The impact of mentors on young people’s future success

November 21, 2018

There is a large body of evidence that supports the value of quality mentoring, including an analysis of more than 70 mentoring programs that found positive outcomes across social, emotional, behavioural, and academic areas of youth development.[1] Mentors help young people develop the protective factors that support resiliency by providing support, guidance, and opportunities.[2] This helps young people meet their goals and succeed in life. Unfortunately, the more risk factors a young person has, the less likely he or she is to have a naturally occurring mentor, but more likely to want one.[3] Facilitators at Two Wheel View act as mentors, inviting young people to take part in lessons that promote personal growth and development and lead to social and economic opportunity.

 

Relationships

 

Mentoring fosters positive social attitudes and relationships. Mentoring relationships help young people learn to set boundaries and expectations for other relationships in their lives by modeling positive interpersonal skills and helping improve communication skills. According to a study by Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, 87% of their youth mentees have strong social networks as a result of being in a mentoring relationship.[4] Another study found that mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them.[5] This results in healthier relationships and an improved sense of belonging.[6]

 

“Listening is the building block to being a good mentor.”

— Chris Ciulla

 

Education

 

Having a mentor has been shown to impact educational attainment in young people. These role models encourage better attitudes about school, promote attendance and, often indirectly, help young people to set higher educational goals. Students who meet regularly with a mentor are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class.[7] A further 81% of young mentees report having the financial literacy skills necessary to effectively plan for their futures.[8]

 

“Most of us don’t know everything. We need someone to which we can say “I’m not sure about this approach, can you help?”

 

— Alec Bashinsky, Global HR & Transformation Leader

 

Daily Life

 

Daily life can be a hard thing for a young person to navigate, but plenty of research shows that mentoring relationships positively impact the day-to-day choices youth make. This includes improved behaviour at home and school, healthier lifestyle choices and increased civic engagement. Of the young people involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada program, 98% believe they make good life choices, while 80% believe they pursue healthy lifestyles.[9] According to another study, kids with mentors are 46% less likely to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking than their peers without a mentor.[10] Kids with mentors are also 81% more likely to be active, regularly participating in sports or extracurricular activities than those who do not have a mentor.[11] Youth with mentors are also 13% more likely to donate to charity (and donate 20% more) and 50% more likely to volunteer.[12]

 

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

 

— Winston Churchill

 

Emotional

 

Having a mentor improves levels of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence.[13] One study found that the strongest benefit from mentoring was a reduction in symptoms of depression.[14] This was consistent across risk groups and shows that having a positive role model can influence the emotional experiences of young people. 

 

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” 

 

— Oprah Winfrey

 

Career

 

Mentors, both directly through discussion and indirectly through role modelling, encourage youth to expand their career interests, help them believe they can create their desired future and support them to take steps to achieve their goals. In addition to better school attendance and better attitudes toward school, mentored youth have a better chance of going on to higher education.[15] One study found that young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds who have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in post-secondary education than those who did not have a mentor.[16] In terms of the long-term outcomes of mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada have found that mentored youth are more likely to end up in employment, hold senior leadership positions and have a higher income.[17]

 

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” 

 

— Denzel Washington

 

Mentoring has a positive impact on youth, whether they are considered at-risk or not. In one study, nearly 95% of young adults who had formal mentoring relationships found these experiences helpful and 86% demonstrated an interest in becoming mentors themselves in the future.[18] This shows that not only does having a mentor provide benefits to young people in terms of their education, relationships, daily life, emotional behaviour and career, but it also shows that mentoring is linked with higher rates of leadership. At Two Wheel View, our facilitators work hard to ensure that each young person gets the unique support they require to help them build the skills and protective factors that lead to increased resilience and better future outcomes.    

 

“In order to be a mentor, and an effective one, one must care. You must care. You don’t have to know how many square miles are in Idaho, you don’t need to know what is the chemical makeup of chemistry, or of blood or water. Know what you know and care about the person, care about what you know and care about the person you’re sharing with.”

 — Maya Angelou

 

 

[1] MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. (2014). The Mentoring Effect: 

Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring 

Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/images/uploads/Report_TheMentoringEffect.pdf

 

[2] DuBois DL, Karcher M. Youth mentoring: Research, theory, and practice. In: Dubois DL, Karcher ML, editors. Handbook of Youth Mentoring. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2005. pp. 2–11.

 

[3] MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. (2014). The Mentoring Effect: 

Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring 

Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/images/uploads/Report_TheMentoringEffect.pdf

 

[4] Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. The Mentoring Effect. Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ROI_MentoringEffect_EN.pdf

 

[5] Herrera, DuBois & Grossman. (2013). The Role of Risk: Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles. Retrieved November 5, 2018. https://www.mdrc.org/publication/role-risk

 

[6] Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. Retrieved November 5, 2018. https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/what-we-do/

 

[7] MENTOR. Retrieved November 8, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/why-mentoring/mentoring-impact/

 

[8] Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. The Mentoring Effect. Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ROI_MentoringEffect_EN.pdf

 

[9] Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. The Mentoring Effect. Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ROI_MentoringEffect_EN.pdf

 

[10] MENTOR. Retrieved November 8, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/why-mentoring/mentoring-impact/

 

[11] MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. (2014). The Mentoring Effect: 

Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring 

Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/images/uploads/Report_TheMentoringEffect.pdf

 

[12] Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. The Mentoring Effect. Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ROI_MentoringEffect_EN.pdf

 

[13] MENTOR. Retrieved November 8, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/why-mentoring/mentoring-impact/

 

[14] Herrera, DuBois & Grossman. (2013). The Role of Risk: Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles. Retrieved November 5, 2018. https://www.mdrc.org/publication/role-risk

 

[15] Herrera, DuBois & Grossman. (2013). The Role of Risk: Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles. Retrieved November 5, 2018. https://www.mdrc.org/publication/role-risk

 

[16] MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. (2014). The Mentoring Effect: 

Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring 

Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/images/uploads/Report_TheMentoringEffect.pdf

 

[17] Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. The Mentoring Effect. Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ROI_MentoringEffect_EN.pdf

 

[18] MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. (2014). The Mentoring Effect: 

Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring 

Retrieved November 6, 2018. https://www.mentoring.org/images/uploads/Report_TheMentoringEffect.pdf

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