Whether through a conversation or a game of catch, caring adult mentors build children’s well-being by engaging and supporting them.
Mentors are caring adults who help build a stronger community for all of us through the simple act of spending time with a child. Mentors meet regularly with a child to provide support, advice, friendship, and constructive role modelling.
Mentoring is valuable because it builds strong and healthy brains, and connects young people to resources that engage them in activities and relationships to support their growth and continued well-being. Mentoring gives children and youth positive role models who provide support, advice, and friendship.
Spending time interacting with a young person may seem simple, but science tells us that interactions with supportive adults build critical neural connections in the developing brain. Young people who have healthy, supportive relationships with adult mentors often do better in school, are better able to deal with bullies and stressful situations, and gain the social-emotional skills they need to set and reach goals. By creating a relationship based on trust and open communication, mentors help young people gain a sense of belonging, build self-confidence and learn new skills and passions.
Why is Mentoring Important?
Mentoring is a powerful way of lending support to a young person by teaching skills, listening to their perspectives and creating a sense of belonging.
Research tells us that children need a positive adult influence (like a mentor) in their lives. Children who engage with adults in developmentally supportive ways are:
- more likely to achieve high academic performance
- more likely to participate in extracurricular school activities
- less likely to have behaviour problems in school
- less likely to be bullied or victimized
Alberta’s success depends on all of our contributions to the well-being of children. Spending as little as an hour a week with a young person can make a difference to them and to Alberta’s future.
What are the Perks of Mentoring?
The entire province benefits from mentors’ involvement in the community and with our children.
- Play an important role in helping tomorrow’s leaders to be better citizens.
- Make your community a better place.
- Share life lessons and feel good about giving back and making a meaningful difference in the life of a young person.
- Network with like-minded caring adults. Share experiences, resources, tools and advice with fellow mentors.
- Add a meaningful experience to your life. Broaden your horizons outside of your work.
- Enhance your work and personal life with transferable skills like better communication, organization, leadership, and problem solving.
The Mentoring Impact
- Children and youth with mentors are less likely to be absent from school, use drugs or alcohol, or demonstrate violent behaviour.
- Youth in care with mentoring relationships had higher educational attainment, less suicidal risk, less physical aggression, improved general health, and lower risk
of contracting an STI.
- Youth with a mentor were more likely to complete high school or a High School Equivalency Diploma than those without a mentor.
- Mentored youth report more positive mental health, fewer depressive symptoms, greater acceptance by their peers, more positive beliefs about their ability to succeed in school, and better grades in school.
Mentoring contributes to healthy brain development, stronger communities, and a better Alberta.
Research shows that being involved in a mentoring relationship has a positive impact on a young person’s school attendance, social skills, attitude, and behaviour with friends and family. Mentoring is also shown to play a role in preventing or reducing child/youth involvement in alcohol, drugs, and crime.
Research also shows that:
- One of the most effective interventions for at-risk children is ensuring access to a caring and responsible adult role model (Satchwell, 2006).
- Youth in care with mentoring relationships had higher educational attainment, less suicidal risk, less physical aggression, improved general health, and lower risk of contracting an STI (Ahrens, Dubois, Richardson, Fan & Lozano, 2008).
- Mentored youth report fewer depressive symptoms, greater acceptance by their peers, more positive beliefs about their ability to succeed in school, and better grades in school (Herrera, DuBois & Grossman, 2013).
Mentoring is powerful. A small investment of time can have a positive, lifelong impact on a young person.
Ready to explore mentoring opportunities in your community?
There are mentors all across Alberta, in urban and rural communities, who make an extraordinary impact on the life of a child through the simple act of spending time with a child or young person. Your child can also benefit from a caring adult or teen mentor.