MAY 22, 2018
BY: DANA GOODROW, MANY
National Foster Care Awareness Month Blog Series (Part 1 of 5)
Mentoring is essentially about relationships. More than meeting program goals or benchmarks, the real benefit of mentoring comes from the relationship built between the youth and the mentor over time. It is this relationship that fosters positive youth development, skill-building, and personal growth that are the touchstones of the mentoring model. Benefits of having a mentor include improved academic outcomes, increased relationship skills, enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence, improved behavior and interpersonal skills, and a reduction in risky behaviors such as drug and alcohol use. If the mentor-mentee relationship can have that much power, imagine how powerful it can be for someone who may not have typical family or community supports in their life.
Young people involved in the foster care system often are faced with limited opportunities to connect with supportive adults. This is in part due to the fact that many foster youth are subjected to multiple, short-term placements, and that they are often separated from immediate and extended family systems. Research indicates that experiences within the foster care system affect all kinds of relationships, including those with parents and caregivers, siblings, and others involved in their day-to-day lives.