The Mentoring Effect

Following is a summary of The Mentoring Effect—a 2014 study Published by MENTOR which was the first ever study of young people’s perspectives and experience.  18-24 year old’s were interviewed about impact of previous mentoring on their lives. In the past 20 years—mentored youth in the US has grown from 300,00 to 4.5 million, but still 1/3 of youth report they have never had a mentor (prior to turning 19).

Every $1 invested in a youth mentoring program yields a $3 minimum return to society (productive members of society, tax payers, future volunteers—triple the investment!)

The more risk factors a youth has, the less likely they are to have a naturally occurring mentor; therefore, structured mentoring programs are needed to intervene.   Youth with mentors were more likely to report in engaging in positive behavior (social, emotional, behavioral, academic) and report positive outcomes.  This is according to meta-analysis of 73 independent mentoring programs (this is a very large, impressive study).

The longer the relationship lasts, the better it is for students.  Active Listening is the most critical factor to relationship development – showing up and being a warm body and open heart communicates to our students that they have value.  Mentoring has been shown to have the biggest impact in two main areas – academic achievement and personal development. And a positive relationship with an adult mentor will help other relationships with adults improve, such as parent-youth or teacher-youth relationships.

“A caring adult” is one of 5 resources everyone needs to survive; a caring adult is the gateway to other resources. Dr. Betty Molina Morgan, who is quoted in the study by MENTOR says; “Strong mentoring relationships can set the standard for valuing young people and show that giving up is not an option.”  Dr. Morgan also says that mentoring can “change the trajectory of a kid’s life” and “help mitigate toxic stress.”

Young adults speak highly of mentoring relationships—95% say it was helpful and 9/10 of young adults who have had mentors say they would like to mentor in the future.  Youth who have had mentors show higher rates of leadership and volunteering as adults.  However, in 2010-11, federal funding was cut for mentoring programs—which leaves private sector and communities to pick up the slack.

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In the conclusion of the study some clear results and recommendations are listed.  “The presence of a mentor is critical to the future success of America’s youth and to society overall.”  Mentoring is a proven tool and needed asset that “produces more engaged citizens and stronger leaders, better schools and healthier and stronger economies and communities.”

We highly recommend that you read the full study or just the executive summary.  Be the One is working daily to support this important investment in our communities – please consider passing on the summary to someone you believe would be a good mentor and help us reach our 100 Mentor Goal.

“Strong mentoring relationships can set the standard for valuing young people and show that giving up is not an