Displaying items by tag: Relationship development

MARCH 15, 2017
BY: ED BOWERS, PH.D, NMRC RESEARCH BOARD MEMBER, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY

Editor's Note: Several members of the NMRC Research Board participated in the 2017 National Mentoring Summit this past February, leading a research track that featured OJJDP-funded research and totaled 13 workshops across the multi-day event. We asked several Research Board members to share their key insights from the event based on a workshop they lead, an innovation they learned about, or a conversation they had with an attendee that made them think about the mentoring field in a new light. We will run several of these stories over the months of March and April in the NMRC blog to bring the Summit to life for those who could not attend.

A cross-cutting theme of the 2017 National Mentoring Summit was the role of law enforcement in the mentoring movement. Several workshop sessions provided exemplary programs and innovative ideas for engaging law enforcement in mentoring, and the closing plenary session focused on “Strengthening Community and Police Relations through Mentoring.” I think this emphasis is quite appropriate as law enforcement-based mentoring programs find themselves at a unique nexus in the fields of mentoring, career development, and community development, particularly in communities of color. Police are very aware of the needs of youth in their communities. They also recognize that they “cannot arrest their way out of the problem,” but need to take a different approach to build relationships with youth beyond legal encounters. Therefore, police-as-mentor programs are timely and well-positioned to benefit youth and communities in several ways.

Published in NMRC Blog
Thursday, 19 July 2018 16:23

LGBTQ Spotlight: Queer* Therapeutic Services

JULY 19, 2018
BY: LUCA PAX AND RP WHITMORE-BARD, QUEER ASTERISK THERAPEUTIC SERVICES
LGBTQMENTOR is shining a light on LGBTQ mentoring. In the process, we have asked prominent and impactful LGBTQ serving organizations to write about the communities they serve and the methods they use to reach and teach LGBTQ mentees.

As queer and trans people, we are incredibly resilient but we are also a vulnerable population. In recent decades, an increase in queer and trans visibility has made the world a better place for us to live. Still, the following has been recently reported:

Between 20-30% of transgender people struggle with addiction compared to an estimated 9% of the general population. (The Center for American Progress)

Published in NMRC Blog
 
  • Description of Resource:

    The LGBTQ Supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ outlines step-by-step operations guidance to developing safer, more affirming, and responsive mentoring relationships for LGBTQ youth. This resource contains specific recommendations for practices that are informed by the findings from a working group and the innovations of 20 Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Affiliates as well as by available research. The guide focuses on ways to improve program staff and participants’ awareness to serving the needs of LGBTQ youth; the need to prioritize safety and confidentiality in working with LGBTQ youth; and guidance on how to enhance program practices and capacity without stretching resources when considering the implementation of the recommendations.

    Goals:

    To provide mentoring programs with research- and practitioner-informed standards and recommendations to develop and support safer, affirming, and responsive mentoring relationships for LGBTQ youth.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    Mentoring programs.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    All

    Key Personnel:

    N/A

    Additional Information:

    The LGBTQ Supplement is part of MENTOR’s series of supplements to the cornerstone publication, Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™.

    This publication was supported by a grant from The Altria Group.

  • Resource Name:

    LGBTQ Supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™

    Publisher/Source:

    MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership & Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

    Authors:

    Michael Garringer, Christian Rummell, Jennifer Bourgoin, Hillary Bardwell, Jessica Mitchell

    Date of Publication:

    January 2019

    Resource Type:

    Program Management Resources








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource can be accessed freely online: https://www.mentoring.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/MENTOR_LGBTQ-Supplement-to-EEP-for-Mentoring.pdf

















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: N/A



























LGBTQ Supplement

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

 
  • Description of Resource:

    This fact sheet, created by the U.S. Department of Education’s Mentoring Resource Center, offers recommendations to mentoring practitioners and mentors themselves for engaging mentees in school-based mentoring programs, and suggests strategies for maintaining mentoring relationships during mentees’ transition from elementary to middle school. It highlights developmental considerations for early adolescence that can inform mentoring approaches as well as different options for program models that support students during this transition. Finally, this resource offers specific tips and tools for mentors of students in this age range, and a list of additional resources for mentors and program staff.

    Goals:

    To educate mentors and program staff about the needs of students as they transition from elementary to middle school.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    School-based mentoring program staff and/or mentors, serving students transitioning from elementary to middle school.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    Training, Monitoring and Support, Closure

    Key Personnel:

    N/A

    Additional Information:

    Additional research on school-based mentoring has been published since the development of this resource. Three large scale studies of the effectiveness of school-based mentoring programs are reviewed and summarized by Wheeler et al. (2010). Please also note that several of the web links included in the fact sheet are no longer active.

    This publication was funded by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education under contract number ED04CO0091/0001 with EMT Associates, Inc. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government. See page 10 of this resource for more information about its publication.

