The Mentoring Landscape in the Carolinas
In 2016, then Movement of Youth (MOY), was commissioned by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to explore the possibility of relaunching a MENTOR Affiliate in the Carolinas. From May 2017 to November 2017, MOY conducted a multi-state feasibility study to determine the feasibility and areas of focus. More than 90 respondents serving approximately 4,700 total youth served in 2016 were represented in the data.
The study was led by Inspirus Consulting, Inc., a full-service Organization Development (OD) consultancy that works across multiple levels of systems to fully engage individuals, teams, organizations and communities where appropriate.
TOP 5 OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Based on summary findings from the data, mentoring agencies reported the top 5 opportunities that presented areas of need in which their programs could benefit from additional support:
- Mentor Recruitment. Agencies reported that “At-risk” youth were difficult to match with mentors at times, particularly when there were racial differences between the mentor and mentee (e.g. white mentor paired with black youth). Additionally, assistance with best practices for recruiting, training, screening, matching, and monitoring/supporting mentors was a recurring theme.
- Fund Development. While agencies reported that they were increasing in youth served, program budgets were not growing at a rate to support scaling up service efforts. Support with grant writing, introductions to funders, and fund development templates were listed as technical assistance needs.
- Program Evaluation/Data Collection. While access to funding was reported as a need, one of the barriers reported was related to support needed in capturing program outcomes and articulating impact to potential funders in a compelling way.
- Capacity Building. Several agencies expressed concern with the future of their programs as it relates to infrastructure. Specifically, hiring additional support staff, expanding program office space, and supporting new mentor/mentee programming were listed as top priorities.
- Professional Development. The need for access to networks, professional organizations, tools, and best practices for mentoring was listed as a key technical assistance need as it relates to addressing program challenges.
Learn more about how YMC works through the PACE (Youth Power, Awareness, Capacity, Engagement) framework to address community needs.
Mentoring guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.
Mentoring builds strong and healthy brains, and connects young people to resources that engage them in activities and relationships to support their growth and continued well-being.
Science tells us that interactions with supportive adults build critical neural connections in the developing brain. Young people who have healthy, supportive relationships with adult mentors often developing brain. Young people who have healthy, supportive relationships with adult mentors often do better in school, are better able to deal with bullies and stressful situations, and gain the social-emotional skills they need to be successful. Open and trusting relationships with mentors help young people gain a sense of belonging by building self-confidence as they learn new skills and passions.
Students who meet regularly with their mentors are:
- 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
- 37% less likely to skip a class
- 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to start drinking
- 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities
Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.
In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don't have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don't need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you're sharing with.
Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, stay in school, and engage in their communities.
By being a consistent adult presence in a young person’s life, mentors can offer advice, share life their experiences, and help a young person navigate challenges.
A study showed that the strongest benefit from mentoring, and most consistent across risk groups, was a reduction in depressive symptoms — particularly noteworthy given that almost one in four youth reported worrisome levels of these symptoms at baseline. Mentoring also promotes positive social attitudes and relationships. Mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them. (The Role of Risk, 2013)
One study estimates that the human potential lost as a result of the educational achievement gap is the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession. By preparing young people for college and careers, mentoring helps develop the future workplace talent pipeline (Mentoring: At the crossroads of education, business and community, 2015).
Learn more about our guiding principles for mentoring. These represent our recommitment to serving black and brown and LGBTQ+ youth.
Through no-cost consulting, we provide critical capacity building for organizations with limited resources. Learn more about our core mission work.
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