YouthFriends is a rapidly growing school-based mentoring network that connects caring adult volunteers with young people.
YouthFriends works by providing safe ways for volunteers to mentor students (grades K-12) in schools. Volunteers, who range from college students to senior citizens, typically spend an hour a week with one or more students. Each volunteer undergoes a quadruple screening process and attends a free, two-hour training session.
In addition to traditional mentoring activities, YouthFriends volunteer opportunities include academic tutoring, literacy support, e-mentoring, English language learning (ELL) and opportunities for high school students to mentor elementary students in their own school districts. There is no fee charged for youth or volunteer participation.
An evaluation of YouthFriends by independent evaluators show that students with YouthFriends demonstrate improvements in academics, attitudes toward themselves and other connectedness to school--an important predictor of graduation rates. A full 99 percent of YouthFriends volunteers would recommend volunteering to others and 66 percent have done so.
YouthFriends is a great starting place for adults who want to volunteer with young people, but don't know where to begin.