The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring
The findings of this report are consistent with a powerful mentoring effect as demonstrated by the life experiences of the young people surveyed and mentoring’s link to improved academic, social and economic prospects. This mentoring effect is growing and, if harnessed, it has the potential to help meet a range of national challenges and strengthen our communities and economy.
The survey found that 4.5 million at-risk young people will be matched in mentoring relationships through mentoring programs while they are growing up. In the early 1990s an estimated 300,000 at-risk young people had a structured mentoring relationship. Another 10.5 million at-risk young people have informal mentoring relationships with teachers, coaches, extended family members or neighbors.
Despite this positive trend, one in three young people surveyed did not have a mentor while they were growing up.
Applying their experiences to the U.S. Census demographics for 8-18 year olds, it is projected that 16 million young people, including 9 million at risk young people, will reach adulthood without connecting with a mentor of any kind.
The survey also showed that with each additional risk factor a young person experiences, the less likely he or she is to connect with an informal mentor. This finding suggests a systemic shift to leverage quality mentoring programs to introduce mentors to young people who face a greater number of risk factors is a powerful and necessary strategy.
Mentoring’s Connection to Aspirations and Outcomes
- Utilize mentoring to address national challenges.
- Ensure that young people most in need have a quality mentoring relationship.
- Expand local, state and federal public policies that advance quality mentoring.
- Ensure all structured mentoring is quality mentoring.
- Support and increase private sector engagement in mentoring.
- Facilitate connections between research and practice.
- Explore innovations to close the mentoring gap.