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The positive impact of mentoring

Empowering youth

Mentoring provides an opportunity to help young people attain developmental assets or life skills needed to better deal with life’s challenges.

The first four asset categories focus on external relationships and activities that create a positive environment for young people:


Young people need to be surrounded by individuals who love, care for, appreciate and accept them.


Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe, when they feel they are liked and respected, and when they contribute to the community.

Boundaries and Expectations

Young people need the positive influence of peers and adults who encourage them to be and do their best. They need clear rules about appropriate behavior and consistent, reasonable consequences for breaking those rules.

Constructive Use of Time

Young people need opportunities outside of school to learn and develop new skills and interests.

The next four asset categories focus on internal values, skills and beliefs:

Commitment to Learning

Young people need a variety of learning experiences, including the desire for academic success and a belief in their own abilities.

Positive Values

Young people need to develop strong guiding values or principles, including caring about others, and having high standards for personal character.

Social Competencies

Young people need to develop the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions and choices, and to cope with new situations.

Positive Identity

Young people need to believe in their own self-worth, and to have a sense of purpose in life as well as a positive view of the future.

Things you can do as a mentor to build developmental assets

1. Learn student names and use them.

2. Use creative, fun activities to engage students in thinking.

3. Ask students to help you with a project or task.

4. Explain program expectations to students.

5. Compliment students for doing positive things.

6. Show genuine respect and expect it in return.

7. Talk to students about things you have in common.

8. Listen actively.

9. Talk about people you admire and why.

10. Help students move through frustrations.

11. Follow through and show up on time.

12. Help students with decision-making skills.

Interacting with youth through one of the Kiwanis Kids programs provides the perfect mentoring opportunity.

Sources and resources

The National Mentoring Partnership, Washington, DC,

Kimball-Baker, Kathleen, (2003), Tag You’re It! 50 Easy Ways to Connect with Young People, A Search Institute Publication.