  • Resource Name:

    Making the Transition to Middle School Fact Sheet

    Publisher/Source:

    U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center

    Author:

    U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center

    Date of Publication:

    September 2008

    Resource Type:

    Program Management Resources








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource can be accessed freely online in PDF form, at: http://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/making-the-transition-to-middle-school.pdf

















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: N/A



























Making the Transition to Middle School

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

 
  • Evidence Rating for this Practice:

    Insufficient Research

    Description of Practice:

    Matching strategies informed by participant characteristics involves the intentional use of information about mentor and mentee characteristics to inform the mentor-mentee matching process. Characteristics considered can vary and may include (but are not limited to) gender, race, ethnicity, disability, social class, personality, interests/hobbies, goals, strengths, areas of identified need, and life experiences of the mentor and mentee. Both similarities and differences in these types of characteristics between mentors and mentees may be used to inform the matching process (Pryce et al., 2014). Examples of specific strategies to facilitate or support use of information about mentor and mentee information in the matching process include (but, again, are not limited to) the use of matching criteria or guidelines, surveying mentors and mentees to assess their interests or preferences, soliciting and incorporating youth input into the matching decision, engaging parents in the matching process (e.g. pre-match meetings with parents to gather information on youth characteristics), use of technology (e.g., algorithms based on compatibility scores; Pryce et al., 2014), and staff training related to matching procedures. This practice is consistent with recommended benchmarks for Matching and Initiating standards in the Elements of Effective Practice for MentoringTM (Garringer, Kupersmidt, Rhodes, Stelter, & Tai, 2015). However, it is distinguished from other matching strategies that do not focus on use of information about the characteristics of mentors and mentees (e.g., compatibility of availability schedules, geographic proximity) as well as those that are geared toward initial development of the mentoring relationship (e.g., program-facilitated initial meeting between mentor and mentee). It also does not include ongoing match support practices that involve assessing match compatibility for purposes such as determining the potential need for match closure or re-matching.

    Goals:

    The primary goal of the practice is to use information about the characteristics of mentors and mentees to inform matching decisions.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    This practice is potentially applicable to all forms of mentoring and the full range of youth who may be served by mentoring programs.

    Theory and Background Research:

    A variety of theoretical perspectives, such as attachment theory and similarity-attraction theory, suggest that both complementary and similar characteristics between mentors and youth have the potential to contribute to more successful mentoring relationships (Liang, Bogat, & Duffy, 2014; Pryce, Kelly, & Guidone, 2014). Similarity-attraction theory, for example, suggests that the more similar a youth-mentor perceive each other to be, the more they like each other (Ensher & Murphy, 1997).

    Research relevant to this practice (excluding the studies that are the focus of this evidence review) includes studies that have examined whether similarity between mentees and mentors along various dimensions is associated with differences in relationship or mentee outcomes. In a study of 45 BBBS affiliates with data in the Agency Information Management system, it was found that 78% of programs considered mentor and mentee characteristics (e.g. shared interests) when making matches (Kupersmidt et al., 2016). However, this matching practice did not predict match longevity. Similarly, research not indicated differential relationship or mentee outcomes in relation to whether mentors and mentees are of the same gender or share the same racial or ethnic group (Liang et al., 2014, Kanchewa et al., 2014; DuBois et al., 2002; Grossman & Rhodes, 2002; Park et al., 2016; Sanchez et al., 2014).

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    This practice is most relevant to the area of Matching within the Elements of Effective Practice.

    Key Personnel:

    None.

    Additional Information:

    None.

  • Study 1

    Evidence Classification: Insufficient Research

    Evaluation Methodology:

    DuBois et al (2011) examined the practice of matching informed by participant characteristics in a meta-analysis of 73 evaluations of youth mentoring programs published between 1999 and 2010. (Meta-analysis is a technique for synthesizing and summarizing findings across evaluations of similar, but not identical research studies. One question often addressed in meta-analyses is whether the effects of a certain kind of program, like youth mentoring, differ based on the specific types of practices that are utilized. A correlation between the use of a practice and program effectiveness does not, generally speaking, provide definitive evidence of a causal effect of that practice; one reason for this is that programs that do or do not utilize a particular practice may differ in other important ways, not all of which can be controlled for statistically.) Programs or interventions were categorized as mentoring programs if their goal was to promote positive youth outcomes using “specific non-parental adults (or older youth) who are acting in a nonprofessional helping capacity”; the review thus considered evaluations of programs with a wide variety of formats and settings. Analyses were based on 82 independent samples because some studies contributed more than one sample. To be included, the evaluations needed to utilize a two-group randomized control or quasi-experimental design. By comparing changes in outcomes for mentored youth to non-mentored youth, such designs help to avoid the potential error of attributing changes in outcomes that occur due to normal development to effects of the mentoring program. Evaluations of programs where mentoring was provided in combination with other interventions were not included in the meta-analysis, unless the effect of the mentoring component could be isolated.

    Mentoring program effect sizes were estimated for youth outcomes that could fall within any of the six domains: academic/school, attitudinal/motivation, social/relational, psychological/emotions, conduct problems, and physical health. All effect sizes were based on outcomes assessed at the end of the program. Where pretest data were available (53 of the samples), they were subtracted from posttest outcomes to adjust for potential differences between mentoring and comparison groups at baseline. Analyses were conducted under the assumption of a random effects model. Effect sizes were computed as standardized mean differences (specifically Hedge’s g) and were coded so that positive values for outcomes indicated effects in the desired direction (e.g. less delinquent behavior). The meta-analysis included a comparison of effect sizes for programs that used similarity of interests to inform mentor-youth matching (8 samples) and those for which this practice was not evident (74 samples). Prior to testing for differences in effect size in relation to this and other program characteristics, potential effects of study quality on effect sizes were assessed and effect sizes were residualized on those variables to control for their influence. Differences in effect sizes in relation to program characteristics, such as matching based on interests, that reached (p < .05) or approached (p < .10) significance were reported.

