July 17, 2023, Durham, NC – iRT Research Scientist Dr. Rebecca Stelter is a member of a working group with other researchers from the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) Research Board contributing to the development of a youth-informed guide for young people seeking or entering a mentoring relationship. The guide will soon be 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 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 also motivate them to participate fully in a mentoring program and allow them to experience the benefits of mentoring once they have entered a mentoring relationship. The new guide will encourage 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 will be brief and engaging and will include a worksheet for young people to complete to prepare for a mentoring relationship.

Representing the opinions and voices of youth has been 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. Additionally, youth feedback informs the production of valuable content for the guide that will directly address 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.

Dr. Stelter connected with youth 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 has used youth’s contributions to inform the development of the guide and center all content around the input and needs of mentees. The guide will feature 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 mentoringcentral.net to access the latest resources and news in mentoring.