9th graders are linked to a mentor

As humans, our brains “wire” and develop around the relationships we are in. Youth who are in caring relationships with adults they trust are more likely to succeed in and out of school and to actively contribute to their community. As youth enter high school, transitioning into the home stretch of their childhood, a strong relationship with a safe adult has the power to propel them through an often vulnerable time in their life.

Some mentoring relationships are formal—coordinated and supported through mentoring organizations. Some are informal or what is called “natural mentoring”—authentic relationships that emerge over time within the context of an individual’s life experience. While it is incredibly challenging to capture comprehensive data on this topic, that is our long term goal. We are searching for an answer to the question: How many of our youth feel connection and support from a non-parental adult in their life?

Central Oregon schools, non-profits, mentor organizations and businesses are joining together to ensure that every 9th grader in Central Oregon has at least one positive, safe adult they go to for guidance and support as they transition into adolescence and young adulthood.  The 8+9 Project aims to connect youth with community based summer programming the summer before and after 8th grade and a link to a mentor in the 9th grade.

Reference: DuBois, David, Nelson Portillo, Jean Rhodes, Naida Silverthorn, and Jeffrey Valentine. How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth?: A Systematic Assessment of the Evidence. (2011).

Siegel, Daniel J. MD. The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are. New York: Guilford Press, 1999.

Schwartz, S.E., J.E. Rhodes, R. Spencer, and J.B. Grossman. “Youth Initiated Mentoring: Investigating a  New Approach to Working with Vulnerable Adolescents.” American Journal of Community Psychology 52 (2013): 155-69.