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Program Effect Size
    DuBois et al (2011) found that mentoring programs that used interest information to inform matching of mentors and mentees had larger estimated effects on youth outcomes than those that did not include the practice. Programs that had matching based on interests had an estimated effect size of .41 (95% confidence range of .25 to .57), whereas those without evidence of the practice had an estimated effect size of .20 (95% confidence range of .17 to .23). This difference was found to be statistically significant.

    Additional Findings
    A stepwise regression analysis was used to determine if using interest information to inform matching earned entry into a best-fitting model for predicting estimated effect size in which all program characteristics tested in the meta-analysis were considered. Matching informed by information on mentee and mentor interests earned entry into the best-fitting model, indicating that this program practice was associated with stronger estimated program effects on youth outcomes independent of its overlap with the other variables that also earned entry.


    Study 2: Insufficient Research

    Evaluation Methodology:

    Ensher & Murphy (1997) examined the practice of matching informed by participant characteristics in an experimental study among youth interns participating in an 8-week summer job training program within a West coast media organization. Participating youth, who were characterized as low opportunity (based on socioeconomic status) and high potential (based on active involvement with a community agency), were recruited from a pool of approximately 16 community service agencies. The goals of the mentoring program were to provide interns with an adult role model who offers friendship and guidance in an informal manner, is empathetic of someone in a first or second job experience, and is willing to listen and be accessible. Mentors were employees in a variety of departments and organizational levels who volunteered to mentor interns and were committed for the 8-week program duration. Mentors were expected to meet with their mentees once a week. Mentors attended a 2-hour training session that provided information regarding their role as a mentor and provided them with a realistic preview of their experience.

    One hundred and four interns participated in the program at the time of the study. Interns ranged in age from 16 to 22 and were ethnically and racially diverse (39% Latino, 25% African-American, 24% Asian, 3% Native-American, 4% multi-racial, and 4% ‘other’). Mentors were predominantly Caucasian (45%); 28 percent were African-American, 15 percent were Latino, 4 percent were Asian, 3 percent were multi-racial, 2 percent were Native-American, and 3 percent categorized themselves as ‘‘other.’’ The average mentor was a college graduate and 62% were professionals or managers. Same-gender mentor matching resulted in 43 male and 61 female mentor and intern pairs. Youth were randomly assigned to one of two types of mentor-race pairings – same-race mentor or different-race mentor.

    Data were collected from interns and their mentors during their first and last weeks of employment (i.e., baseline and post-intervention, respectively); 79 percent of participating youth and 67 percent of mentors completed both surveys. Twenty-six same-race and 50 different-race pairs completed both assessments. Caucasian mentors with minority interns made up 66 percent (n=33) of the different-race mentoring pairs, whereas Black mentors with different-race interns made up 10 percent (n=5). The racial pairing of mentors and interns resulted in 12 male pairs and 14 female pairs of the same race and 19 male pairs and 31 female pairs of different race. A series of t tests on each of the outcomes of interest revealed no significant differences between interns with Caucasian mentors and those with non-Caucasian mentors.

    Surveys collected data on liking between intern and mentor, type of mentoring support, perceived similarity between intern and mentor, likelihood of maintaining relationship, frequency of contact, and satisfaction with mentor. Liking between mentor and mentee was measured using the following two items: ”I like my mentor/protégé very much as a person” and ‘‘I think my mentor/protégé would make a good friend”; responses were scaled from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) and summed to form a composite score. A modified version of the Mentor Functions Scales (Noe, 1988) was used to assess the extent to which mentors provided psychosocial and instrumental/career support. A 5-item scale was used to measure perceived similarity of mentor/mentee. Example questions are: ”My mentor/protégé and I see things in much the same way,” and ”My mentor/protégé was similar in terms of our outlook, perspective, and values”; responses were scaled from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) and summed to form a composite score. Frequency of contact was assessed using the following question: ”On average, how many hours a week have you had contact with your mentor/protégé since the first time you met your mentor/protégé?” Possible response categories were: ”Less than 1 hour a week”, ”1–3 hours a week”, ”4–5 hours a week”, ”6–8 hours a week”, and ”More than 8 hours a week”. Likelihood of maintaining the relationship was assessed using the following question: ”How likely do you think is it that you will stay in contact with your mentor after the program is over?” Responses to this item ranged from very unlikely (1) to very likely (5). In addition, mentors and interns were asked to list any reasons that they felt contributed to whether they would stay in touch with one another. Finally, interns also reported on their satisfaction with their mentor using the following three items: ”I effectively utilized my mentor to help me develop,” ”My mentor met my expectations,” and ”I felt satisfied with my mentor”; responses were scaled from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) and summed to form a composite score.

    Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test whether mentor-reported liking between mentor and intern and intern-reported receipt of mentor support functions differed across same-race and different-race pairings of interns and mentors. Furthermore, all mentor-reported outcome variables were entered into a multivariate ANOVA to determine whether there was an overall effect of race-pairing across all of these outcomes; based on a significant effect of race-pairing in this MANOVA, univariate ANOVAs were conducted to test for effects on each mentor-reported outcomes. Because the race-pairing effect for corresponding MANOVA for youth-report measures was not statistically significant, follow-up univariate ANOVAs were not conducted for these outcomes.


