Parental Incarceration is one of ten traumatic experiences that can happen in childhood that scientists and doctors have labeled as Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs. Experiencing ACEs in childhood can lead to permanent impacts on physical and emotional health and quality of life. Research tells us that mentoring has a positive impact on youth. In a recent report from the CDC the following actions were among thoses recommended as the most effective ways of mitigating ACEs:
- Promoting social norms that protect against violence and adversity
- Teaching skills to help youth handle stress, manage emotions, and tackle everyday challenges
- Connecting youth to caring adults and activities
But we also know directly from our mentees that their mentors are having a tremendous impact on them. Here’s what they say.
Mentees were asked “the best thing about my mentor is…” and we generally see common themes in their responses. Some of the common themes this year include:
• listens • funny • plays games • always there • kind • nice • understands me • fun to be around • caring • can tell them anything • doesn’t judge • makes me happy • supports me • cool • pays attention to me • positive • calm •
“Since you started meeting with your mentor have there been any positive changes in your…”
- interest in doing things – 97%
- relationships with others – 91%
- ability to talk about my feelings – 84%
“He listens to me when I need to vent and every time he comes to visit we do activities like play card games and talk about my future.”
“She is very nice and understands the problems I am having and whenever I feel disappointed she helps me feel better.”
- 93% – When something is bugging me, my mentor listens while I talk about it.
- 94% – My mentor comes to see me when they are supposed to.
- 97% – When I am with my mentor, I feel happy.
- 93% – When I am with my mentor, I feel important.
- 98% – My mentor is always interested in what I want to do.
- 98% – My mentor helps me take my mind off of things by doing something with me.
Mentees are asked to tell us “the one thing I would change about my mentor is…”
It never fails that the most common response is either NOTHING or some variation on “I love the time we spend together!”
“I wouldn’t change anything because she is the best mentor!”