Mentoring is a sustained, supportive relationship between a young person and a non-parental adult or older peer, either in the context of a structured, formal mentoring program or through an informal, natural relationship that develops organically (Dubois & Karcher, 2014).
Mentors typically offer guidance, support, and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of a mentee (MENTOR USA).
A close and trusting relationship between a youth and mentor is thought to shape the youth’s socio-emotional, cognitive, and identity development in ways that promote positive outcomes across a range of academic and psychosocial domains (Rhodes, Spencer, Keller, Liang, & Noam, 2006). Mentoring relationships can also have a positive impact on young people’s social capital and help them enhance their network of support and connect with educational and occupational opportunities (Hagler and Rhodes, 2018).
Several meta-analyses conducted between 2002 and 2018 that examined mentoring programs highlighted small effect sizes on a number of outcomes related to academic, emotional, behavioural, and social development (DuBois et al. 2002, DuBois et al., 2011, Raposa et al., 2019, Christensen et al., 2019).