Cross-age youth mentoring
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help promote healthy childhood environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
- Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- 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)
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
- 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
Best practices in 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.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps evidence overview of cross-age youth mentoring programs Karcher and Berger, "One-to-One Cross-age Peer Mentoring," National Mentoring Resource Center, September 2017 Cawley et al, "Effect of HealthCorps, a High School Peer Mentoring Program, on Youth Diet and Physical Activity," Childhood Obesity Vol. 7, No. 5, October 2011 Mentoring Resource Center: "Building Effective Peer Mentoring Programs in Schools: An Introductory Guide," 2008