Mentoring programs for kids and teens come in many varieties and methods, all with the goal of helping these young people get structure and support from older, more experienced people. Mentors provide guidance to help youth aged individuals set goals for themselves and reach them, while also instilling life lessons and seeds of wisdom in them. The benefits of mentoring are exponentially compounded when the mentor looks like the young person being mentored. The power of healthy local mentors for kids cannot be overstated, especially for at-risk youth and disadvantaged children.
The biggest impact of mentoring is that it can bridge the gap in kids and teens lives who lack healthy parental figures. In fact, research indicates that long-term separation or absence of parent(s) detrimentally affects kids. The most common outcomes for kids in these situations include depression, loneliness, anxiety, anger, behavioral problems at school, low academic achievement motivation, lack of self-esteem, misbehavior, truancy, and stealing. Simply a present parent or parental figure helps exponentially.
Kids without healthy, stable adult relationships typically struggle in school as their ability to concentrate on learning is impaired. Mentoring offers guidance to kids and helps them focus on their schoolwork. Other academic benefits for mentored kids include increased high school graduation rates, higher college enrollment rates, greater educational aspirations, and even better school attendance. Young people can see the value in education by interacting with people who have grown and learned before them.
Kids and teens are incredibly intelligent, and (like all humans) they learn and grow more like the people they spend their time with. By spending an afternoon engaging and pouring into a young person, mentors set these kids up for success. This can look like enhanced self-esteem and confidence; healthier relationships with parents, family members, teachers, and peers; stronger interpersonal skills; and decreased likelihood of initiating substance use.
Whether a kid is facing stressful situations at home or dealing with difficult life transitions, mentoring can help youth maintain a positive outlook on life, relationships, and how they interact with others. Kids and teens who have been mentored are significantly less likely to engage in violent altercations with others, such as hitting, fighting, bullying, and destructive actions. So, much like a seesaw, mentored kids make more positive choices while also being less likely to choose negative behaviors in nearly every aspect of their lives.
Kids and teens aren’t the only ones who benefit from being mentored. The wonderful adults doing the mentoring also experience positive outcomes in their own lives as well! Benefits for mentors include better networking opportunities, higher self-esteem, increased patience, improved leadership skills, and a strong sense of purpose and accomplishment. Spending time and energy investing in the next generation is not easy by any means, but it is absolutely worth it. And you don’t have to be perfect to help mentor a kid; displaying how to pour out kindness despite your imperfections is really empowering for them.
At EmpathyHQ, we believe in the power of healthy local mentors. Our goal is to help more people feel better, including kids and teens. This back-to-school season is a perfect time to help kids get connected to local mentors, and we’d love to help you make that happen. We even offer counseling for kids via Alliance Afterschool Care.
Our After School Program is designed to help children ages 0-17 learn how to manage their emotions, develop effective coping strategies, and seek support when needed. With a focus on fostering emotional intelligence and resilience, we provide a safe and supportive space for children to grow and thrive. Learn more and get connected at https://www.empathyhq.org/alliance-afterschool
Mentoring is all about kind, caring people helping youth succeed and flourish. Kids deserve to have the best potential outcome in life, and mentoring can bridge the gap in many areas where they may feel inadequate. The power of healthy local mentors for kids helps make the world a better, brighter place!