Editors Blog

Reflections on a major new evaluation of community-based mentoring

By Jean Rhodes Mentoring experts Carla Herrera, David DuBois, Janet Heubach, and Jean Grossman have just published a major new randomized controlled trial of the effects Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) Community-Based Mentoring (CBM) Program on the social-emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes of youth. The study included over 700 9- to 14-year-olds who […]

All ears: Four good reasons to take a more targeted approach to mentoring

By Jean Rhodes For nearly a century, many mentoring programs have tasked their volunteers with building friendships by being genuinely responsive and engaging in shared activities. A study of nearly 2,000 mentors from thirty nationally representative youth mentoring programs operating across the United States, mentors were asked how they spent time with their mentees (Jarjoura […]

Mentoring and politics: Some resources and expert advice

by Jean Rhodes Mentors are often instructed to avoid discussing politics.  But, in this political climate, is it even possible or advisable to avoid politics altogether? With the midterms, contested runoffs, and legal battles, and next presidential race saturating the media, many young people want to understand and engage in conversations with their mentors.  Mentoring […]

How the growth mindset shrank: Lessons for the field of youth mentoring

By Jean Rhodes In his smart new opinion piece, Stuart Richie describes how the growth mindset idea spread despite the lack of strong evaluation results. As you probably know, the basic idea of growth mindset, is that learners can work hard and improve their ability (e.g., in math). This is typically contrasted with a fixed […]

It’s time to shed light on the “black box” of mentoring programs

By Jean Rhodes For the most part, the field of mentoring has not yet specified the precise conditions under which different approaches to mentoring “work.”  Psychologist, Patrick Tolan and his colleagues have argued that the mentoring field’s resistance to identifying, implementing, and adhering to standards, including specifying how program inputs relate to outcomes, stems from […]

Untapped potential: New paper argues for deploying mentors to address youth mental health crisis

By Jean Rhodes Big Picture The demand for child mental health services vastly exceeds the supply. Fewer than half of young people who need services actually receive treatment, and this gap is expected to widen as rates of mental health problems continue to climb. Mentors can help, particularly if the field more fully embraces what […]

Summer memories and a major study on friendship and mobility

by Jean Rhodes When I was growing up Allendale, NJ in the 1960’s and 70’s, a family’s social class didn’t define life and determine social mobility the way it does now. Resources varied pretty widely across neighborhoods and families, but Allendale’s 6,000 residents all seemed to know each other. We all spent our long, unscheduled […]

Just because: The benefits of reaching out to the people in our lives

By Jean Rhodes Findings from an important new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “The Surprise of Reaching Out” highlights the psychological benefits of simply checking in with the people in our lives with brief texts and phone calls. Indeed, these small, casual acts of kindness can have profoundly positive effects. Participants […]

Why mentor?: New study has surprising implications for mentor recruitment and retention

Jean Rhodes Despite strenuous efforts, many mentoring programs  struggle to recruit enough volunteers for all of the youth who need them.  A major barrier is the fact that, unlike other forms of volunteering, mentoring requires a sustained and relatively intensive  commitment. In some mentoring programs, for example, volunteers are expected to meet with their mentees […]

Mentoring + supportive accountability = game changer