Over a million American students drop out of school each year. Now that statistic is frightening for anyone, let alone an education advocate like myself. So, what can we do? There are a number of ways to decrease the current drop out rate but one particular method that has caught my attention is mentorships. Over the past decade and a half, mentoring has been on the rise in the United States, with close to a quarter of a billion dollars of federal funding devoted to mentoring programs since 2008.
But what exactly is a mentorship? A mentorship is somewhat elusive, but my broadly defined definition would state that a mentorship is a process in which communication between a child and positive adult role model is crucial and through the process a loving, guiding, and supporting relationship unfolds between the child and the role model.
One of the reasons mentoring took off in the 1990s was the publication of a large study about Big Brothers Big Sisters which showed that mentoring over the course of a year or 18 months could help more adolescents avoid negative behaviors including drug and alcohol use, and engaging in violence or disregarding school.
Mentoring programs are designed to work with children who are neglected, withdrawn, depressed or act out aggressively. Some of these mentoring programs make a connection with the child that lasts about nine to eighteen months. I cannot say with confidence that such brief intervention in a child’s life will make a significant difference; a nine to eighteen month crash course on how to deal with extreme emotions is hard enough for an adult to endure, let alone a child.… <Read More>