Mentoring in America: A Summary of New Research Fact Sheet

Both MENTOR and the Corporation for National and Community Service have released new studies that shed new light on mentors and the “mentoring gap”—the number of young people in need of a caring adult to help them succeed in life—as well as Americans’ attitudes, motivations and behaviors toward mentoring. Findings from the Corporation’s survey, titled Volunteers Mentoring Youth: Implications for Closing the Mentoring Gap, are designated by an asterisk (*), while the findings from MENTOR’s study, titled Mentoring in America 2005: A Snapshot of the Current State of Mentoring, are designated by a double asterisk (**).

3 Million Adults volunteer as mentors, 59% work full-time - a higher percentage than volunteers who are not engaged in mentoring. 44 Million adults say they would seriously consider mentoring

One-One Mentoring is on the Rise**

  • Approximately 3 million adult volunteers are involved in formal, one-onone mentoring relationships with young people, an increase of 19% (500,000 mentors) since 2002.
  • While a growing number of youth have mentors, an additional 14.6 million young people could benefit from having a mentoring relationship. This unmet need constitutes the “mentoring gap.”

Most Mentors Work Full Time*

  • 59% of all volunteers who engage in mentoring work full time—a higher percentage than for volunteers who are not engaged in mentoring (53%).
  • Despite having less discretionary time, these adult volunteers are more inclined to mentor youth than people who do not work. Thus, workplace mentor opportunities are important for recruiting more mentors.

A Substantial Amount of Mentoring Takes Place through Religious Organizations*

  • 43% of all volunteers engaged in mentoring youth volunteer in or through religious organizations, making religious organizations a primary place to recruit additional mentors. The next most prevalent site for mentoring is educational organizations, at 31%.

Millions of American Adults Are Willing to Mentor**

44 million American adults who are not currently mentoring a young person say they would seriously consider mentoring. Some key factors that would encourage them to take the next step include:

  • The availability of expert help when needed (83%).
  • The convenience of mentoring a young person near their home or office (83%) or with programs that offer a variety of schedules and interests (79%).
  • Employer sanctioned time off to mentor (70%).

Mentors Are Willing to Work with Youth from All Backgrounds**

  • Current mentors are very willing to work with special populations of youth, including youth with disabilities (83%), children of incarcerated parents (78%) and immigrant youth (77%).
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