Whitman Mentor Program
The mentor program pairs Whitman students with approximately 100 local K-5 students at the following elementary schools - Berney, Blue Ridge, Edison, Green Park, Prospect Point and Sharpstein. The Intervention Specialists at each school identify children who would most benefit from this college role model and pair them up for the school year.
The mentor walks, bikes or carpools to the school where their mentee attends. They eat lunch together and spend recess playing with one another to build a consistent friendship founded on time and trust.
Some mentor/mentee friendships last the entire four years of a Whitman student's college career. A highlight of the mentor/mentee friendship is the annual Mentee to Campus Day in early spring when the K-5 students visit Whitman for a fun carnival, performances, treats and memories.
This program has enriched the lives of local elementary students for the past 20 years.
Mentor Programs' Research Findings
What difference can a mentor make in a young person's life?
More than most people realize. A 40-year study found that nearly 70% of the kids living in the worst conditions are able to thrive nevertheless, if they are emotionally connected to some adult and within a community (Werner, 1989). Child Trends (February, 2002) reviewed studies of ten youth mentoring programs, including both national and locally based programs. Their review compares youth randomly assigned to a mentoring program with a group of similar youth who were not assigned.
They found youth participating in mentoring relationships were:
- 50% more likely to have fewer absences from school;
- more likely to attend college;
- placed a higher value on school;
- 46% less likely to initiate drug use (minority youth were 70% less likely);
- 27% less likely to initiate alcohol use;
- committed fewer misdemeanors and felonies after program participation;
- 33% less likely to hit someone;
- had more positive attitudes toward the future, the elderly, and toward helping in general; and
- felt they trusted their parents more and communicated better with them.