Mentoring is a structured relationship between a younger person and a caring individual who offers guidance, support, and encouragement. Peer mentoring is an evidence-based strategy to create positive outcomes for youth, including those with increased vulnerability.
During the 2022-2023 school year, Youth and Family Services will pilot a cross-age peer mentoring program at Snowy Peaks Junior and Senior High School. Trained high school students will be matched with a middle school student and meet at school for one hour per week throughout the school year. Mentors will receive support and training from the Peer Mentoring Specialist using an evidence-based mentoring curriculum, and students can receive community service hours for participation.
Why Peer Mentoring?
Peer mentoring’s advantage over adult-led groups is the enhanced social safety youth perceive from having teens as mentors. While adults possess authority by virtue of their age, position, and responsibility, teens provide younger youth with a social network and psychological safety, which leads to enhanced learning and support for behavioral change. Having an older mentor who provides consistent support can be a protective factor for young people while navigating life’s challenges.
Benefits of Mentoring For Mentees
- Increased connectedness to school, family, and future self
- Raising self-esteem, confidence, and wellbeing
- Enhanced social and emotional development
- Stronger communication skills
- Improved relationships with peers
- Increased opportunities for community participation
- Reduction in feelings of isolation
Benefits of Mentoring for Mentors
- Sense of satisfaction through making a difference in the life of a younger person
- Increased leadership and collaboration skills
- Building confidence and new skills, including social, emotional, and communication skills
- Learning from and with a younger student
- Sharing life experiences and wisdom with a younger person
- Taking an active, valued role within the school community