Mentoring

Mentoring programs match a young person (mentee) with a more experienced person who is working in a non-professional capacity (mentor) to help provide support and guidance to the mentee in one or more areas of the mentee’s development.  There are 4 types of Mentoring programs: Community, Juvenile Justice, School, and Youth Initiated.

Community-based Mentors are matched based on interests, hobbies, and compatibility so that the mentee and mentor can spend time together in the community and share activities they both enjoy.  The goal of this type of mentoring relationship is to reduce substance abuse and antisocial behavior by establishing a support who can provide the youth with guidance.

Juvenile Justice-based Mentors are mentors who help youth with some involvement in the juvenile justice system (diversion through YRTC) so the mentor can demonstrate prosocial attitudes and behaviors while helping the youth navigate the juvenile justice system.  The goal of this type of mentoring is the prevent the youth from having further involvement in the justice system.

School-based Mentors meet with youth on school premises to focus on school-related issues.  The goal of this relationship is to improve youth attendance, grades, and attitudes toward school so that the youth is more likely to graduate.

Youth Initiated Mentors are mentors that are identified by the youth as someone who is already a support or mentor for the youth.  The program then helps to make sure the match is safe and supportive for the youth and to help develop natural mentors for more sustainable matches.  The goal of this mentoring relationship is to help youth identify and sustain a healthy support system.

 
 
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Recordings

Adding Mentors and Activities

This video reviews the steps to add mentors to youth profiles in JCMS, and then how to add activity fields/tabs to those mentors to document who the mentors are and the activities they engage in with the youth.

Youth-initiated Mentoring Potential Mentor Tab

This video goes over the steps and fields for entering a potential mentor as identified by a youth in JCMS.

 
 
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Research abstracts

Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs for Youth:A Meta-Analytic Review (DuBois, et al 2002)

We used meta-analysis to review 55 evaluations of the effects of mentoring programs on youth. Overall, findings provide evidence of only a modest or small benefit of program participation for the average youth. Program effects are enhanced significantly, however, when greater numbers of both theorybased and empirically based "best practices" are utilized and when strong relationships are formed between mentors and youth. Youth from backgrounds of environmental risk and disadvantage appear most likely to benefit from participation in mentoring programs. Outcomes for youth at-risk due to personal vulnerabilities have varied substantially in relation to program characteristics, with a noteworthy potential evident for poorly implemented programs to actually have an adverse effect on such youth. Recommendations include greater adherence to guidelines for the design and implementation of effective mentoring programs as well as more in-depth assessment of relationship and contextual factors in the evaluation of programs. PDF

Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, 4th Edition (The National Mentoring Partnership, 2015)

Mentoring continues to grow in diverse directions and is embedded into myriad program contexts and services. The fourth edition of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ is intended to give this generation of practitioners a set of programmatic standards that will empower every agency and organization, and raise the bar on what quality mentoring services look like. We hope this edition benefits programs of all sizes and funders from every sector in creating, sustaining, and improving mentoring relationships because they are critical assets in young people’s ability to thrive and strive. PDF

Foundations of Successful Youth Mentoring (The Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence & The National Mentoring Center at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2007)

The Effective Strategies for Providing Quality Youth Mentoring in Schools and Communities series, sponsored by the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence, is designed to give practitioners a set of tools and ideas that they can use to build quality mentoring programs. Each title in the series is based on research (primarily from the esteemed Public/Private Ventures) and observed best practices from the field of mentoring, resulting in a collection of proven strategies, techniques, and program structures. Revised and updated by the National Mentoring Center at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, each book in this series provides insight into a critical area of mentor program development: Foundations of Successful Youth Mentoring—This title offers a comprehensive overview of the characteristics of successful youth mentoring programs. Originally designed for a community-based model, its advice and planning tools can be adapted for use in other settings. PDF

How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth? A Systematic Assessment of the Evidence (DuBois, et al 2011)

During the past decade, mentoring has proliferated as an intervention strategy for addressing the needs that young people have for adult support and guidance throughout their development. Currently, more than 5,000 mentoring programs serve an estimated three million youths in the United States. Funding and growth imperatives continue to fuel the expansion of programs as well as the diversification of mentoring approaches and applications. Important questions remain, however, about the effectiveness of these types of interventions and the conditions required to optimize benefits for young people who participate in them. In this article, we use metaanalysis to take stock of the current evidence on the effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth. As a guiding conceptual framework for our analysis, we draw on a developmental model of youth mentoring relationships (Rhodes, 2002, 2005). This model posits an interconnected set of processes (socialemotional, cognitive, identity) through which caring and meaningful relationships with nonparental adults (or older peers) can promote positive developmental trajectories. These processes are presumed to be conditioned by a range of individual, dyadic, programmatic, and contextual variables. Based on this model and related prior research, we anticipated that we would find evidence for the effectiveness of mentoring as an approach for fostering healthy development among youth. We also expected that effectiveness would vary as a function of differences in both program practices and the characteristics of participating young people and their mentors.PDF

Testing the Impact of Mentor Training and Peer Support on the Quality of Mentor-Mentee Relationships and Outcomes for At-Risk Youth (Peaslee & Teye, 2015)

