Mentoring alleviates crime according to research


Annie Shafi

With everything going on with our youth and knife crime on the rise, there has been an increasing pressure on how to tackle this issue. There is a lot of pressure on programs to serve these youth. The key question is can these programs reach these youth? whats in the program? How would it benefit them?.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation conducted key research to examine how mentored youth benefitted from their mentoring experience.  The study, summarized in The Role of Risk: Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth with Varying Risk Profiles followed over 1,300 youth for 13 months and compared two groups of youth, those that were mentored with those that weren’t.

The findings were impressive with the mentored youth reported;

  • To have fewer depressive symptoms
  • Greater acceptance by their peers,
  • More positive academic attitudes and better grades.

The most impressive findings were related to depression, with all youth having some level of depressive symptoms when they joined the program. It was great to see through mentoring it was helping the youth come out of their depressive state.

However, mentors had very distinct challenges and required specific training needs to the risk level of their mentee. Mentors who felt they had insufficient training were failing to build a rapport with there mentees. the unsuccessful pairings had various reasons for why matches ended, depending on the risk profile of the youth with whom they were matched. Other findings suggested that program practices such as mentor training and regular support calls may help strengthen matches.

The study has several key takeaways including:

  1. To maximize impact and outcome, programs should tailor training and support to the risk backgrounds of the youth being served.
  2. Mentoring should be broadly available, so they can benefit varying youth.
  3. The core area identified is mental health and programs should place a greater emphasis on it.

Alternatively, a study done by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and from Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada (BBBSC) shows the variety of positive effects that mentoring has on children. This study was one of the largest studies done on mentoring children in Canada. Some of the results they found there that:

  • Girls with a Big Sister are two and half time more likely than girls without a mentor to be confident in their ability to be successful at school.
  • Boys with a Big Brother are three times less likely than boys without a mentor to suffer peer pressure related anxiety, such as worrying about what other children think or say about them.
  • Mentored boys are two times more likely to believe that school is fun and that doing well academically is important.
  • Mentored boys are also two times less likely than non-mentored boys to develop negative conducts like bullying, fighting, lying, cheating, losing their temper or expressing anger.

Mentoring is important and a way for these youth to get out of the rut they find themselves in. As individuals of the community, we should be giving back to our community and helping the youth so they can better prepare for their futures.

Mentoring is the right direction for helping the youth get out of the trouble they find themselves in. Studies and research support this and we as the community should be coming forward to help these youths.

Mercy Mission Mentor has established a strong mentoring programme having trialed it out in London and Birmingham. the Mentoring programme looks at providing support for foster care leavers and refugees who happen to be the most vulnerable people in our society.

They match these mentees with mentors from a diverse professional background so they can truly inspire these children so they can become upstanding citizens and contribute to society. The Mentor programme will be expanding to Manchester and Leeds in the coming months.

Better Community Business Network (BCBN) one of our biggest supporters are partnering with Khulisa, Redthread, and StreetDoctors this year to tackle youth violence and knife crime across London. Interrupting the cycle of violence is paramount if we are to protect future generations of young people. Through interventions which support young people at high-risk transition points in their lives, we can equip them with the knowledge and emotional resilience to make more positive decisions, helping them to lead safe, happy and fulfilling lives, free from violence and crime.

BCBN’s 6th Gala Event will be held at the Great Room, JW Marriott on Monday 10th September. The event will be attended by over 600 guests from the business community and charity sector. Our guest speaker for the evening will be, Rt Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party.

The Better Community Business Network (BCBN) is a Muslim-led charity and business-networking forum bringing together professionals, key politicians across the political spectrum and heads of charities to facilitate community engagement. Since its inception BCBN has raised over £1.3million in funds for community causes and has attracted support from respected figures such as HRH The Prince of Wales; Former Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Nick Clegg; Former Justice Secretary, Rt Hon Chris Grayling; Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London amongst others. BCBN’s Grant Initiative aims to provide small grant awards to empower charities, strengthen citizenship and local community projects for the betterment of our society. As a founding principle, BCBN is funded entirely by its Trustees. However, it relies on the generosity of the wider community and business sector to raise necessary funds to support worthy causes and vulnerable communities and provide relief for those in need in the UK.

You can purchase your tickets for the Gala dinner here.

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