    Study 3: Insufficient Research

    Evaluation Methodology:

    Sowers et al. (2016) examined the practice of matching informed by participant characteristics in a randomized trial of a STEM mentoring program for students with disabilities. Eligible students were those in Grades 9 to 11 in an urban school district and had an Individual Education Plan or a 504 Plan. Students were enrolled across two waves. A total of 78 students were enrolled in the study; 70 completed all data assessments. Students were stratified across 3 disability groups (those with physical and sensory disabilities; specific learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and cognitive impairment; emotional, mental health, autism spectrum) and across 2 STEM engagement groups (those who participated in at least one STEM extracurricular activity in the past year and those who had not) and randomly assigned to one of three study conditions – mentor with a disability, mentor without a disability, or control. One parent or caregiver for each student also participated in the study.

    Students in the two intervention groups (mentor with disability, mentor without disability) were matched with an adult mentor of the same gender. Mentors were recruited from STEM postsecondary education programs and community businesses. Interested individuals completed applications, which asked about the presence and type of disabilities experienced, as well as criminal history background checks and interviews. Matches were informed by student preferences related to STEM interest areas and mentor personality and an attempt was made to match students in the mentor with disability group a mentor who experienced similar disability-related challenges. Mentors were provided with a guidebook that delineated the discussions and activities in which they were expected to engage with their assigned student. Mentors in each intervention group (mentors with disabilities and mentors without disabilities) participated in separate group orientation meetings so as to maintain the integrity of the two mentor groups, during which they reviewed the guidebook and logistics regarding planning mentor-mentee meetings and activities, transportation, safety guidelines, and communication. Mentors also received training on providing psychological support and relationship building as well as disability-related information (e.g., accommodations available at school or work).

    Mentors were asked to meet with students twice a month for six months; nine of these meetings were activities planned by the mentor and student and three of the meetings were group workshops planned by project staff and included a presentation about a STEM topic and interactive activity. During individual student-mentor meetings, mentors were expected to engage students in activities and discussions related to the following five topic areas and in doing so to discuss career development strategies related to each topic area at least once:

    • How to choose a STEM career you may wish to pursue.
    • How to prepare for a STEM career in high school.
    • How to get into a STEM college program.
    • How to complete a STEM college degree.
    • How to get a STEM job.

    Mentors also were asked to do each of the following activities with their mentees at least once:

    • Arrange for a job shadow at the place of work of the mentor or another STEM professional.
    • Visit a local STEM college program.
    • Meet with a STEM organization or club and encourage the student to join it and/or others.
    • Find STEM internship opportunities, review the application processes, and encourage the mentee to apply for one.
    • Spend one meeting doing a relationship building fun activity that was not necessarily focused on STEM.
    • Review the mentee’s high school transcript and create a plan for future high school STEM classes.
    • Meet with the mentee’s family to share what they had done together, what the mentee had learned from these experiences, and the mentee’s future plans.

    Project staff provided telephone support and coaching to mentors prior to and after each activity and collected information on the activities and discussions mentors engaged in with students during these calls using a mentoring fidelity checklist.

    Participating students and their parents completed assessments at three time points – before random assignment (baseline) and approximately 6 months later (post-intervention) 10 months (follow-up) after the baseline assessment. Students completed a 5-item STEM Activity Knowledge Questionnaire, which assessed their knowledge of activities they can do to pursue a STEM field in high school, postsecondary education, and a job. Students responded to questions in writing or orally and their responses were scored based on how closely they matched answers on a scoring template; responses could receive a maximum of five points for each question. Students also completed the following measures:

    • STEM Self-Efficacy Scale - An 8-item measure assessing the degree to which students believe they will do well in STEM classes in high school, get into college and do well in STEM college courses, get and do well in a STEM job, as well as their ability to successfully deal with difficulties they encounter in these situations (example questions are “I will do well in STEM classes in high school”, and “If I have trouble with an STEM class I will be able to figure out how to deal with it”).
    • STEM Career Planning Confidence Scale - A 26-item measure assessing students’ confidence that they can do STEM-related career planning activities (e.g., “Make a list of STEM classes that you need to prepare for the STEM job you want to do”).
    • Disability-Related Self-Efficacy Scale - An 8-item measure assessing the extent to which students believe they have the capabilities to achieve desired outcomes (not specific to STEM) made more difficult by their disability (e.g., “I do a good job at getting the help I need”).
    • Career Planning Self-Efficacy Scale - A 13-item measure assessing students’ confidence in completing career choice making activities that were not specific to STEM (e.g., “Talk to a person already employed in a field I am interested in”).

    Parents rated their confidence in their children’s ability to do STEM-related career planning activities using a parent version of the STEM Career Planning Confidence scale. Both the student and his or her parent reported on the youth’s level of engagement in STEM activities that were not for school credit (e.g. clubs, internships, after-school classes, etc.) between assessments points. Students and parents also completed a survey at post-intervention to assess their perceptions of the utility of and satisfaction with the program.

    General linear mixed model regression analyses compared baseline outcome measures with the average of post-intervention and follow-up scores across youth in the intervention and control groups. To assess whether the effects of the intervention diminished after the end of the intervention, analyses also compared post-intervention measures with follow-up measures. Effect sizes were calculated.

