Posts

Are supportive relationships enough? The great debate continues

by Jean Rhodes In their provocative new paper, Back to the Future: Mentoring as Means and End in Promoting Child Mental Health, mentoring experts Tim Cavell, Renée Spencer & Sam D. McQuillin make the case for several approaches, including the “supportive mentoring” approach, wherein the “mentoring relationship is not intended as a targeted intervention designed to produce […]

Now more than ever: Best practices for working with immigrant youth

by Jean Rhodes Editor’s note: Mentors who are working with the many immigrant children in our country are, no doubt, concerned about the immigration-related policies of the former administration, including its the anti-immigration rhetoric and hate incidents/speech of recent months. Although President Biden is seeking to reverse many of the measures, and restore DACA, the policies […]

Making the case for paraprofessional mentoring …40 years ago

by Jean Rhodes In 1979, a young psychology professor named Joseph Durlak published a controversial study in Psychological Bulletin that sent ripples through the helping professions. What Joe sought to do was to combine all published studies that had compared the outcomes of experienced psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers with those of paraprofessionals (i.e., nonexpert, […]

“There are four things I think you can do to change the world”

by Jean Rhodes Originally posted in 2017 I once took a year’s leave from academia to serve as a match coordinator in a Boston-based mentoring program. One evening I found myself sitting on the edge of a couch in a subsidized apartment conducting an intake with nine year old Kayla and her mom. Kayla’s toddler brother played […]

Five strategies for making stronger connections, backed by research

by Jean Rhodes Care for some direct, research-based ideas for connecting with others?  I’d recommend a book that distills the essential findings of many studies.  Friend and Foe, by Business Professors Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer or Columbia and University of Pennsylvania, respectively. Compiled by Eric Barker, the authors provide evidence-based strategies for handling the everyday relationship tensions and difficulties. Some […]

From “out of the park” mentoring relationships to consistent, evidence-based approaches

by Jean Rhodes For years, I was stubbornly convinced that formal mentoring programs should focus mostly on creating and maintaining deep, emotional bonds. I saw attempts to scale back on relationship length and strength, or to rely on curricula, as existential threats to the field–destined to reduce already modest effects. But, evaluations and meta-analyses of […]

Complicated lives, complicated excuses

by Jean Rhodes I maintain an email file of the student excuses I’ve received in my 20 years as a professor at UMass Boston. Some are predictable for college students, “I spilled coke on my computer and it turned off and won’t come back on,” or “This is embarrassing but I was several pages into […]

What do Americans think (and do) about mentoring?: Important new report sheds light

by Jean Rhodes and Matthew Hagler With the release of a comprehensive new report on the scope of both structured and informal mentoring, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership has provided the field with important new data about the scope of mentoring in the United States. This report advances our understanding in several important ways. First, […]

New study shows lifelong influence of mentors: But there’s a catch

 by Jean E. Rhodes It almost goes without saying that natural mentors can be enormously influential– from early childhood through adolescence and early adulthood (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Lerner & Theocas, 2006; Erickson et al., 2015). But, because such relationships can not be randomly assigned, it is actually a bit difficult to untangle their causes from […]

The Science is Clear: Separating Families has Long-term Damaging Psychological and Health Consequences for Children, Families, and Communities

Editor’s Note: Given national events, and our field’s commitment to the lives of vulnerable youth, I devote this week’s column to an expert statement by from the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) on the effects of separating families. To read the statement by David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR, on behalf of the National […]