Evidence shows that youth who are mentored demonstrate a propensity toward positive behavioral traits
Young People Need Mentors
“The consistent, enduring presence of a caring adult in a young person’s life can be the difference between staying in school or dropping out, making healthy decisions or engaging in risky behaviors, and realizing one’s potential or failing to achieve one’s dreams. Mentors can make a profound difference in the lives of their mentees — and in turn, strengthen our communities, economy, and country.”
Evidence shows that youth who are mentored demonstrate a propensity toward positive behavioral traits that include: better school attendance; better overall attitudes toward school; greater likelihood of pursuing higher education opportunities; reduced likelihood of substance abuse and other risky behaviors. Further, mentoring promotes positive social attitudes and relationships, as well as improved communication and trust between child and parent/guardian.1
There Aren’t Enough Mentors
Additional research shows that one out of three youth will reach the age of 18 without the benefit of a positive mentor. Nationally, that’s 16 million kids. Nine million of those are kids experiencing risk factors that put them at higher risk for dropping out of school. In fact, the more risk factors a youth faced, the less likely they are to find a naturally occurring mentor.
Locally, that mentoring gap amounts to 392,000 young people in Eastern PA growing up without the supportive guidance of a non-parent adult. This mentoring gap drives MENTOR Independence Region’s strategy for connecting more youth to high-quality mentors.2
To close the mentoring gap, we need more high quality mentoring programs and high quality mentors. High quality mentoring can be transformative in a child’s life, but poor quality mentoring can be even more harmful than never having a mentor at all. When mentoring programs implement high quality practices, research indicates a higher likelihood of positive youth outcomes.3 The Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ is the cornerstone of all of our efforts, developed by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and disseminated to ensure that as the quantity of mentoring grows, quality remains front and center. The Elements are widely accepted as the national and global standards for quality youth mentoring.
1 Source: S. Jekielek, K. Moore, E. Hair and H. Scarupa 2002; Mentoring Programs and Youth Development: A Synthesis; Washington, DC: ChildTrends
2 Source: M. Bruce and J. Bridgeland 2014; The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspective on Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring
3 Grossman & Rhodes, 2002; Herrera et al., 2007