Does Mentoring Work?

Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado – Would eleven Kids be dead if two young classmates had had a mentor to help them understand some positive alternatives to their horrific action?

Mark at six years of age was taken from his mother by social services.  He had been hit often by his mother who was a substance abuser of alcohol and drugs, and Mark had been molested by a boy friend of his mother.  He was placed in several foster homes over the next three years but he acted up so often that he was finally placed in a foster care group home.  When Mark was fifteen the group home started a mentor program and Daniel was matched with Mark as his mentor.  Daniel met with mark at least once a week for about an hour and talked with him from time to time on the phone.  Mark had the following to say about his relationship with Daniel: "Daniel saved my life.   Months grew into a couple of years where he mostly listened to my pain and frustration with life.  I hated myself and most people around me.  Slowly Daniel began to show me that I was worthy of the many pleasures in life and even though things started off bad, it was within my power to make changes and to succeed."  Today Mark has graduated from high school with mostly A’s and B’s in his senior year and is attending the State University working on a degree in business administration.

Mentoring Does Work!

In a Pew Public/Private Ventures Study of 959 boys and girls with 60% members of a minority group, 60% boys, and 80% from low income households, 487 were matched with mentors and the remaining 472 were the control group with no mentors.

After 18 months with mentors, an evaluation of these children revealed the boys and girls were:

  • 46 % less likely to use illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to use alcohol
  • 37% less likely to skip class
  • 53% less likely to skip school
  • 33% less likely to hit someone

Mentoring Works - Jennifer’s Story

Jennifer, a junior in high school, was matched with Marianne as her mentor.  Jennifer lived in a single parent home with four siblings.  She volunteered for the mentor program because she did not want to follow in the footsteps of her siblings and belong to a local gang.  But she wasn’t sure it was avoidable.  Marianne and Jennifer became friends and decided they would work at improving Jennifer’s grades - as she was failing some of her courses.  After a couple of months her grades were not improving and Marianne visited Jennifer’s home to find that, with kids and adults coming and going, there was no quite place to study and do homework.  Marianne invited Jennifer to come to her office after school where she could sit quietly and study.  Occasionally Marianne would give a helping hand.  Over the next couple of months, Jennifer’s grades improved dramatically and other office workers liked having her around and offered her a part-time job.  Here is what Jennifer has to say about mentoring with Marianne: "...My mentor has done so much for me and I don’t know where I would be without her.  Now I have a 3.83 GPA (one B in Math, we’re still working on that one).  It seems like now, things are really starting to come together. I’m not nearly as confused as I was before.  I’m well on my way to being the first person in my family to graduate from college."


More Statistics on Mentoring

A study by Proctor and Gamble of mentoring in Cincinnati schools showed that young people with mentors were more likely to

  • Stay in school
  • Attend classes
  • Be less disruptive when attending class
  • Get better grades
  • Go to college

A Ford Foundation study of high school students from families receiving public assistance found that those with mentors were more likely than those without mentors to:

  • Graduate from high school
  • Enroll in college
  • Have fewer children
  • Have fewer arrests
  • Live without public assistance
  • Become involved in community service
  • Be hopeful about their future

California Mentor Foundation surveyed 124 mentor programs with 36,251 mentors and 57,659 mentees.  The survey showed that:

  • 98% stayed in school
  • 85% did not use drugs
  • 98% Deterred from teen pregnancy
  • 98% Did not join a gang

Mentoring is vitally needed and does work.

But what does it cost? Click here to continue.