The benefits of mentoring programs for youth are numerous and varied. It gives young people hope for their future. Studies have shown that the youth who participate in mentoring programs show improvements in attendance and school participation. Mentoring programs also lead to higher college admission rates and overall performance. These are all promising outcomes. Hopefully, you will be inspired to take part in a mentoring program. But what are the benefits of mentoring for youth? Here are a few reasons why.
Children’s brains continue to develop throughout their childhoods. Their amygdala (receptor to emotional cues) and prefrontal cortex (controller of reasoning and emotions) are still developing. Without a supportive mentor, children and adolescents are more likely to misinterpret social cues, make poor decisions, and engage in risky behavior. Youth who receive mentoring from a mentor tend to earn higher grades and have fewer problems with alcohol and drug use.
Mentoring programs are particularly beneficial for at-risk youth. Youth who participate in mentoring programs are 52% less likely to skip school and enroll in college. They are 46% less likely to engage in drug use. They are also 81% more likely to participate in extracurricular activities and volunteer regularly. Furthermore, they are more likely to hold leadership positions in organizations and schools. Increasing the odds of these benefits of mentoring programs is important for any community.
Mentoring is a great way to build the self-esteem and confidence of at-risk youth. Mentoring sessions may take place at school, community centers, restaurants, museums, and other locations. These sessions should also be heavily incentivized to make them age-appropriate. As a giveaway, program organizers can gift a restaurant gift card to top-performing participants on behalf of mentors. This will further endear students to mentors and encourage continuity and after-program progress. A mentor may also meet with the child’s parents regularly. Mentors may ask questions about the child’s home life to better understand their child’s behavior. These questions will help the mentor better understand the child’s needs and help them learn how to better meet them.