The Effects of Mentoring at-Risk Youth Essay

2268 Words Apr 26th, 2013 10 Pages


Mentoring has arguments both for and against its effectiveness in relation to at-risk youth. These programs have been known to help in areas of self-esteem, attitudes toward drugs and alcohol, grades, attendance and disciplinary problems in school. Although, the scope of at-risk youth can be quite narrow, if administered correctly it can be inclusive of all teens with emotional and behavioral problems. These programs should not be considered a quick fix to such a large problem, but it can be used as a means to an end.
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Mentors can at times be that beacon of hope or the voice of reason which would allow these youth to see and appreciate appropriate social behavior and could in turn curve their delinquent behavior. Most mentoring programs are forced to rely on the kindness of the community for support and this usually comes in the form of volunteers and donations (Keating, Tomishima, & Foster, 2002).

Even though the effectiveness of mentoring programs are often brought into question, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America organization has a proven track record of successful unions between caring adults and at-risk youth. This organization conducted a study of at-risk youth over the course of approximately one year to show the effects of a positive mentor to mentee relationship. The results revealed they were less likely to become involved in the following activities: 46% illegal drugs, 27% start drinking, 52% skip a day of school, and 37% to skip a class. The mentees were more trusting of parents, and not as prone to lie to them, they also felt more support from their friends. High intensity programs can be effective, especially those with more one-on-one interaction in the form of frequent meetings throughout the month, meeting between 2-4 hours at each visit along with frequent phone contact (Tiernay and Grossman, 1995) (Keating, Tomishima, & Foster, 2002).

In this age of technology there is a host of

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