Why Student Mentors Matter

Mentoring is a powerful way to engage all students. At SMARTS, we believe a peer mentoring or coaching approach can be especially transformative for students with learning differences. Trying to teach students strategies to clean out their backpacks can be a challenge. But if you have a supportive and ‘cool’ mentor helping out, it gets a lot easier.

Mentoring makes a difference, as highlighted in the article Many students who need mentors still don’t have them. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

One in three young people — representing nine million at-risk youth — recalled a time growing up when they didn’t have a mentor outside their family, but wished they did…

Having someone who believes in you is absolutely crucial.  Mentors not only believe in their mentees; they can listen, provide guidance, and help their mentees in all areas of life.

Since evidence emerged in the mid-1990s of the significant positive impacts that professionally supported volunteer mentors can have on young people, the field has grown. With limited funding and largely grassroots efforts, the strategy reaches an estimated 4.5 million young people who have mentors through structured programs run by nonprofits, schools and community centers.

Mentoring is growing but not nearly fast enough. Creating peer mentoring programs represents an efficient and easy way to help students develop the skills they will need to be successful in school and beyond. For more information on mentoring and resources to help you get started, check out the National Mentoring Partnership.

If you would like us to feature more information on peer mentoring, let us know in the comments!

  • Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager