Uncredited (2008). Prevention Action: June 24, 2008.
Exerpt: Being mentored appeared to have a limited positive impact on participants in general. Students’ self esteem was modestly enhanced, but there was no impact at all on grades. Elementary school boys and high school girls benefited more.
Karcher believes that programs like the one he studied could be more effective if they did a better job recruiting and keeping mentors and ensuring that recruits receive the support they need to stay connected to their mentees.
Michael Karcher, Ed.D., Ph.D. & Carla Herrera, Ph.D. (2007). Youth Mentoring: Research in Action, 1(6), 3-16.
Exerpt: Over the last ten years, mentoring has seen unprecedented growth. This has been particularly noticeable in school-based mentoring (SBM), a relatively new form of mentoring that brings mentors into schools to meet with students. A national poll conducted by MENTOR (2006) estimated that close to 870,000 adults are mentoring children in schools, and this estimate does not include the thousands of high school-aged volunteers currently mentoring in schools.
SBM is now the most common form of formal mentoring in the U.S., surpassing traditional community-based mentoring (CBM). Its growth, however, has outpaced the research necessary to determine whether and how the program works (Portwood & Ayers, 2005). Recent studies have begun to outline some of the model’s strengths and challenges. Results from these studies support three main conclusions: 1) SBM is a very different intervention from the traditional CBM model; 2) the approach does benefit participating youth, primarily in peer relationships and other school-related areas; and 3) several practices may be crucial for maximizing youth benefits.
Debra Viadero (December 13, 2006). Education Week, “Eye On Research” section, 8-9.
Exerpt: “Overall, the field has been devoting more attention to quantity than quality,” said one of the researchers, David L. DuBois, who has criticized the emphasis on rapidly expanding the number of mentorships. “This is not to blame the practitioners in the field, because funders and policymakers are putting pressure on them by saying: ‘Here’s finally something that works, so we’re going to fund it. But we want you to do it on a large scale, because we care about reaching large numbers of young people.’”
The trend is worrisome, experts say, because studies show that more than half of mentoring matches fizzle within six months.
When that happens, studies show, the children can end up feeling worse than if they had never had a mentor, said Jean E. Rhodes, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston who has studied those aftereffects.
Vincent T. Davis (October 19, 2006). San Antonio Express-News.
Exerpt: Karcher, 39, an associate professor of psychology at UTSA, co-edited “The Handbook of Youth Mentoring,” which examines the gap between the current thinking and programs that promote youth mentoring. The book offers experts’ ideas of how organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Communities in Schools should recruit, teach and support mentors.
Karcher’s goal is teaching how to improve the quality of mentoring by providing resources to those who train mentors.
“Mentors are always asking for training on different topics,” said Denise Barkhurst, executive vice president for Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. “It's hard to coordinate schedules and times citywide. So we thought, why not have a large training (session) and help them become better mentors?”