Cross-age youth mentoring

Program basics

  • Facilitate mentorship between older and younger youths to build social connectedness
  • Managed by schools and nonprofits
  • Aims to increase self-esteem, social skills, academic achievement, and sense of community while reducing delinquent behavior and victimization
  • May be targeted toward specific groups (for example, individuals with ADHD) or those facing specific challenges (for example, transition to college) or integrated into broader interventions (for example, advancing physical activity)

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)

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Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps


Target population

All school-aged children

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Increased social connectedness and interpersonal skills
  • Improved attitudes toward school and parents
  • Decreased instances of youth depression
  • Benefits for both mentors and mentees
  • Increased academic achievement and reduced delinquent behavior

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Cross-age youth mentorship can be incorporated into broader youth programs such as health programs or programs that promote physical activity.
  • Having strong support from the relevant school administration is critical to integration of these programs into the school community.
  • Well-orchestrated matching of mentor and mentee is crucial for engagement in mentoring programs.
  • Provide proper training and supervision to mentors and then select deliberate activities to facilitate mentor/mentee relationship building.
  • Allowing youths to lead the programs helps improve mentor engagement.

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