Entries by Jean Rhodes

The kids aren’t all right: Why mentees will be disproportionately affected by the pandemic

By Jean Rhodes Although COVID-19 appears to spare children from the most serious health problems, marginalized youth are likely to bear the heaviest burdens of trauma and economic fallout. This has serious implications for mentoring programs, which often serve particularly high risk youth. For example, an analysis of the two million young people aged six […]

Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing: Providing comfort during these trying times

By Jean Rhodes How should parents, mentors, and other caring adults talk to children and adolescents about the growing COVID-19 pandemic? As a mentor, it is certainly appropriate to acknowledge some level concern, and to provide age-appropriate, accurate information that encourages actions that reduce the risk of exposure. But, if children see adults as overly […]

Nearly 40% of US children lack strong emotional bonds with their parents

B. Rose Huber-Princeton In a study of 14,000 US children, researchers found that 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds with their parents—bonds that are crucial to success later in life. According to the report, published by Sutton Trust, children under the age of three who do not form strong bonds with their mothers or fathers […]

Rule #1: Don’t minimize the importance of caregivers in mentoring relationships

by Jean Rhodes Mentoring programs have not always appreciated the vitally important, positive role of caregivers in the success of mentor-youth relationships. In a large, multisite study, researchers found that staff and mentors often viewed mentees’ parents and communities primarily as “negative influences” (Lakind & Eddy, 2015). Such beliefs have a long legacy in youth […]

Let’s talk about religion, politics…and mentoring

by Jean Rhodes, Matt Hagler, and Sam McQuillin We are living through one of the most bitterly partisan periods in history. In the latest New Republic, policy analyst Rachel Bitecofer drew dispiriting parallels between today’s climate and the period leading up to the Civil War, “Then, as now, the nation and its elected leaders were divided […]

Five strategies for making stronger connections, backed by research

by Jean Rhodes Care for some direct, research-based ideas for connecting with others?  I’d recommend a book that distills the essential findings of many studies.  Friend and Foe, by Business Professors Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer or Columbia and University of Pennsylvania, respectively. Compiled by Eric Barker, the authors provide evidence-based strategies for handling the everyday relationship tensions and difficulties. Some […]

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain

BY MADELINE OSTRANDER For a growing child, deprivation and stress can become a kind of neurotoxin. The brain’s foundation, frame, and walls are built in the womb. As an embryo grows into a fetus, some of its dividing cells turn into neurons, arranging themselves into layers and forming the first synapses, the organ’s electrical wiring. […]

Stuff about oppression

  acknowledge the role of ongoing racial oppression and the barriers to the pursuit of her dreams (CITE). Indeed, mentors are sometimes advised to avoid engaging in discussions about what might be considered difficult or taboo topics, such as money, politics and religion, or class, race, sexual orientation and culture.  Yet avoiding such topics may […]