Thanks to Lori Kangas-Olson of Bridges Kinship Mentoring for today’s post…

Bridges Kinship Mentoring

Bridges Kinship Mentoring serves youth and children in Itasca County with 4 quality programs. The commitment is small but the rewards are large. Community Based, School Based, Kinship Connections and Lunch Buddies are unique ways to volunteer your time by spending it with a child.

Mentoring works! It really does! At its most basic level, mentoring works because it reassures a young person that there is someone who cares about them. The Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success emphasizes how important quality out-of-school time is for every young person. Through quality after-school and out-of-school programs, Bridges Kinship Mentoring is working hard to be part of the team that gives every child the opportunity to succeed.

Think back to some of the life skills you were shown.

How to apply for your first part-time job.

How to cook a basic, healthy meal.

How to communicate in social settings.

Mentors provide their mentees with an experienced friend who is there to help in any number of situations.

January is National Mentoring Month: An opportunity to showcase how we can help young people become successful. Bridges Kinship Mentoring currently has 70 community based matches yet we still have a mentoring gapCurrently, 20 kids are on our waiting list with more in some measure of the pre-mentoring process.  That’s 20 + young people seeking some sort of support and friendship with a caring adult.  Finding mentors is a tremendous challenge and we are working to close the mentoring gap, community by community. And with each new mentoring relationship, we will steadily closing the gap.

How Mentoring Works:

  • Mentors help keep students in school.
  • Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a
  • day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class (Public/Private Ventures study of BB/BS).
  • Mentors help with homework and can improve their mentees’ academic skills.
  • Mentors help improve a young person’s self-esteem.
  • Youth who meet regularly with their mentors are 46% less likely than their peers to start using  illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking (Public/Private Ventures study of BB/BS).
  • Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills.

In a research brief published by Child Trends and titled “Mentoring: A Promising Strategy for Youth Development” it was found that youth who participate in mentoring relationships experience a number of positive benefits.

In terms of educational achievement, mentored youth have:

  • better attendance;
  • a better chance of going on to higher education;
  • and better attitudes toward school.

In terms of health and safety, mentoring appears to:

  • help prevent substance abuse
  • reduce some negative youth behaviors.

On the social and emotional development front, taking part in mentoring:

  • promotes positive social attitudes and relationships.
  • trust their parents more
  • communicate better.

SPREAD THE WORD! MENTORING WORKS!  See how you can help fill the mentoring gap by visiting us at bridgesmentoring.orgAnd see what Collin Powell has to say about mentoring, too.  

Pieces of article were gleaned from