Primary Sources: Sharing Equals Growing for Mentors and Mentees

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Photograph of young people shaking hands with older mentors.

Beyond the Dichotomy of Work and Fun: Measuring the Thorough Interrelatedness of Structure and Quality in Youth Mentoring Relationships” (abstract), New Directions for Youth Development, Vol. 39 No. 12, December 2010.

What it's about: Using the framework set forth in the article summarized here, the authors use the results of an Arizona study to further investigate what makes a mentoring relationship work: Is it fun, structure or a combination?

Why read it: By understanding how fun and structure benefit mentees, program staff can help mentors and mentees get the most out of their relationships.

Biggest take away for youth workers: The authors found that sharing -- talking about everyday life and hopes and dreams and problems -- enhances all activities for mentors and mentees. When a pair shares concerns and experiences with each other while having fun, their reflection aids the mentee’s academic and social development. And during activities that aim to improve the mentee’s grades or explore future careers, sharing makes mentees feel closer to their mentors and increases their sense of achievement.

Additional reference: Check out these mentoring tools and resources from the Search Institute, including strategies for integrating the 40 Developmental Assets into fun mentoring activities.

(Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of this and other publications.)

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