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Reviewed Findings
    Sowers et al. (2016) found no significant differences between students matched with mentors with disabilities and those assigned to mentors without disabilities on any of the outcomes measured.

  • External Validity Evidence:

    Variations in the Practice
    Each of the reviewed studies addresses the implications of whether mentors and mentees were paired so as to be similar to one another on a selected characteristic. The characteristics considered vary and include mentor and mentee interests (DuBois et al., 2011), disability status (Sowers et al., 2016), and racial or ethnic background (Ensher & Murphy, 1997). Available studies do not address utilization of information on other types of mentor and mentee characteristics (e.g., personality) or the potential effectiveness of strategies other than those focused on ensuring similarity or compatibility of the mentor and mentee on a single characteristic (e.g., training of staff to utilize information on a range of mentor and mentee characteristics to inform matching decisions). In sum, the studies reviewed examine only a limited portion of the full range of possible strategies that could be used for this practice.

    Youth
    Studies reviewed varied in the characteristics of youth involved in the evaluated programs. One study focused on youth with disabilities (Sowers et al., 2016), whereas another (Ensher & Murphy, 1997) focused on youth who were from low socioeconomic backgrounds but had high levels of community involvement. The DuBois et al. (2011) study had a broader scope and thus included studies of samples of youth that varied along dimensions such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Other than testing for differences in effects of the practice across male and female mentor/mentee pairings in one study (Ensher & Murphy, 1997), studies did not test for possible differences in effects of the practice across differing subgroups of youth. There are also too few studies available to make informed comparisons of findings across studies with respect to possible implications of youth characteristics for effectiveness of this practice.

    Mentors
    Studies investigating the possible effects of matching informed by participant characteristics included mentors with varying characteristics, including age (adult and adolescent), disability status, and career fields or industries (e.g., STEM). Other than testing for differences in effects of the practice across male and female mentor/mentee pairings in one study (Ensher & Murphy, 1997), studies did not test for possible differences in effects of the practice across differing subgroups of mentors. There are also too few studies available to make informed comparisons of findings across studies with respect to possible implications of mentor characteristics for effectiveness of this practice.

    Program Settings/Structures
    Studies included in the DuBois et al. (2011) meta-analysis evaluated mentoring programs with varying structures and that were delivered in a range of different types of settings, including those taking place within the community and those occurring at school as well as those using either a one-on-one or group format. The program evaluated in the Ensher & Murphy (1997) study was delivered within the workplace and the one evaluated in the Sowers et al. (2016) study took place within a community setting. None of the studies tested for evidence of possible differences in effects of the practice on the basis of program characteristics. There are also too few studies available to make informed comparisons of findings across studies with respect to possible implications of program setting or structure.

    Outcomes
    The DuBois et al. (2011) meta-analysis investigated the potential effects of matching informed by participant characteristics on a range of youth outcomes, including delinquency, aggression, substance use, academic achievement, social skills, self-esteem, and obesity. Estimated effect sizes were collapsed across all categories of outcomes, however, when testing for potential effects of the practice. Sowers et al. (2016) assessed effects of the program on STEM related outcomes (e.g., STEM self-efficacy, career preparation, etc.) and Ensher & Murphy (1997) tested for impact on features of the mentoring relationship (e.g., liking between mentor and mentee, satisfaction with mentor, etc.). Overall, available findings provide only a limited basis for understanding potential effects of this practice on the range of outcomes of potential interest.

  • Resources Available to Support Implementation:

    Resources to support implementation of matching strategies informed by participant characteristics can be found under the Resources section of this website. These include:

    The ABCs of School Based Mentoring – This guidebook offers information that can be used at the individual school or district levels to inform the design and implementation of school-based mentoring program, including information on making matches.

    Generic Mentoring Program and Procedure Manual – This resource provides a template for a mentoring program to create its own customized manual to guide both policies and day-to-day services, including guidelines related to developing matching policies and procedures.



















  • Evidence Base:

    DuBois, D. L., Portillo, N., Rhodes, J. E., Silverthorn, N., & Valentine, J. C. (2011). How effective are mentoring programs for youth? A systematic assessment of the evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 12, 57-91. https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100611414806

    Ensher, E. A., & Murphy, S. E. (1997). Effects of race, gender, perceived similarity, and contact on mentor relationships. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 50, 460–481. https://doi.org/10.1006/jvbe.1996.1547

    Sowers, J., Powers, L., Schmidt, J., Keller, T. E., Turner, A., Salazar, A., & Swank, P. R. (2016). A randomized trial of a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics mentoring program. Career Development and Transitions for Exceptional Individuals, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1177/2165143416633426

    Additional References:

    Cavell, T. A. (n.d.). DuBois, D. L., Holloway, B. E., Valentine, J. C., & Cooper, H. (2002). Effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth: A meta-analytic review. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30, 157–197. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014628810714

    Garringer, M., Kupersmidt, J., Rhodes, J., Stelter, R., & Tai, T. (2015). Elements of effective practice for mentoring (4th ed.). Boston, MA: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.

