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United Way Blog

3 Reasons to Mentor Youth

Did you know that a child who spends just one hour a week with a mentor is less likely to hit someone, skip school, skip class, and start using drugs or alcohol? And that’s not all - mentoring a child can help enrich a child’s life as much as your own. Check out the reasons why:

  1. Kids stay in school
    While the nation’s graduation rate stands at 84 percent according to the Department of Education, historically underserved students still lag behind.  Kids go to school more when they have a mentor, so attendance goes up. Young people with mentors are more likely to aspire to attend and to enroll in college. These life-long effects are reason enough to support a student in your community. 
  2. A supportive adult helps kids thrive
    Mentors provide trusting relationships and a great source of stability for students. Young people want and need adults other than their parents to be a good ear, a sounding board, and a role model. What happens when a young girl’s ambition exceeds her confidence? Amber’Nay was a very shy 6th grader when her mother encouraged her to participate in United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Be A Middle School Mentor program. Her mentor, Arita, coached her through an intensive high school prep program and was there to celebrate Amber’Nay’s admission to a top high school on scholarship. Amber’Nay credits Arita with helping her overcome her insecurity and said, “The mentoring program was one of the best things I ever did.”
  3. Volunteering can be part of your workday
    Think you don’t have time? With more and more companies getting involved in mentoring and tutoring programs, mentoring may be easier than you think. About 70 percent of the mentors with United Way of Summit County’s iC.A.R.E. program work for companies like Goodyear Tire & Rubber and FirstEnergy, that encourage employees to mentor students during the workday. IC.A.R.E. mentors visit students at convenient times during the school day, which align with most employees work schedules. About 315 mentors serve more than 350 Akron, OH public school students through the iC.A.R.E. program. And the program is getting results. Even though more than a third of Akron public school students change schools each year, mentors follow their mentees from school to school so the program boasts a retention rate of 86 percent. That means more kids are doing better in school because of their mentoring relationships.  

January is National Mentoring Month and culminates with the National Mentoring Summit, which is dedicated to expanding the availability and impact of mentors. Ready to be part of the mentoring movement? Contact your local United Way to get involved in a way that works for you.