Research Summary

From Treatment to Empowerment: New Approaches to Youth Mentoring


From Treatment to Empowerment: New Approaches to Youth Mentoring

4 years ago 4 years ago Published by
This research summary was developed by Pathways to Education.


Youth mentoring refers to a relationship between a young person and a non-parental adult with more life experience who offers guidance, support, and encouragement.

This paper argues that current models of youth mentoring overemphasize the mentor-youth relationship and do not pay enough attention to the broader relational contexts in which young people live. The authors review the history of youth mentoring which gave rise to this model, and they present a rationale for updating it to shift away from formal one-on-one mentoring relationships.

The proposed approach suggests mobilizing community resources and helping youth identify, connect with, and draw on relationships with adults whom they already know in order to build natural mentoring relationships. This approach recognizes the assets already present in young people’s lives, and emphasizes empowering youth by teaching them the skills to seek meaningful connections with supportive adults in their communities.

This new model is relevant to researchers and program managers as it proposes a significant shift from the current model of youth mentorship. This paper does not include practical tips for implementing the new model. However, it does describe various examples which may be valuable for program managers.

Pathways to Education. (2017). From Treatment to Empowerment: New Approaches to Youth Mentoring. Toronto, ON: Author.

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