Without a caring adult in their life, a young person may drop out of school instead of thriving in their education. In other cases, the absence of a supportive adult could be the difference in youth pursuing their dreams or disengaging from society.
To support these youth without a consistent, caring adult in their lives, research has shown mentoring to be an effective strategy. Mentoring can improve self-esteem, academic achievement, and peer relationships while reducing drug use, aggression, depressive symptoms, and delinquent acts.
Mentors are not replacements for parents, guardians, or teachers, but they can be an important member of the team responsible for a child’s development. They can help to expand the boundaries of the adult-child relationship to include more fun experiences that encourage positive choices, promote self-esteem, and improve academic achievement.
OJJDP, in partnership with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, launched the National Mentoring Resource Center in January 2015. This online resource provides mentoring tools and information, program and training materials, and technical assistance to help local programs and practitioners improve the quality and effectiveness of their mentoring efforts.
Additionally, on OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide (MPG) site are reviews of effective and promising mentoring programs that can serve as models for other mentoring programs around the country. See the MPG Mentoring page to learn more.
Celebrated every year in January, National Mentoring Month is a nationwide campaign that aims to recruit mentors and focus national attention on the importance of those working together to ensure positive outcomes for youth.
To learn more, select a page from the "Mentoring" box for information and resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal agencies.