National Mentoring Resource Center Blog

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Shared Mentoring Activities Strengthen Connections and Increase Impact

MAY 19, 2016

In 1995, SOS Outreach (SOS) began its activity-based programming when a pilot group of 15 metro-Denver youth were brought to the mountains to try snowboarding for the first time. Over 20 years later, 49,281 underserved youth between the ages of 8 and 18 have come through SOS Outreach programs. Since beginning solely with snow sports, the SOS curriculum has expanded to include summer adventure activities, leadership training, community service projects, and mentoring opportunities. Across all programs that are provided, the goal is to enable youth to unleash their potential to thrive.

SOS got to where we are today with an original focus on providing an introduction to the outdoors and core values. We then expanded to include a mentoring program based on our youth asking “what’s next?” when they completed the initial introductory program. This, combined with external research and internal evaluation results, demonstrated that a longer-term program would increase our impacts. During that time, we learned a lot about the impact of the unique blend of outdoor activity, adult mentorship, service learning, and leadership development that our programs provide.

 SOS Outreach

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Balancing Structure and Flexibility to Provide Successful Mentoring in Native Communities

MAY 12, 2016

Author’s Note: This material is based upon work supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Award Number 2015-JU-FX-0015. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Justice.

You often hear statistics about Native youth, like 1 in 3 American Indian/Alaska Native youth lives in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013) and of all U.S. youth (ages 12 to 17), Native youth have the highest lifetime prevalence of major depressive episodes (Executive Office of the President, 2014). Unfortunately these statistics, and many more, illustrate the challenging realities of growing up Native. Often geographically isolated, it can be very difficult for youth and families to have access to the opportunities for skill, competency, and youth development in rural communities (Perkins, 2002).

 National 4-H Council

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Research Alert: Study on Color-blind Racial Perspectives Offers Insights

MAY 3, 2016

Editor’s note: From time to time on the NMRC Blog we will cross-post announcements about research studies on mentoring drawing from the research listserv run by NMRC Research Board Chair Dr. David DuBois. Today we offer a quick glance at a study about a tool that assesses color-blind racial perspectives, or “the belief that ideological and structural racism do not exist” (Neville, Lilly, Lee, Duran & Browne, p. 61). To introduce this research, Dr. DuBois writes:

“It is my impression that mentoring programs frequently struggle with the issue of how to ensure mentors (and perhaps staff) ‘get it’ when it comes to issues that, in the vernacular of today’s times, are often referred to using terms like ‘White privilege’ , ‘social justice’, and the like, and the implications that the extent and manner in which one has done personal ‘work’ vis a vis such ideas/concepts can have for being an effective caring adult in the life of a youth served by their programs.”

In this study, Neville, Lilly, Lee, Duran & Browne (2000) examine the nuances of color-blind racial perspectives as they relate to the expression of “ultra-modern” racism, or racial prejudice in the context of today’s social climate (p. 59). The researchers define the color-blind racial perspective as an overall denial of the structural advantages of white people and the disadvantages of people of color. They describe it as “a mode of thinking about race organized around an effort to not ‘see,’ or at any rate not to acknowledge, race differences” (Frankenberg, 1993, p. 142, as cited by Neville, Lilly, Lee, Duran & Browne, 2000, p. 61).

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E-mentoring: Setting a High Bar for Safety & Support

APRIL 15, 2016

An Interview with Camille Stone, Program Director of the Remote Tutoring and Mentoring Program at We Teach Science

What if the right technology could make mentoring programs safer? What if it could help us better support our mentors, while preparing young people for a brighter future?

As a part of our monthly Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series, MENTOR facilitated a webinar this February called “Mentoring in the Age of Technology”, which explored the impacts of technology on youth mentoring, and featured seasoned mentoring practitioners who use technology as a mentoring tool.

 We Teach Science 

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Building Positive Relationships by Being Present

APRIL 6, 2016

Feel your feet on the floor. Listen closely to scuffling shoes. See something really small.

I recently asked over 100 people in the closing session of the recent Mentoring Symposium hosted by Gonzaga University in Washington State to feel, hear, and see purposefully. I even hinted that this practice might actually be a key to the critical work they do with young people. But why?

I would like to provide a little background for why I asked the mentors and program staff to feel, hear, and see consciously. I’ll also provide some starter mindfulness exercises that you can practice, share with mentors and youth, and bring into your own work.

 Janet Heubach, Ph.D., Deputy Director, Mentoring Works Washington 

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