2. Benefits of Mentoring

After completing this section, you will be able to...

  • Describe the benefits of mentoring for youth
  • Understand when and how mentoring can work

Past research findings have shown that mentoring experiences help young people increase their contributions within their community.1 Mentors can promote educational achievement, career development, health, safety, and social and emotional support.2, 3 These relationships may provide a sense of belonging that young people seek outside their immediate family, friends, and school.4

Youth who are at-risk may be positively affected by mentoring as research suggests that supportive relationships with caring adults reduce negative outcomes and strengthen protective factors.5 Some research reports show that youth who face an “opportunity gap” but have a mentor in their corner may be more likely to enroll in college than those who did not.6 Libraries can provide opportunities for youth to serve as volunteers or peer mentors for other youth. By mentoring their peers, youth gain leadership skills and learn from each others’ unique experiences.7

1: Meltzer, A., Muir, K., & Craig, L. (2016). Being trusted: The perspectives of trusted adults about engaging with young people. Children and Youth Services Review, 63, 58-66.

2: Jekielek, S. M., Moore, K. A., Hair, E. C., & Scarupa, H. J. (2002). Mentoring: A promising strategy for youth development. Child Trends Research Brief, 2, 1-8.

3: Safe Space and Shared Interests: YOUmedia Chicago as a Laboratory for Connected Learning, by Kiley Larson, Mizuko Ito, Eric Brown, Mike Hawkins, Nichole Pinkard, and Penny Sebring. DML Research Hub, 2013.

4: Oliver, V., & Cheff, R. (2012). The social network: Homeless young women, social capital, and the health implications. Youth & Society, 46(5), 642-662.

5: Keating, L. M., Tomishima, M. A., Foster, S., & Alessandri, M. (2002). The effects of mentoring program on at-risk youth. Adolescence, 37(148), 717.

6: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Project

7: Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, by Mizuko Ito, Kris Gutiérrez, Sonia Livingstone, Bill Penuel, Jean Rhodes, Katie Salen, Juliet Schor, Julian Sefton-Green, and S. Craig Watkins. 2013.