Editors Blog

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 […]

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 […]

“There are four things I think you can do to change the world”

by Jean Rhodes Originally posted in 2017 I once took a year’s leave from academia to serve as a match coordinator in a Boston-based mentoring program. One evening I found myself sitting on the edge of a couch in a subsidized apartment conducting an intake with nine year old Kayla and her mom. Kayla’s toddler brother played […]

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 […]

Back to the future. Mentoring style. Mentors. Mentees. Youth.

Back to the future in youth mentoring: Predictions for 2020

by Jean Rhodes One of the benefits of remaining in the field of youth mentoring for so long is that I can look back over the past 30 years, and see both how much things have changed.  Like many psychologists of my generation, I was not exposed to empirically based therapies during graduate school. By […]

The five most popular Chronicle posts of 2019

by Jean Rhodes Thanks for helping to make 2019 another banner year for Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring! In case you missed them, here are five of the most frequently viewed posts of 2019. Many readers delved into the five key takeaways of a comprehensive new meta-analysis on youth mentoring. Readers also considered the two logical […]

The mentoring paradox, and how to solve it

by Jean Rhodes In a forthcoming book, “Older and wiser: Rethinking youth mentoring for the 21st Century,” (Harvard University Press), I explore why the field of mentoring has remained somewhat decoupled from the more rigorous guidelines of prevention science, and has been granted considerable immunity from the consequences of disappointing findings over the years. Although […]

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 […]