4 strategies (and 2 tools) to improve cultural competency in youth mentoring

Bernadette Sanchez

Bernadette Sanchez

by Bernadette Sánchez, PhD.

How can we overcome cultural mistrust in mentoring relationships? (see related post)

First, as staff get to know youth when they enter a mentoring program, it will be helpful to screen whether youth have cultural mistrust.  Practitioners can use this Cultural Mistrust Measure-Interpersonal Scale that we adapted to use with adolescents. This may help with the matching process and alert staff that the mentee and his/her relationship will need extra supports to overcome cultural mistrust.

Second, it may be helpful to screen mentors for cultural competency via validated tools. I suggest the Cross-Cultural Inventory Revised-Mentors.

Third, it may be helpful to match youth with high levels of cultural mistrust with mentors who are more culturally competent.

Finally, as a field, we need to figure out ways to provide opportunities and a safe space for youth and mentors to talk about race; how can we help youth debrief current events, such as those that occurred in Ferguson, MO, as well as mentees’ personal experiences with racism? Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and questions in the comments section.