Mentoring without borders: Three ways to join the international youth mentoring movement

By Jean Rhodes

Although the U.S. continues to account for the largest proportion of youth mentoring programs, many others have emerged across the globe, most notably in Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and, more recently, continental Europe.  In fact the European Centre for Evidence-Based Mentoring and a growing network of mentoring programs (e.g., Netzwerk Berliner kinderpatenschafen (Germany) in 2011, Coordinadora de Mentoria Social (Spain) in 2012, Union Nationale des Acteurs de Parrainage de Proximité in 2005 and Tous parrains in 2016 (France)) are spreading youth mentoring across Europe.  This growth is part of a broader trend.  In a recent cross-continental comparison (Preston, Prieto-Flores, & Rhodes, J., in press) we found that almost half of mentoring programs in the U.S. sample were established between 1989 and 1999, whereas, on the European side, growth was in step with immigration and refugee arrivals.  In both contexts, widening inequalities and economic austerity have led to greater need for mentoring services.  Further, European mentoring programs in our sample targeted older youth, with program support extending well past the age of 18.  Another distinction the European programs in our sample demonstrated in their mentoring approach is the explicit emphasis on the bi-directionality of mentoring benefits, particularly with regard to youth mentoring’s potential to promote intercultural understanding and friendships.

Short Course in the Netherlands

These and other topics will be the subject of discussion at the upcoming international Short Course in the Netherlands on the 7th and 8th of October sponsored by European Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring (CEBM).  Registration is still open so this is your opportunity to join this movement–and to learn from and meet Professors Renee Spencer, Tim Cavell, myself, and other leading experts from the U.S., the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Israel, Singapore, and beyond.  We will discuss program models as well as the challenges and rewards of adhering to best practice in ways that advance the lives of youth.  There are several networking events throughout the Short Course and already 70+ participants from Europe, North America, Australia and Asia have signed up.

European Mentoring Summit 

Also upcoming is the European Mentoring Summit 2020 in Barcelona, Spain – 18-20 March, 2020 (see details below) which will include world-renowned speakers, panels, workshops with creative experts, different sessions to exchange knowledge and tools, the opportunity to network in different spaces, as well as a cultural and social program.  Please, send your proposals before Sept. 30th 2019 here.

International Mentoring Research Network

If you are a researcher who can’t make the course or summit but want to be part of this international movement, please consider joining the International Mentoring Research Network.

This is your opportunity to connect with researchers around the globe.  Through this platform, you are free to submit announcements and also to make contributions to the forum if you wish.  Another interesting feature this platform facilitates is that you are able to see all registered researchers’ bios and information on what they are doing for future cooperation or interest.

So, please feel free to join this movement and learn from scholars and practitioners across the globe!