Mentor One Child…Enrich Two Lives
The Friends Youth Mentoring Program serves youth in communities within Merrimack County. Volunteers are recruited, screened, and trained to become mentors to school-age youth.
What is a mentor?
Mentors or “Senior Friends” are caring, trusted volunteers who provide friendship and support to “Junior Friends” Mentors, age 16 and older, help develop the characteristics and capabilities of a young person in a fun and meaningful way through a weekly commitment of time.
Who are the youth?
Youth or “Junior Friends” are girls and boys, who range in age from 6-18 and are referred by parents, educators, and others. They thrive on the one-on-one attention provided by mentors and learn and grow by experiencing life beyond what they are exposed to at home and school.
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.
Why get involved?
Our program maintains a waiting list of over 50 youth waiting for a mentor! The impact of mentoring can be life-changing; the most scientifically rigorous study to date has demonstrated that youth in programs like the Friends Youth Mentoring Program are:
- 46% less likely to use drugs than the control group
- mentored youth were 1/3rd less likely to hit someone
- mentored youth skipped half as many days of school
- mentored youth were 27% less likely to initiate alcohol use
- the quality of the mentored youths’ relationships with their parents was better than youth in the control group