Editors Blog

Today’s special: Friendship, with a side of purpose and direction

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. John F. Kennedy by Jean Rhodes Although most youth interventions are developed in response to particular needs or goals, mentoring programs were conceived more broadly as an extension of informal helping relationships. For nearly a century, most volunteer mentors were tasked simply with building friendships […]

Messing with Mr. InBetween: Prevention science and the road to rigor in youth mentoring

By Jean Rhodes         You’ve got to accentuate the positive,         Eliminate the negative,         Latch on to the affirmative,         Don’t mess with Mr. InBetween.                 (Johnny Mercer) Who could disagree? Well, for starters, a growing […]

Relying on youth mentoring programs for mental health services: Challenges and implications

by Jean Rhodes In a recent issue of  Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology  psychologists Miguel Villodas and Alejandro Vázquez, published a study that has important implications for the future of youth mentoring programs. Their survey of nearly 750 caregivers to adolescents revealed that black caregivers were far less likely than white caregivers to perceive […]

From “out of the park” mentoring relationships to consistent, evidence-based approaches

by Jean Rhodes For years, I was stubbornly convinced that formal mentoring programs should focus mostly on creating and maintaining deep, emotional bonds. I saw attempts to scale back on relationship length and strength, or to rely on curricula, as existential threats to the field–destined to reduce already modest effects. But, evaluations and meta-analyses of […]

‘My guidance counselor didn’t do any of this’: How mentors can extend the vital work of school counselors

By Jean Rhodes “When I was in high school, my guidance counselor did not do any of this…I saw my guidance counselor when I was applying for college.” (Jacquelyn Indrisano, ninth grade guidance counselor at East Boston High, quoted in Boston Globe) A Boston Globe article recently described the changing roles of high school guidance […]

Mentoring without borders: Three ways to join the international youth mentoring movement

By Jean Rhodes Although the U.S. continues to account for the largest proportion of youth mentoring programs, many others have emerged across the globe, most notably in Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and, more recently, continental Europe.  In fact the European Centre for Evidence-Based Mentoring and a growing network of mentoring programs […]

Four takeaways from a forthcoming book on youth mentoring

By Jean Rhodes When I wrote Stand by Me: The risks and rewards of mentoring today’s youth more than 15 years ago, I assumed that it would be my final, book-length manuscript on youth mentoring.  As I  complete yet a second book on the topic, I am struck by just how much has changed in […]

Persuasion & healing: Why youth mentoring programs should prioritize mental health

“The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order.” Toni Morrison, Beloved. by Jean Rhodes Although youth mentoring programs should continue to target the full range of issues (e.g.., academics, college access, job skills), mental health and wellness are particularly important priorities. The basic contours of […]

Complicated lives, complicated excuses

by Jean Rhodes I maintain an email file of the student excuses I’ve received in my 20 years as a professor at UMass Boston. Some are predictable for college students, “I spilled coke on my computer and it turned off and won’t come back on,” or “This is embarrassing but I was several pages into […]

What we talk about when we talk about transference

by Jean Rhodes Transference is what happens when someone redirects unconscious feelings about one person onto someone else. In mentoring, a mentee might redirect his or her feelings, such as anger/disappointment with a parent, frustration with a teacher, ambivalence toward an older sibling, etc. onto a mentor. Mentors, who are typically unschooled in the nuances […]