What Is A Mentor?

A Mentor is someone who, along with parents, provides a younger person with support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement, and a constructive example. Mentors are good listeners. They are people who care and who want to help youngsters bring out strengths that already exist.

The focus of the relationship is on the child and his/her thoughts, feelings, and dreams. This develops the child’s sense of importance, self-esteem, and competence.

A good Mentor plays multiple roles in the life of a child. Mentors are supportive friends, role models, confidants, advocates, and much more. A positive trusting relationship with an adult can indeed be the turning point in a child’s life.

Mentors do not have to be experts. In fact, it is not so much what you say to a child but how you act in front of them that matters.

Mentoring is…
…a time to help young people develop their potential and shape their lives.
…a time to help young people gain the skills and confidence to be responsible for their own future.
…a one-to-one trusting, caring relationship based on purposeful interactions that exist between an adult and a youth.

Mentoring Works!

In 1992 and 1993, 959 boys and girls in eight states entered into a historic experiment. The children ranged in age from 10 through 16. Approximately half were matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister, while the others were assigned to a waiting list or control group. On average, the matched children met with their “Bigs” about three times a month for an average of one year. The results? Researchers found that 18 months later, the children who had a Big Brother or Big Sister were:

  • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
  • 52% less likely to skip school
  • 37% less likely to skip a class
  • More confident of their performance in schoolwork
  • One-third less likely to hit someone
  • Getting along better with their families

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware’s School-Based Mentor Program was studied nationally, as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America School-Based Mentoring Project. The results of this study demonstrated Big Brother Big Sister school mentors have a positive, measurable effect on children. According to teachers, the students who had mentors showed substantial improvements in the following areas:Ff_Nn_park2

  • 64% of students developed more positive attitudes towards school
  • 38% achieved higher grades in social studies, languages and math
  • 60% improved relationships with adults, and 56 percent improved relationships with peers
  • 55% were better able to express their feelings
  • 64% developed higher levels of self-confidence
  • 62% were more likely to trust teachers

Whether students need help making friends, making career choices, making good decisions or making the grade … mentoring is an effective way to ensure that these children are not left to face these challenges alone. Your efforts as a Mentor will make a BIG difference in a young person’s life!