Facts About Youth Mentoring Programs

A youth mentoring program is designed to match a mentor with a mentee. Its purpose is to create a purposeful and positive relationship between the two.

The role of the adult mentor within a mentoring platform is a multi-tasking role:


  • S/he is responsible for guiding, supporting, teaching, and inspiring youth to be successful at school and in life.
  • The mentoring relationship can be a powerful one that lasts many years and one that yields life-changing results.

What is a mentoring program?

Mentoring programs are created to match adult mentors with children who are in need of support, guidance, and a positive role model. The mentees who benefit the most from the mentoring experience are those who have more life challenges and are in high-risk categories.

These categories can include those:

  • who live in poverty or who have been in trouble with the law.
  • who are failing school or aren’t taking their education seriously.
  • who live in communities with high drug and violence rates.

The adults who volunteer to be a mentor are screened and selected.

The mentors chosen are given training that will help them build a relationship with their young person. These mentors are then matched to a selected child based on several factors.

The mentees that participate in these programs have parents or guardians who believe they need:


  • another adult to interact with and to relate to
  • someone who understands commitment and healthy relationships
  • someone who can help them learn and practice important life, social, and/or academic skills
  • someone who can help build confidence and self-esteem
  • someone who can teach them about working toward goals
    a responsible role model
  • someone who can take part in fun activities in their community that they may not otherwise get a chance to do

What is the top organization in the US?

One well-known and long-established organization in the United States is Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Their mentorship program accepts kids ages five to young adulthood from any grade level, in communities across all 50 states. Big Brother Big Sister is considered the top mentoring organization.

To find a local agency, parents and volunteers can use the link provided on the BBBS website and search by zip code.

The BBBS chapter in the national capital area the Washington DC area is a great example of how an organization can impact a young person through positive mentoring relationships.

Mentors in Washington DC and different parts of the country have several types of programming, which include:

  • one-on-one mentoring
  • school-based mentoring
  • outreach for the Latino and LGBTQ communities
  • teen pregnancy prevention program, workplace training
  • mentoring members who have a parent who is in the military
  • mentoring members who pave a parent who has been in prison

The U.S. has many youth mentoring organizations because of a stable mentoring movement, both at local and national levels. Each one is unique in its own way.

While some groups may have a particular goal based on mentees’ needs, location, or available volunteers, they all promote the same outcome.

How can people locate an effective organization?

In addition, the National Mentoring Resource Center is an excellent tool that mentors or parents/guardians can use to research effective groups. They can also a variety of additional tools and resources to learn more about mentor services.

One of the main activities of the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board is to review the research about rigorously evaluated mentoring programs to rate their currently demonstrated level of effectiveness.

The following youth mentor organizations in the US have been rated as “effective” based upon research:


  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Better Futures Program
  • Eisenhower Quantum Opportunities
  • Great Life Mentoring
  • Adolescent Diversion Project
  • Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care
  • Career Academy
  • Operation Peacekeeper
  • SNAP Under 12 Outreach Program

What are the different types of mentorship programs?

Within one single organization, there can be various groups of mentor programming. Both the youth and the mentors may choose to get involved in multiple partnerships based on their needs.

As stated above, the Washington DC BBBS is a prime example of an organization that offers diverse options based on the mentee’s interests, needs, abilities, and values.

The following list shows some of the different types of youth mentorship models out there:

  • community-based
  • school-based
  • after school-based
  • faith-based
  • e-mentoring
  • college and career readiness mentoring
  • LGBTQ support

Every child deserves to have access to a youth mentoring program that benefits them and brings them a sense of well-being and hope.

Youth programs around the United States are everywhere; they are located in all 50 states and range from local to national organizations, as there are always children that are in need of a mentor.

There are many research-based and effective youth organizations available for families that will make a difference in the life of their children.

Angel Santiago
Servant Leader | MBA | Veteran | Founder @ wayahead.io

May 24, 2020



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