Psychotherapy Perspectives

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mentoring Youth Programs

Mentoring/Making a Difference
( talk given by Garth Mintun, LCSW, CSW-G at the Sheridan Indiana Kiwanis Club on 10-13-06)
By Garth Mintun, LCSW, CSW-G

I. What is mentoring: Wikopedia definition:
Youth mentoring is the process of matching caring, concerned adults with young people who may be at risk. The adult is usually unrelated and works as a volunteer through a community, school or church based social service program.
A more formal definition of youth mentoring is provided by the website InFed:
"The classic definition of mentoring is of an older experienced guide who is acceptable to the young person and who can help ease the transition to adulthood by a mix of support and challenge. In this sense it is a developmental relationship in which the young person is inducted into the world of adulthood (Hamilton, 1991; Freedman, 1995)."
II.
Benefits of Youth Mentoring
Intuitively we know youth mentoring is good for young people. However, many studies have provided evidence that youth mentoring has many positive outcomes for young people, adults and their communities.
According to the National Mentoring Partnership, youth mentoring helps produce benefits such as:
* young people tend to stay in school
* young people tend to get better grades
*young people improve their self-esteem
* young people are less likely to start using drugs or alcohol
* young people learn to get along better with others

III. Research regarding Mentoring:
A. The results of many research studies on childrresilienceliency indicated numerous factors which may have aided in a child being able to persevere against adverse circumstances. Only one factor was cited in every study that increased a child's ability to cope with life and strive beyond their circumstances. The one factor was these children had one adult who believed in them. IV. What does it take to influence a child to be stronger to life's challenges for the rest of his/her life?
A. One half an hour per week for one year of attention devoted to child's interest
B. Be a positive role model
C. Be counted on to do what you say
D. Good listener, educate with your behavior not by lecturing

V. Setting up a Mentoring Program
A. Ask your target group what they want to do
B. Give them the tools to make the project work and show by doing
C. Help them gain credit and acclaim for what they do
D. Stay in regular contact with the child (ren)

VI. Challenges of setting up a Mentoring Program
A. Making sure the Adult Mentors can make most of the meetings
B. Making the project is child centered instead of adult focused
C. Mentors getting through the testing period of the children.
D. Problems of communication with the Mentors and the Adults of any community system.

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