Half of all mentoring relationships end within six months, often doing more harm than good. Working with Communities In Schools of San Antonio and with the support of the Office of K-16 Initiatives at UTSA, we will examine how school-based mentoring program coordinators can recruit better mentors and facilitate more sustained mentoring relationships with Hispanic mentees in grades 5 through 12. After testing the effects of mentoring on the mentees and mentors, we will examine which types of mentor motivation and mentor-mentee interactions best predict positive changes among mentors and mentees, and which contribute to whether or not the youth come to see their mentors as significant adults in their lives. Three hundred youth, half of whom will be assigned a mentor, will be followed for the first two years of the project to conduct the quantitative study of outcomes (e.g., self-esteem, connectedness, social skills, and academic success), and during the third year of the study will interview mentors and mentees to learn from them what makes for successful matches. Mentors for the study will be recruited from local colleges, businesses, religious/civic organizations, and we will be required to commit to at least 7 months of participation. Each week mentors will report what types of activities they engaged in with their mentees, and these reports will be used to explain mentee outcomes and satisfaction with mentoring, match longevity, and mentors’ experience of the match. To increase the likelihood of having a positive impact, mentors will receive constant support and monthly supervision and training to increase their competence and satisfaction with mentoring.
This study was designed to provide an in-depth and rigorous analysis of the effects of school-based mentoring relationships for students in 5th through 12th grades. The three-year research project is broken into four separate studies using three different research methodologies. Each study has its own rationale, hypotheses and analyses, which are explained in this section of the website for those interested in the technical aspects of the study. Those individuals whose questions are not answered in this section are encouraged to contact Dr. Michael Karcher for more information.