Photo courtesy of Senior Master Sgt. David Lipp, via Wikimedia Commons.
Take a moment to think about someone who had an impact on your life. Someone who supported you during a difficult time or provided guidance as you learned a new skill. Who was this person? A parent? A teacher? A coach? A 4H Adviser? A friendly neighbor? Regardless of who assisted you, or what support they provided, you likely feel a deep appreciation for that relationship.
Benefits of Mentorship
Broadly, we describe these influential individuals as mentors. Some mentoring relationships are more formal than others, but the outcomes related to mentoring are overwhelmingly positive; especially for youth. Current research on mentoring shows that youth who have a mentor are:
- 55% more likely to enroll in college
- 81% more likely to get involved in extra-curricular activities
- 46% less likely to use substances
- More likely to trust and communicate with their parents
- Less likely to report depressive symptoms
Mentoring Program: 4H Youth & Families with Promise
Through funding from the Nation 4H Council and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the 4H Youth and Families with Promise mentoring program will be implemented in South Dakota. The evidence-based curriculum from Utah State University was created in 1994 with the goal of reducing and preventing juvenile delinquency. The program has 3 main components: a) 1 year of one-to-one mentoring for youth ages 10-14 for 1 hour per week; b) participation in 4H Clubs; and c) bi-monthly Family Night Out (FNO) events. All mentors, youth, and their families are invited to participate in FNO events which include a meal and educational activities. The program is being piloted in Beadle County, with plans to expand to more communities in future years.