FORUM: How do you assess the level of “risk” in your mentees?

388611984_7fb9de8706During last week’s webinar on the recent Role of Risk study, there was an excellent discussion about how to define “risk” in a young person’s life and how those factors might influence their mentoring relationship and even a program’s design and delivery. All young people face some level of risk or deal with a few personal challenges, but the youth who find their way to mentoring programs often have substantial risk factors in their life. The volume and severity of those risk factors can have enormous influence on their ability to work with a mentor or reap the benefits of the experience.

During the webinar, researchers Carla Herrera and David DuBois outlined the environmental and individual risk factors they looked at in their study and discussed the tool they used for assessing youths’ level of risk. That tool will be made available by Washington State Mentors later this summer, but you can see the factors they looked at in this chart.

This got me wondering: How do different mentoring programs assess the level of “risk” that youth bring to their program? Most ask certain questions on an application or during an initial interview with the youth or their parents. But what risk factors do they emphasize? Which ones matter for their program model? Do they use a formal assessment tool?

So how does your program measure the risk factors that youth have when they enter your program? And how do you use that information in forming and supporting their mentoring match? Feel free to share how your program thinks about, and assesses, youth risk in the comment section below.

[Photo courtesy of hoyasmeg.]