Research in Action #4

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Issue #4: Fostering Close and Effective Relationships in Youth Mentoring Programs. …

Issue #4: Fostering Close and Effective Relationships in Youth Mentoring Programs.

This series was developed by MENTOR and translates the latest mentoring research into tangible strategies for mentoring practitioners. Research In Action (RIA) makes the best available research accessible and relevant to the mentoring field

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  • 1. Research in Action Series Fostering Close and Effective Relationships in Youth Mentoring Programs
  • 2. Overview of Research in Action Series
    • MENTOR has developed an innovative series - Research in Action
    • Translates the latest research on mentoring into tangible strategies for mentoring practitioners.
    • Makes the best available research accessible and relevant to the mentoring field.  
    • Using the Research in Action series, programs can ensure their practices are based on current research, resulting in improved services and better impacts for young people.
  • 3.
    • 10 issues
    • Each issue provides:  
      • Research
      • Action
      • Resources
    Overview of Research in Action Series
  • 4. Research in Action Issues:
    • Mentoring: A Key Resource for Promoting Positive Youth Development
    • Effectiveness of Mentoring Program Practices
    • Program Staff in Youth Mentoring Programs: Qualifications, Training, and Retention
    • Fostering Close and Effective Relationships in Youth Mentoring Programs
    • Why Youth Mentoring Relationships End
    • School-Based Mentoring
    • Cross-Age Peer Mentoring
    • Mentoring Across Generations: Engaging 50+ Adults as Mentors
    • Youth Mentoring: Do Race and Ethnicity Really Matter?
    • Mentoring: A Promising Intervention for Children of Prisoners
  • 5. Mentor Michigan Webinar Series
    • www.mentormichigan.org
    • Click on “Training & Technical Assistance”
  • 6. Issue 4: Fostering Close and Effective Relationships
    • Jean Rhodes, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts in Boston
    • Issue available for free download at MENTOR’s website
      • www.mentoring.org
      • “ Access Research” Tab  Research in Action
  • 7. Issue 4 - Overview
    • Introduction
    • Characteristics of Effective Relationships
    • Mentee Involvement Success
    • Persistence and Duration
    • Practical Implications
    • ACTION Dialogue
  • 8. Characteristics of Effective Relationships - Mentors
    • Prior experience in helping roles
    • Sensitivity to socioeconomic and cultural influences
    • Basic sense of their ability to be effective
    • Able to model and encourage skills and positive behaviors; discourage negative behaviors
  • 9. Mentor Approach
    • Mentor’s Interaction Style:
    • Developmental
      • Focused on youth development
      • Mutually agreed upon activities that promote closeness and growth
      • Matches more satisfied with relationship
    • Prescriptive
      • adult-governed goals
      • no adjustment of expectations on the part of the adult
      • lack of consistent support from the adult
  • 10. BBBS Study – 2004
    • Relationships distinguished themselves on basis of support, structure, and activity that mentors provided
    • Mentees who report “moderate” levels of activity and structure experienced largest number of benefits
      • Decreased alienation from parents
      • Decreased conflict with friends
      • Improved sense of self-worth and school competence
    • No benefits were evident in unconditionally supportive relationships
  • 11. Working Together
    • Joint decisions on activities and goals:
      • Greater relationship quality
      • Longer match duration
      • Improvements in relationships with other adults
    • Mentors who remain flexible have more success
      • Comfortable balance among having fun, working towards goals, and exploring emotions
  • 12. Mentee’s Role
    • Mentees share some responsibility for the success of the relationship
    • Need realistic expectations for mentors and clear understanding of their own role in the relationship
    • Should be encouraged to take active ownership of the process
  • 13. Overcoming Resistance
    • Mentors should be sympathetic to mentees’ past experiences that might complicate their capacity to form trusting bonds with adults
    • Conflict resolution can help matches understand their differences and move forward toward goals
  • 14. Persistence & Duration
    • How often mentors and youth spend time together is significant
    • Youth in longest matches receive the most benefits from mentoring
    • Evidence of negative effects for matches ending prematurely
  • 15.
    • More than once per week
    • Once a week
    • Every other week
    • Multiple times per month
    • Once a month, or less
    POLL: How often do you expect your matches to meet?
  • 16. Regular Contact
    • Regular meetings lead to:
    • Engagement in beneficial activities
    • Emotional and instrumental support
    • Deeper integration of the adult into youth’s social network
  • 17.
    • More than one year
    • At least one year (calendar or school year)
    • 6 months
    • Less than 6 months
    • No duration requirement
    POLL: Match Duration: How long do you ask your mentors to commit to a match?
  • 18. Impact on Mentors
    • Longer, stronger relationships mutually beneficial
    • When mentors do not see benefits, matches are at greater risk of ending
    • One-sided relationships drain mentors, leave mentees feeling burdened
    • Mentoring relationship personally rewarding to the Mentor
  • 19. Practical Implications
    • Match support is essential, particularly during early stages of relationships
    • Program practices that support the mentor and relationship produce stronger positive effects
    • Programs must be able to not only match mentors and mentees but must also be able to sustain those matches
  • 20. Conclusions
    • Every mentoring relationship is different – a unique blend of the volunteer’s and youth’s experiences, personalities, and circumstances.
    • Success requires motivation, commitment, and flexibility on the part of the adult and youth, along with concerted effort on the part of the program to support each match in all of its complexity.
  • 21. ACTION Dialogue
    • Close relationships lead to the best youth outcomes
    • Fostering relationships that:
      • Are built on trust
      • Offer support
      • Engage mentees and mentors in mutually enjoyable activities
    • How can mentoring programs cultivate and encourage close and effective relationships in their matches?
  • 22. Tool: Supervision Questions
    • Frequency
    • Support
    • Structure
    • Guidance
    • Mentor Efficacy – Mentee Engagement
  • 23. The Mentor’s Pledge
    • I commit to:
      • Making a difference
      • Being consistent
      • Encouraging another
      • Building a mutual relationship
      • Asking for assistance
      • Recognizing that change comes slowly
      • Remaining sympathetic
      • Realizing that my actions carry new weight and responsibility
      • Being a mentor
  • 24. MENTOR
    • The leader in expanding the power of mentoring to millions of young Americans who want and need mentors.
      • Learn to Mentor Toolkit— A Resource and Training Guide for New Mentors
      • www.mentoring.org
  • 25.
    • Provides training and technical assistance to youth mentoring programs.
      • http://educationnorthwest.org/nmc
      • Mentor/Mentee Training and Relationship Support Resources
        • http://educationnorthwest.org/resource/364
        • “ Keeping Matches Together”
        • “ Building Relationships: A Guide for New Mentors”
        • “ Overcoming Relationship Pitfalls”
        • And many more resources!
    Education Northwest: National Mentoring Center
  • 26. Questions or Comments?
  • 27.
    • This presentation provides an overview of Research in Action Issue 4: Fostering Close and Effective Relationships in Youth Mentoring Programs
    • This tool was produced by MENTOR/The National Mentoring Partnership and can be accessed on their website:
    • www.mentoring.org