IYI Logo

2023 New Year’s Resolution – Consider Mentoring a Child

A new year prompts many to make resolutions, with exercising more, eating healthier, and saving money being some of 2023’s top aspirations. What about adding mentoring to your list of 2023 goals?

Kids and youth thrive when they have caring and supportive adults in their lives, and mentoring is one of the best ways to connect adults and kids. Mentoring can help youth as they go through challenging life transitions, including dealing with stressful changes at home or transitioning to adulthood.

In an effort to expand quality mentoring opportunities for youth, January has been designated National Mentoring Month. During this time every year, MENTOR Indiana, an Indiana Youth Institute program, celebrates the annual campaign through honoring individuals and programs providing quality mentoring opportunities in our state.

Mentoring is an important component of positive youth development, promoting academic success, extracurricular engagement, and connections to new opportunities. Kids and youth thrive when they have caring and supportive adults in their lives, and mentoring is one of the best ways to connect adults and kids. Young people with a mentor in their lives are:
• 52% less likely to skip a day of school.
• 55% more likely to be enrolled in college.
• 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities.
• 130% more likely to hold a leadership position in a club or sports team.

In addition, there’s a lasting ripple effect of mentoring. Of students with mentors, 90% of say that they are interested in becoming mentors themselves someday.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, youth mentoring also benefits adult mentors, most often in the following ways:
• Increased self-esteem
• A sense of accomplishment
• Creation of networks of volunteers
• Insight into childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood
• Increased patience and improved supervisory skills (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.)
While the benefits of mentorship are great and well-known, 1 in 3 young people in America are growing up without a mentor outside their family. By growing mentoring programs across the state, we have a chance to increase young people’s access to caring adults.

At a time when much of the focus is on what divides us, MENTOR’s research shows that there is something most Americans agree on: mentoring relationships are powerful tools for connection and are critical to our country’s future. Nearly 9 in 10 people feel that more mentoring is needed in our country—with more than 8 in 10 supporting the use of government funds to grow mentoring opportunities.

Yet not all mentoring programs are beneficial. Some well-intentioned, yet poorly structured, programs can have inconsistent results and negative impacts on kids. To protect youth participants and ensure quality results, the mentoring field has codified essential components of quality youth mentoring through the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™. These include:
• Programs setting clear expectations for both the mentors and the mentees
• Screening that includes an application, securing a mentor’s commitment, and scheduling of regular face-to-face meetings
• Conducting in-person interviews, reference checks, and criminal background checks as part of mentor screening processes
• Providing training to mentors prior to the match, which helps increase the likelihood of creating positive matches; and
• Training and support throughout the mentorship relationship.

MENTOR Indiana empowers youth champions to deliver quality mentoring across the state of Indiana. Quality mentoring programs can be found throughout Indiana. To find a program near you, go to https://www.iyi.org/mentor-indiana/.

All students need positive role models, exposure to different careers, and connections to their communities. Quality mentoring programs lead to close, healthy, safe, and supportive relationships which translate into lasting student success. This year, as you lean into your resolutions, why not make one an action that can transform a child’s life, as well as your own?


About the Indiana Youth Institute :
For over three decades, Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) has supported the youth services field through innovative trainings’, critical data, and capacity-building resources, aiming every effort at increasing the well-being of all children. To learn more about IYI, visit www.iyi.org, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.