Youth Mentoring Programs: Part 2

In last Friday’s Advisor, we talked about how youth mentoring programs are preparing our future workforce. Today, we’ll continue to recognize National Mentoring Month with more expert advice on youth mentoring programs.

Dr. Susan G. Weinberger, affectionately known as Dr. Mentor, is the president of the Mentor Consulting Group in Norwalk, Connecticut, and an international expert on internal and external business mentoring and coaching programs. In this article, she continues to describe youth mentoring programs:

Kinds of Company-Sponsored Youth Mentoring Programs

Regardless of location of the mentoring, companies work in partnership with a nonprofit that provides adequate staff to monitor and provide constant, ongoing support to the mentoring program.

School-based mentoring programs take place only at a school site. The mentor typically spends a minimum of 1 hour a week during the school day matched with a student for a year.

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After-school programs occur at a school or an agency such as the YMCA or local Boys & Girls Club. Programs sponsored by Big Brother Big Sister agencies can take place at school sites but also under staff supervision at the discretion of the mentor and mentee in the community. All matches may extend beyond 1 year based on the strength and success of the match and willingness to continue the relationship.

A more recent form of mentoring is Internet-based. Company employees and their mentees are engaged in sessions via the computer. These include a prescribed curriculum over a safe site that allows mentors and mentees to touch base on a weekly basis but usually also includes some interaction in person.

Reverse Mentoring

Much like reverse coaching within companies where a junior employee might be engaged in teaching a senior member the latest technology, mentees can often play a role in teaching their mentor a thing or two. Young people today are technologically savvy and often assist their mentor with everything from surfing the Web, including Facebook and Twitter, to how to navigate their new iPhone, iPad®, computer, or similar device. I confess that some years ago my mentee actually taught me how to text on my BlackBerry® and gave me several lessons about texting abbreviations, such as LOL, about which I had not a clue. I think she got the last laugh!

January—National Mentoring Month

Since 2001, national youth-serving organizations, such as MENTOR, United Way Worldwide, and others, have teamed up with the Harvard School of Public Health every January to celebrate youth mentoring. The effort is aimed at acknowledging the value and multidirectional benefits of mentoring and creating awareness of the importance and need for more mentors in the lives of young people. National Mentoring Month is a great time to jump on board, provide "work release" for your employees to get involved with a deserving youth, and enjoy the benefits. Socially responsible companies engage mentors who improve their own morale, satisfaction, and improve their job and personal performance. A listing of programs available in your area can be found on

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Weinberger has a BS degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and her doctorate from the School of Business and Public Management at the University of Bridgeport. She is widely published and is a consultant to numerous corporations, community agencies, and schools and four federal agencies. She can be reached at or

Why It Matters

  • Mentoring is a win-win for your organization to attract and train young talent and for young talent to be drawn to a career in your organization.
  • Mentoring is also a win-win for the mentor and the mentee as the generations learn from each other.
  • In short, mentoring is a form of training that your organization should seriously consider implementing and nurturing in your workforce.