    Grossman. J. B., & Rhodes, J. E. (2002). The test of time: Predictors and effects of duration in youth mentoring relationships. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30, 199–219. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014680827552

    Kanchewa, S. S., Rhodes, J. E., Schwartz, S. E. O., & Olsho, L. E. W. (20114). An investigation of same- versus cross-gender matching for boys in formal school-based mentoring programs. Applied Developmental Science, 18, 31–45. http://doi.org/10.1080/10888691.2014.876251

    Kupersmidt J. B., Stump K. N., Stelter R. L., & Rhodes J. E. (2017). Mentoring program practices as predictors of match longevity. Journal of Community Psychology, 45, 630–645. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.21883

    Liang, B., Bogat, A., & Duffy, N. (2014). Gender in mentoring relationships. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (2nd ed., pp. 159–173). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

    Noe, R. A. (1988). An investigation of the determinants of successful assigned mentoring relationships. Personnel Psychology, 41, 457–479. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1988.tb00638.x

    Park, H., Yoon, J., & Crosby, S. D. (2016). A pilot study of Big Brothers Big Sisters programs and youth development: An application of critical race theory. Children and Youth Services Review, 61, 83-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.12.010

    Pryce, J., Kelly, M. S., & Guidone, S. R. (2014). Mentor and youth matching. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (2nd ed., pp. 427-438). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

    Raposa, E. B., Rhodes, J. E., & Herrera, C. (2016). The impact of youth risk on mentoring relationship quality: Do mentor characteristics matter? American Journal of Community Psychology, 57: 320–329 https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12057

    Sanchez, B., Colon-Torres, Y., Feuer, R., Roundfield, K. E., & Berardi, L. (2014). Race, ethnicity, and culture in mentoring relationships. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (2nd ed., pp. 145–158). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Insights for Practitioners

Click here for additional insights and tips for those working in, developing, or funding programs that may use this practice.

*Note: The National Mentoring Resource Center makes these “Insights for Mentoring Practitioners” available for each program or practice reviewed by the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. Their purpose is to give mentoring professionals additional information and understanding that can help them apply reviews to their own programs. You can read the full review on the National Mentoring Resource Center website.


Practitioners may be surprised that the evidence behind this practice has been rated here as “insufficient research” since the vast majority of mentoring programs do seemingly take things like race and ethnicity, similar interests, shared personal backgrounds and experiences, and other personal traits into consideration when matching youth and volunteers⎯this arguably has been a cornerstone practice of mentoring programs for decades. But what this review highlights as much as anything is how rarely this practice has actually been tested in controlled experiments. In fact, one could argue that this practice is so ubiquitous that it’s prevented researchers from taking much of a look at it. Only three studies met the criteria established by our NMRC Research Board.

But let’s take a closer look at those studies as they provide some positive news and hints for practitioners on how to weigh participant characteristics when making matches.

1. Characteristics matter when matching, but the devil is in the details.

Keep in mind that many successful programs do match along these considerations, as noted quite well in the 2011 meta-analysis. The broadest evidence that this practice has real meaning for match success comes from the 2011 meta-analysis by DuBois and colleagues. This combined analysis of several mentoring program evaluations compared the results of programs that took similarity of mentor and mentee interests into account I matching decisions with those that did not (or at least, appeared not to). The former programs tend to show larger estimated impacts on youth outcomes. Notably, the practice also “earned entry” into a best-fitting prediction equation that took into consideration the potential contributions of many other meaningful program practices (e.g., mentor training).

Given the evidence to suggest the importance of this matching strategy, why is the overall rating so ambiguous about the value?

The other two studies discussed in the review further highlight how little we know about how specific characteristics matter when making matches. These two studies both tried to isolate what was considered to be a key characteristic in the programs in question: race in a program designed to interest youth in careers in media (particularly from minority groups that might be underrepresented in media careers); disability in a program designed to encourage youth with disabilities to consider STEM careers. These studies tested whether same-race matches and matches where mentor and mentees shared disability status, respectively, were more effective across many outcomes than matches where mentors and mentees differed on those dimensions. Nether study found much of any meaningful difference in terms of either match or youth outcomes when comparing these groups.

One implication of these results for practitioners is that when we look at the value of any one participant characteristic in isolation, we may not find much evidence for matching along that one variable alone. Mentoring relationships, like all human relationships, are complicated things that are influenced by many, many factors. Single characteristics like a shared ethnicity or a mutual love of basketball, for example, in a given program may be important, but only one of many factors that contribute to the success of a match. Shared race may not matter all that much if they two don’t have anything in common and personalities that don’t mesh. So a study that tries to focus on the importance of any one characteristic as the determining factor may not find much compared to thinking about multiple characteristics working in concert.

It’s also worth noting that this review’s definition of participant characteristics also excluded other more logistical matching considerations that many practitioners would likely say are critically important for helping to ensure more frequent and longer match activities, such as compatible schedules for meeting and geographic proximity. Although not quite qualifying as “personal characteristics” such logistical factors might outweigh everything else when it comes to making a successful match. A pair that struggles to meet because of logistics seems almost doomed to fail in spite of how well their personal traits match up on paper.

Keeping this in mind, programs might be best taking a tiered approach to thinking about match-making: Starting with an initial filter of meeting compatibility and logistical “fit” and then moving on to factoring in the types of personal characteristics that the program’s theory of change suggest might be meaningful (for example, shared ethnicity in a program designed to help recent immigrants from many cultures integrate into a new community). Even then, the findings of this review suggest that programs will be well-advised in the absence of robust supporting evidence to not assume the importance of any particular personal characteristics for positive match or outcomes, even when doing so may seem quite logical (e.g., disability status in a program for youth with disabilities).

