FRIENDS FIRST is proud to announce that we had the wonderful opportunity to be a contributing partner in the Peer Mentoring Supplement to the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™ resource published by MENTOR with support from the Taco Bell Foundation.
The Peer Mentoring Supplement guide offers evidence-informed recommendations the practices used to build strong peer mentoring relationships, results from literature review of research on peer mentoring, strengths and challenges of the peer mentoring model and considerations for implementation.
What is the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™?
MENTOR’s cornerstone publication, the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, details research-informed and practitioner-approved Standards for creating and sustaining quality youth mentoring programs and consequently, impactful mentoring relationships. The Fourth Edition, released in September 2015, reflects the most up-to-date research, practice, and thinking in the mentoring field.
A new wave of research is highlighting the effectiveness of near-peer mentoring relationships in which older youth and young adults offer their support to those coming up behind them. These peer mentoring relationships are especially helpful around educational transitions—such as into high school or for college access and persistence—and effective entry onto a career path. These relationships have also proven to be impactful for the young people serving in the mentoring role as well, such as in boosting their leadership and communication skills.
Because these models hold such promise, MENTOR and the Taco Bell Foundation collaborated to produce a new publication designed to help practitioners and funders plan and deliver strong research-based peer mentoring programs. The resource will also be helpful to those working in K-12 spaces, especially school-based programs in which high school or middle school age youth mentor their younger peers. Much of the content will also be valuable to peer mentoring models focused on the transition into, and persistence in, college.
Key Findings from Research on Peer Mentoring:
Benefits for mentees are found in a wide range of developmental, social, and academic outcomes (e.g., connectedness to school, increased social support from peers and adults such as teachers, improved attendance and graduation rates).
Mentors also experience a wide range of benefits (e.g., improvements in leadership skills, stronger communication skills and peer relationships, sense of identity and purpose).
There are also benefits to institutions and organizations that facilitate peer mentoring, such as improvements in school climate or retention rates in higher education.
The clear need for structural supports and adult-led roles that can facilitate the implementation of these programs within their given contexts.
April Montoya & Leah Galvin
FRIENDS FIRST is more than 25 years old and has been dedicated to educating and mentoring teens to make positive life choices and develop healthy relationships. Our vision is to empower teens with the knowledge, skills set, and mentoring needed to lead healthy and successful lives. We are investing in this mission through our in-school STARS peer mentoring program, which is a 26-week program that pairs a younger student with an older student mentor and focuses on the core elements of self-awareness, future focus, and MentorLife®, facilitating Project AIM. It’s a positive youth development program that encourages youth to articulate their personal goals and provides parent education workshops and community events. Our students and communities are equipped through our programs with a strong sense of character, competence, confidence, community, and compassion in their pursuit of healthy relationships and rewarding futures.