Stand by Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today's Youth (Family and Public Policy)

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9780674007376: Stand by Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today's Youth (Family and Public Policy)

A child at loose ends needs help, and someone steps in--a Big Brother, a Big Sister, a mentor from the growing ranks of volunteers offering their time and guidance to more than two million American adolescents. Does it help? How effective are mentoring programs, and how do they work? Are there pitfalls, and if so, what are they? Such questions, ever more pressing as youth mentoring initiatives expand their reach at a breakneck pace, have occupied Jean Rhodes for more than a decade. In this provocative, thoroughly researched, and lucidly written book, Rhodes offers readers the benefit of the latest findings in this burgeoning field, including those from her own extensive, groundbreaking studies.

Outlining a model of youth mentoring that will prove invaluable to the many administrators, caseworkers, volunteers, and researchers who seek reliable information and practical guidance, Stand by Me describes the extraordinary potential that exists in such relationships, and discloses the ways in which nonparent adults are uniquely positioned to encourage adolescent development. Yet the book also exposes a rarely acknowledged risk: unsuccessful mentoring relationships--always a danger when, in a rush to form matches, mentors are dispatched with more enthusiasm than understanding and preparation--can actually harm at-risk youth. Vulnerable children, Rhodes demonstrates, are better left alone than paired with mentors who cannot hold up their end of the relationships.

Drawing on work in the fields of psychology and personal relations, Rhodes provides concrete suggestions for improving mentoring programs and creating effective, enduring mentoring relationships with youth.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Everyone who cares about expanding the availablility of quailty mentoring should read this book. It reaffirms that we must continue to seek creative ways to meet the wide array of mentoring needs that exist among this country's wonderful young people." —Geoffrey T. Boisi, Chairman National Mentoring Partnership "This extraordinary book is a must read for anyone involved in youth mentoring. Jean Rhodes' wonderfully lucid writing and wise reflections on years of research illuminate how mentoring works--and how it can be improved." —Judith Vredenburgh, Executive Director and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

"Stand by Me provides the clearest presentation of mentoring theory and research that I have seen. And importantly, it gives practical guidelines for increasing mentoring's impact on youth. I highly recommend this engaging and readable book not only to mentors and mentoring organizations, but also to all adults who work with our nation's youth." —Peter L. Benson, President, Search Institute

"Stand by Me is a treasure trove of ideas for adults who want to make a difference in the lives of young people. Jean Rhodes' research and synthesis of the "do's and don'ts" of mentoring will help create the types of meaningful bonds between young people and others that will help them thrive, not simply survive. The book contains useful, important information about when and why mentoring works. She explains the quality of relationships needed to create the types of bonds that matter." —Karen Hein, M. D., President, William T. Grant Foundation

About the Author:

Jean E. Rhodes is Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

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