Programs likewise should refrain from assuming that the “insufficient research” rating of this review gives them license to ignore the intersection of personal characteristics of mentors and mentees when matching. If anything, the three studies viewed as a whole beg for even more careful consideration of what characteristics might matter most for what a program is trying to achieve.

2. Remember that good matching starts with good recruitment.

It can be impossible to match effectively across participant characteristics if your program has recruited individuals who don’t possess the right characteristics in the first place. Although many mentoring programs are willing to take any caring adult who can pass the safety checks and participate fully in training and the match itself, other programs may need to be much more intentional in their recruitment. They may find that there are critical personal characteristics⎯a particular background or experience from their own childhood, for example⎯that seem to not only make matching to the youth they serve easier but also help the matches be successful in the long run.

One study not mentioned in the review that perhaps highlights the importance of recruiting with intentionality is the Role of Risk study released in 2013. This research project sought to advance understanding of the capacity of mentoring programs to be of benefit for youth with elevated risk profiles and the conditions or practices most likely to foster that goal. For the most part, the study’s findings suggested that programs were able to serve higher risk youth as effectively as lower risk youth. However, mentors paired with higher-risk youth were more likely to report several challenges associated with their matches. These included mismatched personalities and interests and a lack of preparation for and experience with the types of individual and environmental risk factors that youth were facing. With potential direct relevance to these perceived obstacles, the report authors noted that “only 12% of mentors reported having experienced poverty” and that only “two fifths reported that they had not faced any of the challenges we asked about in our survey (including family struggles, school challenges and problems with parent or peer relationships).” Almost a third had no experience even working with youth of these backgrounds. Only 9% of mentees, furthermore, were matched with a mentor who shared their race and ethnicity.

The study itself did not test to see if these mismatches across personal backgrounds and characteristics were predictive of match failure or whether matching along similarities boosted outcomes. The question is unanswered therefore as to whether these programs were matching effectively or whether these were mentors with the right lived experience to connect with these youth in the first place. Still, it is worth noting that 28% of mentors said differences in interests and personalities were a challenge in the match, with 21% and 15% noting challenges around bridging racial and socioeconomic differences respectively.

And to the point made above, 66% of mentors noted that it was their schedule to meet that was a major challenge, with 48% citing logistical challenges in arranging and executing meetings as being a challenge. Those logistical challenges seem to be prominent for many mentors, even when the personal characteristics are well-matched.

3. Don’t forget about the factor of participant expectations.

Another challenge noted in the Role of Risk study was mentor’s inaccurate expectations about what the experience would be like. Almost a quarter of mentors said they did not anticipate the types of needs the youth had or how much time and effort it would take to establish a relationship. Almost half indicated that the needs of the youth’s family were a surprise.

The impact of the experience of mentoring not matching participant expectations is a subject addressed recently on the NMRC website with the release of Tools to Strengthen Match Support and Closure. One of the consistent themes in the mentoring research into failed matches is that of participants reporting that they have abandoned relationships because the experience differed too dramatically from what they were expecting. A recent OJJDP-funded study of matches, has also shed considerable light onto this issue, including how parent and youth expectations for the mentoring experience may also lead to match struggles if they do not align with how the interactions with mentors and program staff play out over time. (Watch the NMRC site for more information on this study as the final report is released in late 2017.)

In the wake of this research suggesting the importance of clarifying participant expectations heading into the match, the NMRC has developed a set of questions programs can ask to help clarify what everyone in a potential match wants the experience to be like. Answers to these questions may not exactly count as personal “characteristics” but they are highly personal information about what everyone wants to experience. Just like those logistical factors discussed above, these participant expectations also may be part of the complicated stew of matching the right youth and parent with the right mentor and even the right staff member who will be providing support. Practitioners are thus encouraged to take a fairly holistic view of matching criteria and give ample consideration to all three buckets of information: logistics, characteristics, and expectations. Relying too heavily on any one of these factors might lead to matches that face an uphill battle in connecting and enduring.


For more information on research-informed program practices and tools for implementation, be sure to consult the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ and the "Resources for Mentoring Programs" section of the National Mentoring Resource Center site.

Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:32

Mentee Training Toolkit: A Guide for Staff

 
  • Description of Resource:

    Pre-match mentee trainings can help set youths’ expectations about their mentoring relationships, address possible questions and concerns, and clarify roles and responsibilities. This comprehensive mentee training toolkit, created by YouthBuild USA, is intended to prepare mentoring program staff to deliver pre-match mentee trainings. It includes a facilitator’s guide, PowerPoint slides, hands-on activities, handouts, detailed instructions, and other resources. It reviews topics such as avoiding misunderstandings and relationship challenges, respecting boundaries, communicating effectively, and setting goals.

