So, Why Mentoring?
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.
The Benefits of Being Mentored
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).
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.
Want to learn more about mentoring? Check out our resources for programs, mentors, and caregivers.
Learn how we can see the impacts of mentoring on economically and historically disadvantaged youth through a different lens.
Youth Mentoring Collaborative provides consulting services for nonprofits in the Carolinas and beyond.