Why mentoring matters: National Mentoring Month

One in three youth – approximately 16 million – enters adulthood without having a mentor of any kind, according to the strategic report The Mentoring Effect. Of those, an estimated 9 million are considered at-risk youth. Research shows that mentoring relationships make a positive impact on a young person’s education, health, future career goals, and overall well-being.

According to the report, 76 percent of at-risk youth with mentors aspire to enroll in and graduate from college as compared to 56 percent of at-risk youth without mentors. Mentored young adults are also more likely to volunteer in their communities and hold a leadership position in school or sports.

Additionally, youth who meet with mentors regularly are less likely to start drinking or using illegal drugs, and they show fewer signs of depression, according to research from Public/Private Ventures and the advocacy report The Role of Risk.

Many times, a mentor offers wisdom and encouragement to an at-risk youth as they do simple things together such as eating a meal, playing a sport or working on homework.

“Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter,” says Mentoring.org.

To celebrate National Mentoring Month, consider joining a mentoring program in your city or finding another way to reach out to a young person you know. No matter your skill set or your season of life, you have something valuable to offer to someone younger. This month is also a great chance to thank someone who has mentored you. Send a note or a small gift to show your appreciation for their support along the way.

Tiffany Williams