults or college students with learning and attention issues (which you may find through an organization like Eye to Eye)
- A neighbor or family friend
- One of your coworkers
- A mentor found through a mentoring organization, etc.
Building a Lasting Youth Mentoring Profile
A mentor can talk to your child about problems that crop up and help set future career goals. Or a mentor and your child might just spend time having fun together.
Having a mentor can raise a child’s self-esteem and lead to better performance at school. It can also make your child less likely to drink alcoholic beverages or use illegal drugs.
It can be especially helpful to have a mentor who also has learning and attention issues.
Your child can talk to the mentor about frustrations and get suggestions from someone who’s dealt with similar challenges.
Some kids are reluctant to reach out for help when they need it. They might be embarrassed about their learning issues.
Having a mentor who’s been there can remove that barrier.
Finding a Perfect Youth Mentor
- Start by considering the people you already know. Think about your child’s interests. Is your child a budding painter? Maybe you know an art teacher or an artist who might make time to go to an art museum or talk about art with your child.
- Try talking one-on-one with a potential mentor first. This way you won’t put the person on the spot in front of your child. Some people may want to be mentors but simply don’t have the time to dedicate.
- Mentoring programs can match your child with a volunteer mentor. Check with your child’s school for recommended mentoring programs in your area.
- Eye to Eye mentors are adults with learning and attention issues. There are also programs that aren’t specific to learning and attention issues, like Big Brothers Big Sisters.
- A mentor is a positive role model for your child. If you’re a single mom, a male mentor can provide a role model of the opposite sex (and vice versa for single dads). It’s one more person who offers support and encouragement for your child. This can help your child do better in school and even raise your child’s self-esteem.
Youth Mentoring Programs Best Practices
Research indicates that the use of specific best practices can be used to improve the mentoring experience.
In the meta-analysis listed above, several best practices were found to increase effect sizes in mentoring programs:
- Monitoring of program implementation
- Screening of prospective mentors
- Matching of mentors and youth on the basis of one or more relevant criteria
- Both pre-match and ongoing training
- Supervision for mentor
- Support group for mentors
- Structured activities for mentors and youth
- Parent support or involvement components
- Expectations for both frequency of contact and length of the relationship
- Mentor background in a helping role
In addition, there are several mentor websites that suggest the inclusion of similar best practices with the hopes of created greater outcomes for youth.
Approaches to Youth Mentoring Programs
One prevalent method is referred to as the “School-Based” approach.
Oftentimes, teachers refer students to participate in a mentoring relationship due to behavioral problems or difficulties with schoolwork.
The mentor meets with the youth in an academic setting and facilitates school work while acting as a supportive role-model. They may also play games, do crafts or partake in non-academic activities.
This approach is practiced by organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters which is located in eleven countries including Ireland, the United States, Israel, and Bulgaria.
“Community Based” is another approach to mentoring.
In this setting, a mentor meets youth in the community such as a church, community facility, or by taking the child to community events.
Both approaches can be done in a one-on-one or group setting. Individual vs. community-based mentoring may be culturally specific.
Such as in India where youth are less in need of individual attention and thrive in a group setting, according to The International Journal of Social Work.
Individual youth mentoring or a one on one setting is where there is one mentor who repeatedly meets with the same mentee for the duration of their program.
These partnerships can be found in both community and school-based programs. One on one mentoring is seen in programs such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters in The United States, as well as Mentor Me India in India.
This mentoring style is regarded as one of the most widespread social interventions in the U.S., with an estimated 3 million youth were informal one on one mentoring relationships.
The traditional model is structured so that mentors and youth are paired through a formal mechanism. And pairings are free to spend time together in a range of different activities and settings to help build their relationship with one another.
Small group mentoring can be beneficial in places where there is a shortage of mentors, or youth are able to learn collectively in a group setting.
This works with career-oriented mentoring when the focus is to encourage the future success of the individual by bringing in successful professionals as mentors.
This has found to be a successful approach in The Roma Mentor Project throughout Europe.
For sure, it is able to build self-confidence, and social skills while also teaching the importance of Romani culture.
5. Gender Matching
Mentoring has shown to have great academic gains for these populations that have a higher risk of school failure and dropping out.
Although there have been many studies that look at the impact of mentorship and the importance of the length of the mentorship relationship, there have not been many studies.
Especially, that look at the impact of gender in a mentoring relationship.
6. Youth Mentoring Programs by Country
By the same token, Youth Mentoring takes place around the world, and countries take varying approaches to the concept based off values and needs of that country’s youth.
There are organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters International that have locations worldwide, as well as country-specific organizations, such as Mentor Me India.
Benefits of Youth Mentoring Programs
Firstly, the mentoring program for youths was mentioned as having significant benefits. Such as lower dropout rates in high school and subsequently increased graduation rates.
Along with an increase of enrollment into and graduation from institutions of higher education.
Secondly, on a day to day basis, youth participating in mentoring relationships demonstrate better attendance, having fewer unexcused absences.
Students adopt a more positive attitude towards formal classroom learning with more formidable relationships between students, teachers, and parents.
Youths also acquire more self-confidence and better behavior at home and at school. In turn, this improves their motivation to learn in a given subject area.
At the same time, there is a reduced risk of students making the first move towards alcohol and substance abuse.
For teachers, mentoring means enhanced skills in supervision and better patience, sense of fulfillment, and increased self-esteem.
Equally important, successful mentorships promote positive health through the improvement of academic education, positive self-worth, and social acceptance.
Likewise, mentorships can decrease high-risk violent behaviors, usage of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
Much research has been conducted on youth mentoring with the intent of determining whether or not there are positive benefits for youth. And, if so, under what conditions the positive effects are most likely to occur.
According to some studies, not all mentoring programs are found to have positive effects.
In some cases, youth involved in mentoring relationships of short duration or infrequent interactions with their mentors experienced no benefits or were harmed in the form of lower self-esteem.
Even studies that demonstrated positive outcomes for youth suggested that benefits from mentoring do not always last for an extended period of time after the intervention has ended.
Finally, I hope you gathered something from the above-revised guide on youth mentoring programs.
But, if you’ll have additional contributions, suggestions or even questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us. Or even, leave them in the comments box below.
Below are more useful and related to the topic links.