The Impact of Natural Mentors
Mentoring doesn’t happen only in mentoring programs. The Claretian Initiative’s youth programs—like this month’s spotlight, the Holy Cross woodshop—all give participants the opportunity to interact with caring adults who can serve as mentors. These natural mentors include teachers, tutors, coaches, and program staff that youth meet in their everyday lives—and they matter! Research shows that connecting with a natural mentor can have a major positive influence on young people.
Finishing high school and attending college are just some of the positive results associated with having a natural mentor. According to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, kids with natural mentors also experience psychological benefits like higher self-esteem and increased life satisfaction, and they get more physical activity for better overall health.
Natural mentors help prevent violence, too. Youth with natural mentors are less likely to be involved in gangs and physical fights. They are less likely to take negative risks, but are more likely to push themselves to take positive risks like joining a team or volunteering, according to a study from Students Against Destructive Decisions.
Potential mentors in the form of caring adult leaders at the Holy Cross woodshop provide a positive, productive environment for children and teens in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Please check out our Cultivating Hope campaign to provide the woodshop with needed equipment and supplies. A donation of $25 helps provide the raw materials that fuel all the good the woodshop can do!