Youth Mentoring Essay

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Youth Mentoring New programs have been developed in recent years in an attempt to keep children out of trouble and to help them lead more productive lives. One of these programs is youth mentoring. Youth mentoring programs connect youth with responsible adults willing to commit their time to expose the youth to a different way of life and they help reduce truancy, improve grades, and reduce youth crime. Families, schools, and neighborhoods have been the foundation of support for youth in the past, however, with the decline in funding to pubic systems as well as the absence of traditional families (two parent homes) the necessity has arisen for new programs to fill in the gaps (Tierney 2). Finding volunteers can be challenging but the benefits of mentoring have a positive impact on the life of the volunteer as well. Three-quarters of mentors surveyed reported that the mentoring experience had a "very positive" effect on their lives. Eight-three percent said they had learned something from the experience and felt that they were a "better person" (Benefits 5). The youth targeted by most mentoring programs are from single parent families in low income situations and are in their early teens. Mentoring programs recruit and screen both volunteers and youth applicants carefully to find good matches. Once adults are matched to the youth they usually meet at least three to four hours three times a month for at least a year (Tierney ii). These one-to-one interactions are vital to the success of the relationship. Youth who have mentors are "53 percent less likely to skip school, 33 percent less likely to get into fights, and 46 percent less likely to use drugs" (Speak 2). Other benefits of mentoring included improved self-esteem, academic skills, and later, parenting skills. Mentors also help these youth find resources they might have been unaware of, or unable to find on
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