- Mentoring, an evidence-based strategy that generally has limited funding and relies on volunteers, impacts the an estimated 4.5 million students and the field is growing, David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, writes in the Hechinger Report.
- Students who have a mentor are more likely to stay in school, attend college, volunteer, hold positions of leadership and become mentors themselves, Shapiro writes.
- However, one out of every three young people who want a mentor never get one, a reality that impacts not only the fate of these students but society as well.
A school-based mentoring program is a good way to help level the playing field for students who may not have as many advantages as others. According to mentoring.org, at-risk students with mentors are 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, 90% more likely to become interested in becoming a mentor, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions than their un-mentored peers.
As schools increasingly focus on social-emotional learning, they are seeing the benefits of mentorship more clearly. From a school administration standpoint, mentorship often improves attendance rates and academic performance. Mentors can be adults or older students and don’t have to necessarily provide tutoring to affect academic outcomes. Evidence shows that mentors who attain at least a “somewhat close” relationship with their peers can impact academic outcomes positively and that mentoring programs in schools that focus primarily on academics are no more likely to improve achievement than those focusing mostly on social activities.
As school leaders explore mentorship programs, there are many resources available including MENTOR, and Communities in Schools. Or schools can develop home-grown mentorship programs by connecting to resources in their area.