July 30, 2012

The Importance of the Mentoring Relationship

A recent highly-comprehensive study conducted by Communities In Schools and the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University (Dropout Risk Factors) identified a variety of predictive risk factors for dropping out.

The report states that while there is no single risk factor that causes dropping out, each additional risk factor an individual faces increases the likelihood of dropping out. Some of the risk factors that are controllable, as cited by the study, are:
×          teen parenthood;
×          substance abuse;
×          criminal behaviors;
×          lack of self-esteem;
×          poor school performance/grade retention;
×          absenteeism;
×          discipline problems at school;
×          low educational expectations/lack of plans for education beyond high school; and
×          lack of interaction with extracurricular activities.

Mentoring by a caring adult over a prolonged period of time has been shown to be effective in combating these risk factors.  Research by the National Mentoring Partnership has proven results in myriad ways:

Support for education
×          Mentors help keep students in school.
×          Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class.
×          Mentors can improve their mentees’ academic skills.

Support with day-to-day living
×          Mentors help improve a young person’s self-esteem.
×          Mentors provide support for trying new behaviors.
×          Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking.
×          About 40% of a teenager's waking hours are spent without companionship or supervision; mentors provide teens with a valuable place to spend free time.
×          Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills.

Support in the workplace
×          Mentors help young people set career goals and start taking steps to realize them.
×          Mentors can use their personal contacts to help young people meet industry professionals, find internships and locate job possibilities.
×          Mentors introduce young people to professional resources and organizations they may not know about.
×          Mentors can help their mentees learn how to seek and keep jobs.

For a second year, Chrysalis After-School participants have been invited to a day-long workshop at FBL Insurance, Inc. in West Des Moines to provide a tremendous mentoring opportunity through its women’s leadership network.

On Tuesday, August 7, over 50 girls will be hosted from 9:30 am to 3 pm for a day of leadership education, career information, tours, special activities, and healthy meals.  “Become a Model for Success” is the theme that dozens of women employees will share with girls to help them understand the workplace, plan for future education, and learn about life in a corporate career.

This is an example of a very special type of mentoring that you might think about for girls in your life, or girls involved in Chrysalis After-School programs.  We’ll be happy to help you plan for an opportunity to learn more about the value of mentoring.