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What are the benefits of mentoring youth for the mentors? More than you probably know

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Mentoring programs like the Boone County Mentoring Program has all sorts of benefits for young people, and all extensively studied. We know kids and teens who have mentors are far more likely to have better school attendance, avoid substance abuse, enroll in college or vocational programs as young adults, and are far more likely to succeed in school and careers as a result. 

Youth mentoring rarely focuses on homework or academic achievement (mentors are not expected to help with calculus or chemistry homework). But the “side effect” of all these positive outcomes just means youth have better academic achievement, improved high school graduation rates.

The evidence suggests an adult mentor who maintains quality mentoring relationships with a young person also has significant benefits.

Benefits of mentoring youth for adults

Adults who have mentored youth report a lot of benefits. It’s not studied as academically as it is for young people, but our adult mentors tells us they:

  • Have “a huge sense of fulfillment” and “lots of fun” with their mentees. The vast majority are genuinely surprised at how much more fun they have than they initially expected.
  • An expanded network among other mentors. As part of the Boone County Mentoring Program, you’ll be able to meet other adult mentors at shared community events. These events are optional, but a good way to enjoy some time together without any expense for mentors.
  • Better interpersonal skills, simply by spending time with a young person who comes from a background that may be very similar or truly unique compared to them.
  • Empathy for youth development, thanks to an increase in understanding some of the challenges that young people face today.

Both mentors and mentees frequently say they have improved identity development, as they “learn more about who they are” and “share in a unique experience” together. They also improve their own skills, since a meaningful mentor is often just someone who shares in their own talents, like woodworking, crafts, nature walks, or sports and athletics. Teaching someone else is the best way to sharpen your own skills.

Mentoring programs can have a dramatic improvement on everyone’s mental health. Many young people, including those in mentoring programs like ours, struggle with mental health challenges that come from the awkwardness of youth and inexperience, but also from genuine challenges that come from living in the 21st century. 

Mentor training is available

The BCMP mentoring program provides mentoring training to help every adult. Every adult mentor has one of our mentoring staff assigned to them so, if in the unlikely event a mentor finds themselves out of their depth, we can help. This may include helping youth with unmet mentoring needs, academic help, support for applying to higher education, or providing more qualified mental health support.

Adults tell us all the time they learn more from their youth mentees than they feel like they teach, and that’s a hallmark of a supportive adult. Sometimes the biggest mentoring impact for a young person is just having a strong emotional bond with someone who shares in their interests. Great mentoring relationships work both ways, and provide emotional support and leadership for each other.

A person contributed significantly in all our lives, even if they were not strictly “matched mentors.” You can help by becoming a mentor, or, if you have questions, call or email us to start a conversation. All mentoring relationships are strictly voluntary, and there’s no risk or commitment from you until you’re ready.

Mentorship changes lives

Dozens of kids in Boone County are waiting

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