Positive youth development research has long demonstrated that youth benefit from close, caring relationships with adults who serve as positive role models (Jekielek, Moore, & Hair, 2002). Today, 8.5 million youth continue to lack supportive, sustained relationships with caring adults (Cavell, DuBois, Karcher, Keller, & Rhodes, 2009). Mentoring—which matches youth or “mentees” with responsible, caring “mentors,” usually adults—has been growing in popularity as both a prevention and intervention strategy over the past decades. Mentoring provides youth with mentors who can develop an emotional bond with the mentee, have greater experience than the mentee, and can provide support, guidance, and opportunities to help youth succeed in life and meet their goals (DuBois and Karcher, 2005). Mentoring relationships can be formal or informal with substantial variation, but the essential components include creating caring, empathetic, consistent, and long-lasting relationships, often with some combination of role modeling, teaching, and advising.

Feature Articles
Students in a Science Lab Engineering students mentor at middle school with STARBASE

This spring through the STARBASE Nebraska program, six University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering students have dedicated an hour each week to go back to sixth grade and help the next generation of engineers.

Teen and his mentor talking A Mentoring Charity Blooms in Baltimore

The biggest challenge for a small, growing mentoring program can be convincing caring adults to take the first step and volunteer to help a child. To that end, Baltimore's Liberty Learning Center, an after-school facility founded in 2005 for inner-city youth, will use this year's National Mentoring Month as a ...

Smiling Girl Girls Mentoring and Education Service

Andrea, a runaway youth and victim of sexual exploitation, battled isolation and feelings of worthlessness, faced physical and mental abuse, and bounced in and out of jail, unable to lessen the hold that her exploiter had on her. She eventually escaped the exploitation with the help of GEMS, or Girls ...

Girl and her Mentor A Match Made in Pittsburgh Cultivates a Young Girl's Strengths

Eleven-year-old Summer needed a positive environment where she could be a child and not grow up too fast. Gwyneth Gaul, a 28-year-old fundraiser, provides that positivity as Summer's mentor. The two were "matched" by Amachi Pittsburgh, which pairs children of incarcerated parents with caring adults.