It is our goal at Bright County Mentors to help children and adolescents to progress gracefully and successfully from childhood into adulthood through peer and youth mentoring.
As nature dictates, during late childhood and adolescence, youths begin to create a sense of identity apart from their parents. As a result, they become more concerned with the opinions of their peers. Also, the emotion center of their brain is ahead of the developmental curve while the reasoning part of it is scrambling to catch up. This creates a perfect storm for impulsive behavior and aggressiveness. There’s also an increased likelihood that they’ll skip class, skip school altogether, and possibly begin to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
Mentoring may or may not be the perfect antidote, but there’s plenty of evidence indicating it provides a slew of benefits in calming the brewing storm of adolescence. Studies have confirmed that youth and peer mentoring encourages the qualities in youth that lead to being more productive members of society. With mentoring, they’re more likely to integrate important life skills, build resiliency and develop greater self-control.
The Proven Benefits of Mentoring
Research studies conducted on the effects of peer and youth mentoring agreed that youth or peer mentoring is beneficial for children and adolescents – this is particularly true for disadvantaged teens.
Youths participating in a mentoring program were shown to have:
- Decreased delinquency
- Reduced incidence in alcohol and drug use
- Significantly less impulsive and aggressive behavior
- A reduction in skipping class or skipping school altogether
These benefits are impressive by anyone’s standards. In addition to decreasing negative behaviors, mentoring has been shown to:
- Increase the likelihood of graduating from high school
- Result in a higher rate of enrollment in a college
- Raise aspirations in regard to college field of study
- Lead to healthier relationships and lifestyle choices
- Improve attitude about school
- Reform behavior at home and school
- Increase interpersonal and life skills
- Raise self-esteem and self-confidence
The strongest and most consistent benefit has been shown to be a decrease in depressive symptoms.
In addition, mentored at risk youth are 51% more likely to hold a leadership position in school clubs or sports and 48% more likely to volunteer in their communities.
As you can see, the benefits of peer and youth mentoring are significant. If, as the saying goes, children are our future, we believe we owe it to them to make it a good one.