    Goals:

    To support mentoring program staff in delivering pre-match mentee trainings.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    Mentoring program staff seeking to implement pre-match trainings. This resource was developed specifically for mentees in YouthBuild programs, who are typically between 16- and 24-years-old. However, the curriculum may be suitable for adaptation for use in other mentoring programs serving similar youth.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    Training

    Key Personnel:

    None

    Additional Information:

    N/A

  • Resource Name:

    Mentee Training Toolkit: A Guide for Staff

    Publisher/Source:

    YouthBuild USA

    Author:

    YouthBuild USA

    Date of Publication:

    Unknown

    Resource Type:

    Resources for Mentees and Families








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource is a available for free download in PDF form at: http://youthbuildmentoringalliance.org/webfm_send/555

















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: N/A

























Mentee Training Toolkit

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

 
  • Description of Resource:

    The authors of this resource note that though research on the impact of gender on mentoring relationships remains limited, there is evidence that gender difference can influence the ways in which youth respond to mentoring relationships. The resource explains how mentoring practitioners can help mentors understand gender difference and the potential impact of gender on their mentoring relationships. It reviews tips and strategies for providing ongoing training and support on gender-informed mentoring approaches that are intended to help mentors communicate and develop effective relationships with their mentees.

    Goals:

    To help mentoring practitioners support mentors with an understanding of gender-informed mentoring approaches and how to utilize these in their relationships with mentees.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    This resource reviews information that is applicable to mentoring practitioners and mentors in any type of program. It is applicable to mentors working with youth of the same or different gender.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    All

    Key Personnel:

    None

    Additional Information:

    The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government. This publication also contains hyperlinks and URLs for information created and maintained by private organizations. This information is provided for the reader’s convenience. The U.S. Department of Education is not responsible for controlling or guaranteeing the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of information or a hyperlink or URL does not reflect the importance of the organization, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered.

  • Resource Name:

    Mentoring Fact Sheet: Gender-Specific Approaches in Mentoring

    Publisher/Source:

    This publication was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools under contract with EMT Associates, Inc.

    Author:

    U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center

    Date of Publication:

    June 2007

    Resource Type:

    Mentor Guides and Handouts








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource is available for free download in PDF form on the Education Northwest website: 
    http://bit.ly/2hRnJDo

















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: Additional readings and resources are cited at the end of the resource.

























Mentoring Fact Sheet: Gender-Specific Approaches in Mentoring

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

 
  • Description of Resource:

    This Mentoring Fact Sheet from the U.S. Department of Education’s Mentoring Resource Center reviews common challenges that arise throughout the life of a mentoring relationship with a young person and provides recommendations for how mentors can anticipate and manage these challenges in the best interest of the youth with whom they are working. The resource places these challenges in the context of the “match life cycle” and describes common challenges that mentors can anticipate during each stage of their relationship as well as key steps for mentors to take to successfully overcome them.

    Goals:

    To help mentors plan for and overcome common challenges across the match life cycle.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    This resource makes connections to common challenges faced by mentors in one-to-one, community-based mentoring relationships, but it may be helpful to mentors in other types of mentoring programs as well.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    All

    Key Personnel:

    None

    Additional Information:

    This publication was funded by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education under contract number ED04CO0091/0001 with EMT Associates, Inc. The contracting officer’s representative was Bryan Williams. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government. This publication also contains hyperlinks and URLs for information created and maintained by private organizations. This information is provided for the reader’s convenience. The U.S. Department of Education is not responsible for controlling or guaranteeing the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of information or a hyperlink or URL does not reflect the importance of the organization, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered.

  • Resource Name:

    Mentoring Fact Sheet: Overcoming Relationship Pitfalls

    Publisher/Source:

    This publication was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools under contract with EMT Associates, Inc.

    Author:

    U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center

    Date of Publication:

    July 2006

    Resource Type:

    Mentor Guides and Handouts








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource is available for free download in PDF form on the Education Northwest website: http://bit.ly/2gvljqb

















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: Additional readings and resources are cited at the end of the resource.

























Overcoming Relationship Pitfalls

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016 12:46

Mentoring Guide for Life Skills

 
  • Description of Resource:

    This extensive guide provides a framework for mentoring young women and girls with a focus on developing life skills. Designed for use by both mentors and mentoring practitioners, this guide is oriented toward mentoring for girls in developing countries in group contexts, but also contains general recommendations that can be applied to other settings. This resource discusses how to work effectively with girls, including specific recommendations about building the mentoring relationship and addressing critical life skills topics. The life skills topics encompass healthy living, reproductive health and sexuality, and making positive decisions. It provides discussion ideas and fun learning activities that can be used in mentoring sessions, school settings, or in mentees’ families.

    Goals:

    To provide guidance for mentors who are beginning a mentoring relationship with young women and girls.

    Target Population/Eligibility of Target Sites:

    Mentors and mentoring practitioners serving young women and girls.

    Corresponding Elements of Effective Practice:

    Training, Monitoring and Support

    Key Personnel:

    None

    Additional Information:

    This guide was developed by the AED Center for Gender Equity.

  • Resource Name:

    Mentoring Guide for Life Skills

    Publisher/Source:

    AED Center for Gender Equity

    Author:

    AED Center for Gender Equity

    Date of Publication:

    2009

    Resource Type:

    Mentor Guides and Handouts








  • Evaluation Methodology:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Outcomes:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness

    Evaluation Validity:

    Resource has not been evaluated for effectiveness












  • Accessing and Using this Resource:

    This resource can be downloaded for free on the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative website: http://www.ungei.org/resources/files/LifeSkills.pdf

















  • References:

    Evidence Base: N/A

    Additional References: N/A

























Mentoring Guide for Life Skills

Access this Resource

Click here to download a PDF of this Resource.

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