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Lessons in Mentoring: A Guide to Working with Youth, Second Edition

NCJ Number
Glenda L. Hufnagel, Debbie Blasiar
Date Published
85 pages
This document explores different types of mentoring and presents guidelines to assist organizations interested in mentoring.
Youth in effective mentoring programs are less likely to begin using alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs; less likely to turn to violence to solve their problems; and perform better in school. There are five types of mentoring programs in which adult volunteers work with youth: traditional, long-term focused activity, short-term focused activity, team mentoring, and group mentoring. One of the traditional types of mentoring is the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. An example of long-term focused mentoring is awakening a youth’s career goals through “job shadowing.” The most common form of short-term focused mentoring is tutoring. In team mentoring, youth at high risk are matched with several adults that act as positive role models in addition to providing friendship and companionship. Group mentoring involves one or more adults working with a group of youth, meeting frequently and over a long-term usually focusing on one or more specific activities. A hybrid of team mentoring and group mentoring, TeamWorks, matches three mentors with 10 to 15 middle school students. The mentors include a teacher, a community volunteer, and a student from a local college or university. Setting up a mentoring program entails volunteer recruitment, screening, and training, youth recruitment, match supervision, mentor support, and evaluation. Bringing in outside resources to further a mentoring program’s success, such as schools, colleges and universities, existing programs, and communities, is always encouraged. Evaluation assesses a program’s outcome, whether the intervention achieved the desired result or a portion of that desired result, and what percentage of the program participants achieved some or all of those desired results. Evaluations can also determine whether the program followed the implementation process as it was designed. The “best practices” for mentoring programs include attempting to make the match as natural as possible between mentor and youth, and providing plenty of supervision of the match. An overview of research on mentoring from 1990 to 2000 is presented.