Introduction & Setting the Stage

Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.

Formal (i.e., program-supported) mentoring began at the advent of the juvenile justice system with the creation of Big Brothers and Big Sisters in 1904.

Mentoring takes place between young persons (i.e., mentees) and older or more experienced persons (i.e., mentors) who are acting in a non-professional helping capacity to provide support that benefits one or more areas of the mentee’s development.

The concept of an older, wiser figure supporting the healthy growth of a young person is deeply rooted in human history—the term “mentor” dates back to Greek mythology, and both Homer’s “The Odyssey” and many ancient religions include stories about mentorship.

Landmark Youth Mentoring Studies