National trends point to the increased popularity of mentor programs to enhance protective factors and decrease poor life outcomes for at-risk youth. Generally, substantial empirical evidence confirms improved outcomes for at-risk youth involved in mentoring programs; however, there is limited empirical evidence linking mentor training and programmatic support to the strength of mentoring relationships and youth outcomes. This evaluation investigates the impact of Enhanced Mentor Training and Peer Support for mentors on the quality of mentor/mentee relationships and mentee outcomes. Research was conducted in conjunction with an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in Harrisonburg, Virginia, an established mentoring program that has consistently surpassed national standards in all areas of quality metrics. A total of 459 matches were enrolled in the three-year study. We utilized a between subject experimental design, with three randomly assigned intervention groups: a) Enhanced Mentor Training b) Peer Support, and c) an Interaction Intervention. The report concludes with recommendations from an implementation analysis and an outcome evaluation to inform the work of mentoring researchers and practitioners. PDF

Mentoring Together: A Literature Review of Group Mentoring (Huizing, 2012)

Researchers have shown the benefits of mentoring in both personal and professional growth. It would seem that group mentoring would only enhance those benefits. This work represents a literature review of peer-reviewed articles and dissertations that contribute to the theory and research of group mentoring. This work reviews the articles that contributed to the development of group mentoring theory as well as relevant research. Four primary types of group mentoring emerge—peer group, one-to-many, many-to-one, and many-to-many. Despite over 20 years of research, significant gaps remain in the research methods, demographic focus, and fields of study. The review concludes with recommendations for future research. PDF

Twelve-Year Professional Youth Mentoring Program for High Risk Youth: Continuation of a Longitudinal Randomized Controlled Trial (Eddy, et al 2015)

This study investigated impacts of a professional mentoring program, Friends of the Children (FOTC), during the first 5 years of a 12 year program. Participants (N = 278) were early elementary school aged boys and girls who were identified as “high risk” for adjustment problems during adolescence and emerging adulthood, including antisocial behavior and delinquency, through an intensive collaborative school-based process. Participants were randomly assigned to FOTC or a referral only control condition. Mentors were hired to work full time with small caseloads of children and were provided initial and ongoing training, supervision, and support. The program was delivered through established non-profit organizations operating in four major U.S. urban areas within neighborhoods dealing with various levels of challenges, including relatively high rates of unemployment and crime. Recruitment into the study took place across a three year period, and follow-up assessments have been conducted every six months. Data have been collected not only from children, but also from their primary caregivers, their mentors, their teachers, and their schools (i.e., official school records). Strong levels of participation in study assessments have been maintained over the past 8 years. Most children assigned to the FOTC Intervention condition received a mentor, and at the end of the study, over 70% still had mentors. While few differences were found between the FOTC and control conditions for the first several years of the study, two key differences, in child "externalizing" behaviors and child strengths, emerged at the most recent assessment point, which on average was after 5 years of consistent mentoring. To date, outcomes do not appear related to the amount of mentor-child contact time or the quality of the mentor-child relationship. Analyses are ongoing, and additional funding is being sought to continue the study forward. PDF

Mentee Risk Status and Mentor Training as Predictors of Youth Outcomes (Kupersmidt, et al 2017)

Archival national data from a wide range of mentoring programs were examined to determine whether mentee risk status predicted match outcomes. In addition, archival national data from Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies accompanied by program practice self-assessments from a subset of agencies were examined to determine the relationship between program practices and outcomes for mentoring relationships, in general, as well as for mentoring relationships of special populations of youth (i.e., children with an incarcerated parent, youth in foster care). Mentees who were adolescents when first matched or with exposure to many risk factors such as exhibiting antisocial behavior problems or experiencing many stressful life experiences were less likely to have mentoring relationships that are effective and long lasting; however, mentoring program practices make a difference in match longevity, even with high-risk youth. Specifically, the sum total number of both benchmark program practices and standards described in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM; Third Edition) implemented by mentoring programs were associated with match length and long-term relationships; however, neither predicted premature match closure. These findings were true for matches in general, as well as for matches including youth in foster care. Notably, the Training Standard in the EEPM predicted match length of mentoring relationships, in general. In addition, children of incarcerated parents (COIP) have shorter mentoring relationships, and have lower grades, school attendance, and parental trust after one year of mentoring, compared to youth who are non-COIP. In addition, providing specialized mentor training on issues associated with mentoring of children of incarcerated parents was associated with longer and stronger matches and mentees having higher educational expectations. Mentees who were children of incarcerated parents (COIP) experienced benefits from mentoring programs that received additional funding specifically for serving COIP. Given the importance of having a set of standards of practice for the field of youth mentoring that define both research-and safety-based program practices, a model for the development of practice guidelines and recommendations for the youth mentoring field was adapted from the health care literature on the development of Clinical Practice Guidelines. This model includes replicable and transparent procedures that can be used to update the EEPM as well as create supplemental guidelines for special populations of mentees or mentors, or special mentoring intervention models or settings. PDF

Training New Mentors (The Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence & The National Mentoring Center at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2008)

The “Effective Strategies for Providing Quality Youth Mentoring in Schools and Communities” series, sponsored by the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence, is designed to give practitioners a set of tools and ideas that they can use to build quality mentoring programs. Each title in the series is based on research (primarily from the esteemed Public/Private Ventures) and observed best practices from the field of mentoring, resulting in a collection of proven strategies, techniques, and program structures. Revised and updated by the National Mentoring Center at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, each book in this series provides insight into a critical area of mentor program development: Training New Mentors—All mentors need thorough training if they are to possess the skills, attitudes, and activity ideas needed to effectively mentor a young person. This guide provides ready-to-use training modules for your program. PDF