National Mentoring Resource Center Blog

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Measuring the Impact of Mentoring Across Diverse Youth: The Potential of Youth-Centered Outcomes

OCTOBER 2, 2019
BY: DR. EDMOND BOWERS, NMRC RESEARCH BOARD

The field of mentoring has frequently debated the essential ingredient of relationships to promote positive outcomes in mentees. On one hand, some argue that developmental support, mentoring behaviors that build closeness in the match and promote a mentee’s self-concept and emotional development, is key. On the other hand, some see the defining feature of mentoring as instrumental support, mentoring behaviors aimed at helping a mentee reach his or her goals. Recent research by Lyons, McQuillin, and Henderson on school-based mentoring programs indicated that both types of behaviors are essential to maximizing the benefits of mentoring relationships.1 They found correlational evidence that mentee-reported relationship quality and mentor-reported use of goal-setting activities and provision of feedback jointly impacted youth academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes. The authors suggested that a balance of instrumental and developmental activities might be a “sweet-spot” for matches to find.

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Youth, Mentoring, and the Opioid Crisis: New Tools for Assessing Needs and Tracking Outcomes

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019
BY: DAVID DUBOIS, PHD, NMRC RESEARCH BOARD CHAIR

MGT

Back in June of last year, Mike Garringer contributed an entry on this blog that addressed the ways in which mentoring for youth potentially could be useful in combating the opioid crisis (see "The Promise and Potential of Mentors in Combating the Opioid Crisis"). Mike highlighted a number of promising areas for mentors to be an asset to young people already engaged in opioid abuse (e.g., providing hope and motivation for recovery, connecting them to and supporting their engagement in treatment services). He also emphasized the potential for mentors to be helpful on the "front-end" of this issue by supporting the healthy development of young people in ways that prevent the initiation of use altogether (i.e., primary prevention). Finally, and I think this may turn out be a particularly fruitful avenue of contribution, he called attention to the potential of mentoring to be an important source of support for young people who have suffered fallout from the opioid misuse of parental or other adult support figures. As Mike noted, in fact, we already have good evidence that mentors can be beneficial to youth whose adult support systems are disrupted or otherwise compromised due to incarceration of a parent or the youth's placement into foster care, each of which are situations often experienced by youth whose parents are struggling with opioid use.

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Fostering Healthy Futures

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019
BY: HEATHER TAUSSIG, PHD, AND LINDSEY WEILER, PHD, NMRC RESEARCH BOARD MEMBERS

Fostering Healthy Futures

We recently published a paper replicating findings from previous research on the mental health impacts of the Fostering Healthy Futures (FHF) program (Taussig, Weiler, Garrido, Rhodes, Boat & Fadell, 2019). The study was a randomized controlled trial with 426 children who were randomly assigned to either FHF or the control condition. Below are a few important takeaways from this research.

Briefly, FHF is a mentoring and skills group program for preadolescent youth (ages 9-11) who have experienced maltreatment and been placed in foster care. The mentors are graduate students in social work and psychology who receive course credit for their mentoring. Each graduate student mentors two children in one-to-one matches over the course of 30 weeks (across the academic year). They also provide transportation for their mentees to and from a weekly skills group.

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LGBTQ Supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring

JUNE 10, 2019
BY: CHRISTIAN RUMMELL, EDP, MPA, NMRC RESEARCH BOARD MEMBER

LGBTQ Supplement

With the recent release of The LGBTQ Supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, mentoring professionals across the country are finally able to access a growing number of research- and practitioner- informed recommendations that can improve the safety and quality of services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Why is the LGBTQ Youth Supplement Important?

LGBTQ youth—estimated to be seven percent of the U.S. population (ages 8-18)— are present in almost every mentoring program in the country. Although many LGBTQ youth are out and will openly disclose information about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity with program staff and mentors they trust, many more—especially those that are in elementary or middle school and in earlier phases of identity development—may still be questioning, feeling unsure about their place in the world, and are looking for clues as to whether they will be safe and will be accepted when interacting with service providers.

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My Experience Bringing Mentoring to Tribal Communities

JUNE 7, 2019
BY: DR. CRYSTAL ASCHENBRENER, ALVERNO COLLEGE AND NMRC RESEARCH BOARD MEMBER

Mentoring AI/AIN Youth

Welcome to this blog post! The NMRC has this great new evidence review on mentoring American Indian and Alaskan Native youth up on the website (co-authored by yours truly), and before you read it, I want to share just a bit about some of the things I have learned that worked in my career. This context will help you understand some of the areas of emphasis in the larger review.

First, I have been sincerely inspired by the Native American culture and their traditions, values, and spirituality. Each time I implement my mentorship intervention, my heart for this culture grows. I will note that my experiences doing this work are limited to one tribe in South Dakota and one in Wisconsin and thus, my perspective is not reflective of all Native American tribes or traditions. This is a “culture” that respectfully encompasses many different languages, traditions, and values spread across the full geographic scope of Native America.  I will probably only scratch the surface of the rich diversity in my career.

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