Editors Blog

How mentors can help students navigate another complicated school year

By Jean Rhodes As schools across the country close for the beginning of the new year, youth mentoring programs have a vital role to play in mitigating student struggles. Learning slides are already expected to be steepest for low-income, Black and Hispanic students, who typically live in more crowded homes and have less access to […]

Older and Wiser

Sneak preview: An excerpt from Older and Wiser!

By Jean Rhodes Yesterday my new book, “Older and Wiser: New Ideas for Mentoring in the 21st Century,” hit the stands – the culmination of 30 years of research and several years of writing and reflection. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you the introduction. If you’d like to order copies for your staff, please […]

How cognitive biases shape our beliefs about mentoring

by Jean Rhodes When we hear the word  “bias,” we instinctively think of such things as racial prejudice or slanted news coverage, but our brains are actually remarkably susceptible to all sorts of cognitive biases (Yagoda, 2018). Indeed, cognitive biases are very much at work in the field of youth mentoring. As I discuss in […]

Finding a silver lining: COVID-19 is shedding new light onto childhood poverty

By Jean Rhodes Young people who are referred to mentoring programs face dramatically more challenges than most other youth. For example, an analysis of the two million young people aged six through eighteen that Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has served over the past decade revealed that the majority were from low-income families (78 […]

Mentoring in the context of inequality, injustice, and a global pandemic

By Jean Rhodes When asked how he felt about the timing of his forthcoming movie, comedian and commentator Jon Stewart replied “it’s like showing up to a plane crash with a chocolate bar. There’s tragedy everywhere, and you’re like, ‘‘Uh, does anybody want chocolate?’’ It feels ridiculous. But what doesn’t feel ridiculous is to continue […]

Older and Wiser

Older and Wiser: New ideas for mentoring in the 21st Century

By Jean Rhodes Apologies for this bit of shameless self-promotion but my new book on youth mentoring, Older and Wiser: New ideas for Youth Mentoring (Harvard University Press) is now available for pre-order (out in August). This book is a synthesis and analysis of the research on youth mentoring, a topic to which I have […]

Now is the time to offer solidarity and support to young people of color

by Jean Rhodes and Cherrelle Jones (clinical psychology doctoral student, UMass Boston) As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and thousands of protestors gather in the streets day after day, we are viscerally witnessing the many ways that racism, and other systems of oppression, negatively impact the lives, the health, and the mental health of racial […]

Harnessing the Big Three: Positive youth development during the “leisure paradox”

By Jean Rhodes In a recent issue of the Journal of Youth Development, researchers describe the leisure paradox: Just as social distancing and the end of the school year have left young people with more free time than ever, there has been an abrupt halt to the summer camps, sports leagues, and other leisure activities […]

All the tech in the world: School closures and the loss of natural mentoring

  “Ultimately you can have all the tech in the world, but really great learning is a human endeavor. It’s about the teacher and student relationship.” Todd Rose, Harvard Graduate School of Education and co-founder of Populace   By Jean Rhodes In addition to lost learning opportunities during COVID-19, many students are also losing vital […]