How does a strong mentoring relationship help the youth in our community? Exactly why does mentoring matter?
To help answer that question, a report by Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates completed the first representative survey of young people's perspectives on the outcomes and availability of mentoring. The report uncovered several insights on youths' beliefs and experiences on the outcomes of mentoring, the connection of mentoring to aspirations, the value of mentoring and the availability of mentors.
In this survey, youth reported experiences that suggest young people in mentoring relationships are more likely to engage in positive behaviors. A powerful research base shows that attendance, behavior and school performance in reading and math will accurately predict a student's chances of graduating from high school. Mentoring can be a powerful preventive intervention to assist students with these risk factors.
Young people who had mentors set higher educational goals and are more likely to attend college than those without mentors. This is important because higher educational levels are key factors to life success. At-risk young adults are more likely to aspire to and follow through with enrolling in college than those without a mentor.
Young adults, particularly those at risk, are also more likely to participate in productive activities, such as sports and extracurricular activities, hold a leadership position or volunteer regularly in their community than those without mentors.
The survey also confirmed that the longer the mentoring relationship lasts, the greater the value for that youth.
Young people in mentoring relationships speak highly of them. Mentees are likely to want to also serve as mentors, indicating a powerful endorsement of mentoring and a powerful indication that they are empowered to want to contribute to the world around them.
Approximately 1 in 3 young people do not have a mentor of any kind (naturally occurring or structured) and at-risk youth are less likely to have a mentor and are more likely to want one.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides one-on-one mentoring for the youth in Taos and Colfax counties through school- and community-based mentoring programs. At the present time, BBBS has 26 matches in Taos County and 13 in Colfax County. This service is always free to the youth and the families involved.
BBBS is a volunteer- and donation-supported organization that is dedicated to providing children facing adversity with strong, professionally supported, long-term, one-to-one mentoring relationships that forever change their lives for the better. If you would like to volunteer, please call (575) 770-5751 or visit bbbsmountainregion.org.
Koyote is the regional director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region, Taos and Colfax counties.