Editors Blog

Embedded mentoring: An idea whose time has come

Embedded mentoring: An idea whose time has come

by Jean Rhodes Imagine if students were told to pack up their bags and drop out of school whenever their teachers decided to move, retire, or take medical leave? As they emptied their desks, some might be disappointed and wonder what they and their classmates had done to drive their dear teacher away. Fortunately, most […]

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What do Americans think (and do) about mentoring?: Important new report sheds light

What do Americans think (and do) about mentoring?: Important new report sheds light

by Jean Rhodes and Matthew Hagler With the release of a comprehensive new report on the scope of both structured and informal mentoring, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership has provided the field with important new data about the scope of mentoring in the United States. This report advances our understanding in several important ways. First, […]

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Shoulda. coulda. woulda: What listening to Joe Durlak might have done

Shoulda. coulda. woulda: What listening to Joe Durlak might have done

by Jean Rhodes In 1979, a young psychologist named Joe Durlak published a controversial study in Psychological Bulletin that sent ripples through the helping professions. What Durlak sought to do was to combine all published studies that had compared the outcomes of experienced psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers with those of paraprofessionals (i.e., nonexpert, minimally […]

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New study shows lifelong influence of mentors: But there’s a catch

New study shows lifelong influence of mentors: But there’s a catch

 by Jean E. Rhodes It almost goes without saying that natural mentors can be enormously influential– from early childhood through adolescence and early adulthood (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000; Lerner & Theocas, 2006; Erickson et al., 2015). But, because such relationships can not be randomly assigned, it is actually a bit difficult to untangle their causes from […]

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The Science is Clear: Separating Families has Long-term Damaging Psychological and Health Consequences for Children, Families, and Communities

The Science is Clear: Separating Families has Long-term Damaging Psychological and Health Consequences for Children, Families, and Communities

Editor’s Note: Given national events, and our field’s commitment to the lives of vulnerable youth, I devote this week’s column to an expert statement by from the Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) on the effects of separating families. To read the statement by David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR, on behalf of the National […]

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Who exactly was Mentor?: A stunning revelation and some important lessons

Who exactly was Mentor?: A stunning revelation and some important lessons

by Jean Rhodes Researchers and practitioners often refer to Homer’s Odyssey, when discussing the ancient roots of mentoring. In it Odysseus appoints an old friend, Mentor, to watch over his household and son, Telemachus, in his absence during the Trojan War. By nearly all accounts Mentor was a protective, guiding and supportive figure who acted […]

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“Then a miracle occurs:” Why we need a better understanding of youth mentoring

“Then a miracle occurs:” Why we need a better understanding of youth mentoring

by Jean Rhodes Early in my career, I developed a conceptual model of youth mentoring that, to my surprise, has been a remarkably durable and useful heuristic. It has been applied to formal and natural mentoring relationships and used to explain everything from short-term, goal-focused relationships with classroom volunteers to lifelong bonds with devoted grandparents. […]

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What is the “single greatest threat to children’s well-being:” And how can mentoring help?

What is the “single greatest threat to children’s well-being:” And how can mentoring help?

by Jean Rhodes “The way a problem is defined determines not only what is done about it, but also what is not done—or what apparently need not be done.”   Caplan, N., & Nelson, S. D. (1973). On being useful: The nature and consequences of psychological research on social problems. American Psychologist, 28(3), 199-211. According to data […]

Encouraging results: A sneak preview of a new meta-analysis on natural mentoring

Encouraging results: A sneak preview of a new meta-analysis on natural mentoring

Levi Van Dam, L., Wildschut, B., Smit, D., Branje, S., Rhodes, J., Assink, M., Stams, G. J., (in press). Does natural mentoring matter? A multilevel meta-analysis on the association between natural mentoring and youth outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology. By Levi Van Dam and Jean Rhodes Natural mentoring relationships are far more common than those […]

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A pyramid scheme for mentoring programs: Well, not exactly

A pyramid scheme for mentoring programs: Well, not exactly

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. John F. Kennedy by Jean Rhodes Although most youth interventions are developed in response to particular needs or goals, mentoring programs were conceived more broadly as an extension of informal helping relationships. For nearly a century, most volunteer mentors were tasked simply with building friendships […]

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