Mentoring guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter. Quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations.
The Benefits of Being Mentored
Research shows that mentors play a powerful role in providing young people with the tools to make responsible choices, stay in school, and engage in their communities. A study proved that, with a mentor, youth are:
- 55% more likely to be enrolled in college
- 81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports
- 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset.
While it is critically important to ensure that youth have access to resources and opportunities that support their growth and development, one must also consider the societal context in which young people, in particular youth of color, are forced to deal with complex life challenges that systematically strips them of power and agency on a daily basis.
Critical Mentoring, a term coined by scholar-practitioner Dr. Torie Wieston-Serdan, disrupts savorism models that exist in traditional mentoring programs and considers how race, class, gender, sexuality, and other identities impact how youth experience the world and mentoring relationships. Undergirded by critical race theory, cultural competence, and intersectionality, the framework offers mentors and mentoring practitioners a transformational reimagining of what equitable mentoring relationships look like and the impact they can foster in our larger society.