Community Engagement

Community Engagement

In 2014, MENTOR released a report titled The Mentoring Effect which gave voice to young people’s insights about the role mentoring plays in their lives. The report confirmed that mentoring has a significant impact that results in positive outcomes for young people involved. Mentoring connects them to networks of support and resources that allow them to reach for social and economic opportunity and succeed.

Unfortunately, one in three young people will grow up without a mentor. To close this gap, it will take everyone from parents, students and teachers to counselors, coaches and family friends – anyone who has a touch point in a young person’s life.

Community engagement is an undeniably critical part of ensuring that mentoring isn’t left to chance. Public officials can support policies that promote mentoring as part of comprehensive educational and youth development initiatives. Teachers, counselors and school administrators can ensure mentoring is integrated into holistic student supports. Business leaders can encourage employee engagement in youth mentoring by partnering with a nonprofit program and offering time to mentor during business hours.

How can you get involved? Start by learning more about community-wide engagement in youth mentoring. Check out each section for details about cross-sector approaches. Then, check to see if there is a MENTOR Affiliate in your area, and reach out to them for resources and consultation on community engagement. If there is not a MENTOR Affiliate in your state, contact MENTOR directly for consultation.

Schools   Businesses   Law Enforcement   Public Sector



The Mentoring Effect survey found that students who were at-risk for not graduating but who had a mentor were 36% more likely to aspire to enroll in and graduate from college than those who did not have a mentor, and 55% more likely to be enrolled in college. For example, one survey respondent said, “My mentor attended the college I’m at now, and she took me out and informed me of how to get into college. She was always there to support me.”

Schools and school districts across the country are tapping into the mentoring effect by partnering with local nonprofit experts to systematically match students to mentors to provide extra adult support and guidance to keep them on the path to graduation. Having a mentor provides a holistic approach to all other academic interventions aimed helping a student achieve. For example, the New York City Interagency Task Force on Truancy established the NYC Success Mentor Corps as an integral tactic in the effort to assist students who were chronically absent by identifying the root cause of their absenteeism and providing them with a support system for regular attendance.

Learn more about what the research tells us about mentoring’s impact on academics.



In “Mentoring: at the crossroads of education, business and community,” MENTOR found that top US businesses are collaborating with the public and nonprofit sectors to connect youth in their communities to transformative mentoring relationships while also seeing the value returned in the form of employee satisfaction, growth and productivity. Private sector engagement is most successful when an initiative follows best practices, including:

  • Align mentoring engagements with your corporate strengths.
  • Collaborate with a non-profit expert or school for maximum impact.
  • Facilitate increased peer learning and idea sharing among service providers and private sector actors focused on mentoring.
  • Foster employee engagement through an open understanding of where and when mentoring takes place, as well as ongoing support.
  • Invest in proven, evidence-based programming.

Where it’s working

  • Bank of America fosters a culture of volunteer mentoring by encouraging employees to serve as mentors in either short or long-term opportunities through robust mentoring volunteer partnerships in local communities and offering employees two hours a week to volunteer. In one year alone, this effort resulted in more than 211,000 hours in mentoring from more than 25,000 employees. In addition, in 2013, Bank of America contributed more than $22 million in grants to nonprofits working to connect individuals to education and job training programs, including support for organizations to match over 100,000 youth with mentors.
  • Coastway Community Bank employees mentor in 10 schools from elementary to high school in low to middle income areas covering the communities they serve. In addition, their employees contribute 100 volunteer hours to manage a silent auction fundraiser for the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership.
  • Luxottica employees based in Cincinnati, Ohio at the company’s North America headquarters designed a workplace mentoring program to support and inspire students to graduate high school and go to college. Each year since 2001, 45 students grades 9-12 are matched with Luxottica mentors. An additional 1,350 students at the school are supported in-school with technology-based initiatives.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Succeed Through Service program introduces hotel employees to students in 82 middle schools in low-income communities and follows a curriculum focused on teaching career and life skills along with civic responsibility. The program includes employee time in the schools as well as student trips to The Ritz-Carlton Hotels for firsthand experiences.
  • College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) is the EY LLP signature volunteer program for education in the US and targets underserved high school students who have the potential to succeed in college, but need some extra help creating the “MAP” that will take them there. EY collaborates with College For Every Student to support 560 students from 23 cities as they move through the college application process.

 Read the Report


Law Enforcement

The Mentoring Effect survey found that young people who were at-risk for not graduating high school but who had a mentor were 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities and 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities. Not only do the youth who are involved in extracurricular activities and volunteer work benefit, but so do their families, friends, and neighbors. Their involvement in positive activities helps them cultivate skills, values and meaningful relationships that promote healthy development.

At the same time, youth with mentors are more likely to resist negative influences. Mentoring is fifth in a list of 31 strategies for its rate of success in preventing criminal violent behavior. The young adults surveyed for The Mentoring Effect articulate the impact of mentoring relationships best in their own words:

[My mentor] gave [me] the skills necessary to diffuse conflicts between individuals.


Often it is uncomfortable to go to a parent about topics such as friendships, relationships, and drinking, but it is easier to talk to a trusted adult other than a parent.

If I had gotten an adult mentor from sixth grade to sophomore year, I would have a different life by now for sure. I ended up with more mistakes which have had their lasting consequences and left me with regrets.

Learn more about what the research tells us about mentoring’s impact on reducing youth violence.


Public Sector

Public servants with local, state and federal governments play a critical role in ensuring that mentoring is leveraged as a key component of any holistic approach to youth development and success. Funding for mentoring is vital to ensuring programs have the staff and resources necessary to run safe and effective operations. Equally important are policies that promote and support expanding and integrating quality program efforts. And public agencies can also enact personnel policies that allow employees time off to mentor.

Local Level

At the local level, Mayors are on the frontlines of addressing many of our nation’s most pressing challenges, from poverty and hunger, to high school graduation rates and job growth. Their innovative policies often flow up to influence state and national efforts. In cities and towns across the country, Mayors are collaborating with MENTOR’s Affiliates, cross-sector leaders and mentoring programs to scale quality mentoring initiatives, and mobilize their communities to better equip their young people to succeed. Learn more about Mayors for Mentoring here.

State Level

At the state level, elected officials and public servants have championed a variety of efforts to support mentoring from gubernatorial proclamations for National Mentoring Month, to inventive ways of funding quality programs. In Washington and Indiana, our affiliate Mentoring Partnerships mobilized state leaders to start programs allowing residents to purchase license plates that support mentoring with a portion of the proceeds benefiting mentoring programs. Our Massachusetts Affiliate led efforts to establish and maintain a state budget line item in Massachusetts that provides funding to mentoring programs.

Federal Level

At the federal level, National service members with AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps serve in two ways: as mentors and by building the capacity of mentoring organizations through mentor recruitment and management, fundraising, and program administration. Each year, more than one million children and youth from disadvantaged circumstances are mentored through federally supported programs.

Since 2008, the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has invested more than $600 million in youth mentoring grants and research. In 2015, the agency and MENTOR launched a joint initiative, the National Mentoring Resource Center, an effort to lead mentoring programs to increase incorporation of evidence-based practices.

In addition to these federal investments in quality youth mentoring, there is much more that the federal government can do to more fully integrate mentoring into solutions designed to meet our nation’s most pressing challenges. Visit MENTOR’s Advocacy pages for more information on specific legislation you can support.