Youth mentoring is rapidly expanding across Europe: Here’s one reason

By Jean Rhodes, Òscar Prieto-Flores, & Justin Preston

The U.S. continues to account for the largest proportion of mentoring interventions in the world, but many new programs and networks have begun to emerge in continental Europe. There is a new European Centre for Evidence-Based Mentoring, and new programs such as Mentor·Ring Hamburg in 2010 and 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).

During this period, many European states have experienced significant population growths due to immigration. For example, the percentage of foreign-born population has especially increased in many countries in the 2005-2015 period reaching 18% in Sweden and Austria, 16% in Norway and Germany, 13% in Belgium and 12% in Spain and the Netherlands (EUROSTAT, 2017). This influx of immigrants and refugees has spurred a range of reactions in European citizenry and policy, including both panic and compassion.

In a forthcoming cross-continental comparison, 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. Since their inception, mentoring programs have often been implemented in response to the challenges of poverty and inequality and as a means of preventing problem behaviors and outcomes. In both contexts, widening inequalities and economic austerity have led to greater need for mentoring services. These and other topics will be the subject of discussion at the upcoming international short course on youth mentoring.

Please join us for an International Short Course sponsored by the UMB/MENTOR and European Centers for Evidence-Based Mentoring (CEBM) and Mass Mentoring (MMP).   This is your opportunity to join this movement–and to learn from and meet leading experts from the U.S., the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Russia, 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.