Mentoring Youth cont'd (6d) - Benefits of Collaboration

Benefits of Collaboration:
  • Expand services to reach a wider audience;
  • Develop a greater understanding of client needs;
  • Improve communication with other youth serving organizations;
  • Increase knowledge of resources and services available to mentees, mentors and mentoring program staff;
  • Ensure the sustainability of the mentoring program;
  • Increase organizational capacity by bringing together diverse strengths and competencies;
  • Increase visibility with the media and the public;
  • Reduce costs;
  • Conserve resources.

Building a successful mentoring program is challenging. Careful consideration should be given to the various factors involved: cost, possible duplication of services, legal liability, organizational structure, and capacity for outcomes evaluation and ongoing quality improvement. Additionally, mentoring staff must have a solid understanding of youth mentoring research and best practices, along with demonstrated skills in applying evidence-based practice to their work. Forming partnerships with existing mentoring organizations and programs with the established infrastructure and knowledge base to run a mentoring program is highly recommended. Good intentions are not enough to deliver an effective youth mentoring program as there are a myriad of components to establish and oversee. MENTOR (an American advocate and expert mentoring resource) has developed an online toolkit grounded in research and evidence-based practices, which provides detailed information, sample forms, advice and other resource materials to develop and manage a program. The toolkit (which can be downloaded here) addresses four major components of a safe and effective mentoring program:

  1. Program Design and Planning;
  2. Program Management;
  3. Program Operations; and
  4. Program Evaluation

“We all want young people to be knowledgeable, caring, responsible, and healthy. Young people who succeed academically and in their personal lives are socially and emotionally competent. They are self-aware. They have a positive attitude toward themselves and others. They know their strengths and are optimistic about the future. They can handle their emotions. They are able to set and achieve goals. And they are effective, responsible problem solvers”
Safe And Sound: An Educational Leader’s Guide To Evidence-Based Social and Emotional Learning Programs, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, And Emotional Learning, March, 2003, page 5.