There is one universal truth for all youth, anywhere—and that is that any young person can benefit from a mentoring relationship. Whether your community is urban, ex-urban, suburban, or rural, the youth in your schools and neighborhoods could use a strong, positive role model. Likewise, each type of community comes with its own strengths and challenges related to mentoring; the key for program staff is to identify opportunities and anticipate barriers to meet the unique needs of your community while still adhering to best practices.
Rural communities have their own unique set of strengths and challenges, especially when working with young people. Close-knit neighborhoods, strong family support systems, and a strong community ethic combine with scarcity of resources, lack of opportunities, and vast geographical service areas to form social systems that require a tailored approach to service delivery. This is especially true when volunteerism is critical – as with mentoring.
The purpose of this toolkit is to address these specific challenges and build on the work that excellent rural mentoring programs are doing in the field. We talked to mentoring program staff across the country, and one thing that was apparent is that for some of the challenges programs face, there’s no “cure.” For example, vast areas will remain vast for the most part; but by planning and thinking strategically, staff can alleviate the burden that those distances can bring. Then there are other challenges that can be mitigated more easily. The resources presented here are a first step toward finding solutions to those challenges.
To access the toolkit, click here!
June 9, 2018 – The mentoring kit link above is not working currently and we will update the link once the kit is available.