November 29, 2023, Durham, NC – iRT Research Scientist Dr. Rebecca Stelter joined a working group with other researchers from the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) Research Board to develop a youth-informed guide for young people seeking or entering a mentoring relationship. The guide is now freely available on the NMRC website.

Impactful mentoring relationships involve informed participation from both mentors and mentees, as well as support from mentoring program staff and parents. Mentees must feel equally equipped for the mentoring relationship as their mentor, be informed about their role as a mentee, and learn appropriate expectations for the mentoring relationship to feel comfortable seeking a mentor for the first time. Eliminating mentees’ uncertainties about what will happen during the mentoring experience may motivate them to participate fully in a mentoring program and therefore allow them to experience the benefits of mentoring. The new guide, entitled Youth Mentee Guide: Grow Your Mentor Relationships, encourages youth to seek out impactful mentoring experiences by providing helpful tips to begin, prepare for, stay involved in, and get the most out of an effective mentoring relationship. The guide is brief and engaging and includes a worksheet for young people to complete with their mentor to prepare for an impactful relationship. By providing young people with information to help them understand the benefits of mentoring, the roles of a mentor, and realistic expectations for match meetings, this guide may help them feel less reluctant to meet with a mentor and more willing to participate in a mentoring relationship.

Representing the opinions and voices of youth was a chief concern for everyone involved in the development of the guide. Youth must feel that their needs, expectations, fears, and goals for the relationship are heard and validated, so they can better contribute to the relationship. Dr. Stelter and the NMRC Research Board used youth feedback to inform the production of valuable content for the guide that directly addresses concerns youth have about entering a mentoring relationship.

“The purpose of this guide is to help young people feel prepared for a mentoring relationship, feel empowered to express their goals and interests for their relationship, and articulate their reasons for wanting a mentor,” Stelter says.

Stelter connected with youth involved in mentoring programs to gather their feedback about their experiences participating in a mentoring program, knowledge they believe is valuable to have before beginning a mentoring relationship, and advice they have for other youth beginning their first mentoring experience. The NMRC Research Board working group used these contributions to inform the development of the guide and center all content around the input and needs of mentees. The guide features quotes from real mentees speaking about their experiences having a mentor and participating in mentoring activities.

iRT continues to dedicate its expertise, research, and partnerships to developing resources for mentees, mentors, program staff, and parents looking to create mentoring relationships with lasting positive effects. Visit the NMRC website or to access the latest resources and news in mentoring.