About Mentoring

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a defined as a “developmental, caring, sharing and helping relationship where one person invests time, know how, and effort in enhancing another person’s growth, knowledge and skills, and responds to critical needs in the life of that person in ways that prepare the individual for greater productivity and achievement in life” (Inerhumwunwa). According to Communities in Schools mentoring is a structured and trusting relationship young people develop bonds with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the mentee. A mentor is an adult who, along with parents, provides a young person with support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement and constructive example. Mentors are good listeners, people who care, people who want to help young people bring out strengths that are already there (“Communities in Schools”, 2008). By all estimates, an astounding 17.6 million young people – nearly half the population of young people between 10 and 18 years of age – live in situations that put them at risk of not living up to their potential (“For mentors”, 2010).

Mentoring can help by:

·            Improving young people’s attitudes towards their parents, peers and         teachers;

·            Encouraging students to stay motivated and focused on their education;

·            Providing a positive way for young people to spend free time;

·            Helping young people face daily challenges; and

·            Offering young people opportunities to consider new career paths and      get much-needed economic skills and knowledge.

In recent years, mentoring has emerged as a strong response to the challenges many inner city youth face.  On college and university campuses across the nation, mentoring programs have expanded rapidly with increasing numbers of college students working one-on-one with youth in urban public schools, community agencies, and other settings.

According to data provided by the Virginia Mentoring Partnership, estimates suggest that more than 360,000 young people in Virginia could benefit from spending time with a caring adult mentor(“Mentoring gap, 2010).

Of the 1,823,201 young people under age 18 in Virginia:

·   1 out of 8 teens between ages 16 -19 are not enrolled in school

·   1 out of 3 children lives in a single parent home

·   1 out of 7 lives in poverty

·   1 out of 24 children has an incarcerated parent

College access involves encouraging and creating a pathway for students to consider, plan for, and attend post-secondary institutions; including four-year colleges or universities, junior or community colleges, or vocational, business, or technical schools, after high school. Carefully structured and supported mentoring can provide students with developmental resources needed for success.  Combined with age appropriate, appealing college access activities and consistent encouragement, mentoring relationships help students succeed both personally and academically, and set them on a needed pathway for education beyond high school graduation.

Research shows students who engage with a mentor for a sustained period of time are more likely to attend post-secondary institutions (Gandara, 2001).  Mentors can provide their mentees with motivation and information on resources, admission requirements, the college application process, scholarships, and financial aid.


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