- A vast majority of educators — 95 % — say every student can benefit from having a one-on-one mentor, according to a recent survey of 1,418 grade 4-12 teachers from nonprofit Gradient Learning. Additionally, 82% said mentoring improves academic outcomes, and 83% said it helps students learn skills that support success.
- Statistics cited in the report from nonprofit organization MENTOR, which works to strengthen and expand mentoring opportunities and programs, found mentored students are 55% less likely to skip school, 78% more likely to volunteer in their communities, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.
- A separate survey from Project Tomorrow, cited in reporting from THE Journal, found two-thirds of parents are concerned about how COVID-19 has affected their child’s emotional well-being, reflecting a larger focus to address social-emotional well-being by education stakeholders and others who work with and care for youth.
While mentors don’t necessarily help students with specific subjects like math or reading, they provide value as a source of encouragement and positive support — a detail retired English teacher Renee Moore stressed when setting up a mentoring program. The idea wasn't to replace parental involvement, either, but to give participating students a bond with another adult, she wrote for Edutopia.
Additionally, mentorship can expand students' career exploration. CovEd, a nonprofit launched during the pandemic to connect K-12 students with college-age peers for mentorship, is one organization supporting those opportunities. Educators can also build connections between these programs and existing curriculum and classes. A promising art student could be connected to an art historian at a museum, or a sound engineer might help learners in a science or even music class gain clearer understanding of the physics of how sound works.
Students with learning disabilities also benefit considerably from mentorship programs. One program, Eye to Eye, pairs college mentors who also have learning differences with their K-12 peers to help them build confidence and empower them to advocate for themselves.
Research collected by MENTOR breaks down the importance of these bonds even further. For example, youth who have a mentor are 46% less likely than their peers to use illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking. On the positive side, mentored students are 81% more likely to participate in sports and extracurricular activities and 55% more likely to enroll in college than peers who don’t have that support.