Written by Justin Preston
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership has just released its latest report, “The Power of Relationships: How and Why American Adults Step Up to Mentor the Nation’s Youth”. The report is considered to be “the most comprehensive picture of what adults think about mentoring kids who are not their own” according to MENTOR. You can find the full report here, as well as the overview of the key findings here.
The aims of the report fell along two lines: 1) Understanding adults’ attitudes surrounding mentoring youth outside of their families and where they saw mentoring’s role playing out in America’s future, and 2) using these findings to inform strategies seeking to drive the investment of time, money, and energy within the mentoring movement.
Some of the report’s key findings include:
Americans believe mentoring is critical to the nation’s future. Mentoring is seen as a strategy for improving the health of communities and making them more connected. In fact, two-thirds of adults believe in the importance of mentoring for young people, while estimating that only one in four youths has the mentor or mentors they need.
Support for public and private investment in mentoring exists in all corners of the United States. Whether they are serving as a mentor or not, almost all American adults feel that more mentoring is needed in America (9 out of 10 adults), and more than 8 out of 10 adults supporting increased government support for mentoring initiatives.
The opportunity to engage more adults to serve as mentors seems to be there. For those adults not currently involved in mentoring, many of the barriers they face stem from a simple lack of information on how to get involved in their communities through mentoring. Alternatively, some have cited the reason that they just haven’t been asked to serve as a mentor. That said, nearly 70% of all adults are either currently mentoring or would be willing to mentor a young person in some capacity.
For additional insight into the report, check out Youth Today’s review of the findings.
MENTOR’s efforts here are a welcome and much-needed look into why adults in the United States broadly do (and do not) elect to serve as a mentor to a young person in their community. There is certainly a lot to unpack in the full report, but from the key findings themselves it looks as though there is reason to be optimistic on the future potential of mentoring in this country.
As MENTOR’s President and CEO, David Shapiro, says, “The research shows what we see every day across the country but not enough in our national discourse: When adults are given a bridge, they are overwhelmingly willing to cross it for the young people in their communities. It also powerfully portrays the importance of training and supporting adults to be at their best when mentoring young people so we can maximize the positive results of these relationships.”