Mentor One Child…Enrich Two Lives
The Friends Youth Mentoring Program serves youth in communities within Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Volunteer are recruited, screened, and trained to become mentors to school-age youth (ages 6-18).
The Need is GREAT
The Youth Mentoring Program professionally responds to youngsters referred for reasons including but not limited to poverty, an absentee or deceased parent or parents, a medical condition, a learning disability, socializing concerns, exposure to abuse, and/or refugee status having fled oppressive or trying circumstances from their countries of origin. Available data internally demonstrates that the majority of children and families currently in the program live below the poverty level.
The agency’s referral sources are primarily from area schools. In practice we partner on an integral basis with 31 agencies and institutions; comprised of public schools, private schools, and nonprofits, all of whom are child advocates and experts in their respective fields. We continually strive to maintain full access to programming and service opportunities for all children and families seeking our assistance, regardless of their income level.
Our expectation is to maintain our long-standing high standards and further strengthen established frameworks while promoting the inherent benefits of long-term, steady and stable, 1:1 mentorships between outstanding top notch role models and children in need. Our best practices, award-winning program additionally provides ongoing support to volunteers, children, families, and collateral partners through professional supervision, trainings, and relevant planned activities and events. We strongly believe children should engage in undertakings that encourage age-appropriate chances for learning, growth, and enjoyment in life. The program, by design, infuses numerous hours of humanizing strength into their lives. We also provide ready access to agency and area resources; always with the overreaching goal of making a marked difference in their world and helping assure they have a much deserved childhood.
What the research says…
Research consistently shows that a key difference between successful and unsuccessful youth from lower-income communities is mentoring. A review of more than 200 research studies concluded that, in order to successfully pass through adolescence, youth need access to safe places, challenging experiences, and caring people on a daily basis. Mentors provide these 3 key elements and improve self-esteem, serve as role models and advocates.
Mentoring relationships are life-changing; recent studies show drastic strides in social, emotional, cognitive, and identity development. Our recent surveys report:
- 97% of children felt they were in a youth-centered relationship
- 96% felt emotionally engaged
- 96% were satisfied with their mentoring relationship.
In addition, we feel our value on best practice standards contributed to the following:
- 92% of children had a better attitude toward school
- 86% performedbetter academically
- 96% expressed a greater sense of self-confidence
- 91% communicated a greater resistance to alcohol/drugs
In the Friends Youth Mentoring Program ending a match prematurely is a rare occurrence. In the 2012-13 fiscal year, 66% of matches had been together for more than a year; with the remaining matches being in their first year together. Some have stayed together as long as 9 years. Match longevity is a major program accomplishment and one that mirrors broader research in the field of Mentoring which shows this has the largest positive impact on children in mentorships.