FORUM: How will the new report on the “mentoring gap” help your efforts?

Earlier this month, MENTOR released The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring (pdf file), a major contribution to our understanding of just how much of an impact mentors are having on the lives of America’s young people. You can read more about the report and its findings on the […]

FORUM: What does it mean for a mentor to be an “advocate” for a young person?

Last week, we began exploring the connections between advocacy and mentoring with a moving piece on the ways a mentor could advocate for gay and lesbian youth. This week we share some additional perspectives on how mentors can serve as “advocates” in working with children and adolescents. This issue comes out of David DuBois’ 2011 […]

FORUM: Should volunteer mentors be re-screened periodically?

Screening mentors is obviously important at the beginning of a volunteer’s involvement; and ongoing supervision and monitoring provides some assurances over the duration of the relationship. But would it be a good idea for programs to periodically conduct a formal background check/interview/reference check of current mentors ? Is it worth the expense? Would mentors feel […]

FORUM: How does your program handle holiday season gifts?

Over in Expert Corner, we’ve posted a nice excerpt from The Mentor’s Field Guide on whether mentors should buy gifts for their mentees, an issue that can crop up throughout the year, but often takes on increasing importance every holiday season. The end-of-year holidays carry a lot of symbolism and emotion for most people, and […]

POLL: What are your mentoring program’s biggest professional development needs?

As a training and technical assistance provider, I’ve spent the better part of 16 years in mentoring helping programs shore up their weak spots. Sometimes that has to do with program practice, such as codifying staff tasks into an operations manual or revamping a recruitment campaign; other times it may be infrastructure related: a new […]

FORUM: Should we be devoting more time and resources to “natural” mentoring?

There has been a lot of research in recent years examining the role that “natural” mentors play in supporting children and adolescents, highlighting the ways in which these supportive adults help youth develop identity, succeed in school, overcome racism and other substantial challenges, and learn to ask for help throughout their lives. Researchers such as […]

FORUM: What should mentoring programs keep in mind as they think about evaluation?

As a training and technical assistance provider who has worked with many diverse mentoring programs and initiatives over the years, I can honestly say that I’ve not seen a topic generate as much consternation, confusion, and near panic as program evaluation. As with many types of nonprofit and human services, mentoring programs are increasingly caught […]

Should we be matching male mentees with female mentors?

Although assigned mentoring relationships have typically involved same gender matches, a growing number of programs, particularly those in schools, are pairing female mentors with male mentees. This practice stems, in large part, from the relative dearth of male mentors and programs’ efforts to increase the availability of youth mentoring to young males on waiting lists. […]

FORUM: How can the mentoring field recruit more male mentors?

On July 18, the Collaborative Mentoring Webinar series explored the topic of recruiting male mentors. This has been a critical issue for the mentoring field for years, and the webinar touched on some specific strategies that programs have used to increase the response from men in their community. There was a lot of discussion about […]

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FORUM: Preparing mentees for their next mentors

There is widespread agreement that having mentors throughout our lives is a healthy and beneficial thing, providing us with the guidance, role modeling, and connections we need to successfully navigate life’s sometimes choppy waters. But to what degree do our youth mentoring programs prepare youth for having a lifetime full of mentors? Programs obviously put […]