Mentoring aims to provide a purposeful, structured and trusting relationship, that brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement.” New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network
How does mentoring help?
There has been a great deal of international research carried out on the benefits of mentoring to a young person. Research by Joseph P. Tierney and Jean Baldwin Grossman (Making a difference: an impact study of Big Brother/Big Sisters) and David L Dubois et al (Effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth):
A meta-analytical review, (American Journal of Community Psychology), has shown that young people who are mentored are:
- Less likely to become involved in criminal activity,
- Less likely to become involved in drug taking and alcohol abuse and
- Lesl likely to leave school early
- More likely to have improved academic performance
- Have better relationships with their teachers and family compared to their peers who are not mentored.
What are the different types of mentoring?
Mentoring can focus on particular areas including:
- Social and emotional wellbeing - Mentoring to assist young people to increase their self-esteem, self-efficacy and resilience by actively supporting their social and emotional wellbeing. The focus includes improving both the young person’s life skills and the positive connections they have with their community.
- Individual talents and leadership - Mentoring to assist young people to further develop their individual talents and/or leadership skills in a specific area (e.g. sports, photography, drama) in order for them to reach their full potential.
- Identity, culture and faith - Mentoring to assist young people to grow in their understanding of their faith and/or culture and cultural identity. The program actively supports young people to be proud and confident of their identity and culture and to be able to exercise this in their community.
- Youth justice and crime prevention - Mentoring to assist young people to avoid anti-social and offending behaviours by encouraging connectedness with positive elements in their community and increasing protective factors.
- Education, training and employment - Mentoring to assist young people to positively engage in and maintain their participation in education, training and employment. These programs assist young people to develop a vision for their future and provide support to achieve their education, training and career goals.
There are also different types of mentoring relationships:
- One to one - One mentor matched with one young person.
- Group - One mentor matched with up a group of young people
- Team - Two or more mentors matched with one young person.
The mentoring relationship can be take place in different settings:
- School. Mentoring occurs on the school premises.
- Community. Mentoring occurs within the local community, utilising community spaces such as parks, cafés, libraries etc.
- Workplace. Mentoring occurs on the business premises.
- Other Site. Mentoring occurs in other site based locations including but not limited to universities, youth justice centres, youth centres, football clubs etc.