January was first designated National Mentoring Month in 2002, and while the concept of mentoring has been around pretty much forever, researchers and educators have since made it a priority to back up the idea with evidence.
This month, 12 years after the Inaugural National Mentoring Month, MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, has released some impressive, encouraging, and profound research.
In their research, published as The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspective on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring (2014), MENTOR concludes the following:
- There are two types of mentoring relationships, Informal/Unstructured and Formal/Structured. Informal mentoring relationships usually form between a young person and a family friend, a teacher, or a coach. Formal mentoring relationships are developed and matched with a purpose, often through schools and community groups.
- Young people with mentors are more likely to report positive behaviors, like graduating from college, participating in sports and extracurricular activities, and often hold leadership positions in the activities they engage in.
- Youth believe mentoring provides them with the guidance and support they need to live productively. More specifically, young people in informal mentoring relationships often stated that their mentor provided developmental support, over academic support, talking with them more often about making good decisions and staying motivated in life.
- One in three young people, and even more at-risk youth, report that they never had a mentor growing up. That means, nationwide, today approximately 16 million youth, including 9 million at-risk youth, will reach age 19 without ever having a mentor.
MENTOR (2014) goes on to identify mentoring as a critical link in the chain of outcomes for youth today, that ultimately produces more active citizens and stronger leaders, better schools and healthier communities.
So… as our Soccer Shots Coaches head out onto the soccer field and talk about our character words each week, we like to think we are planting the seeds for many, or at the very least, one, meaningful mentor in each child’s life. It’s not just about developing young soccer players, but developing stronger youth, beyond the game.
Reference: The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring. (2014). MENTOR: Expanding the world of quality mentoring. Retrieved from http://www.ment