Mentoring is the supportive one-to-one interaction between a young person and a caring adult with a focus on supporting and encouraging the young person to fulfil their potential. The crucial component of mentoring is the trusting relationship that develops over time between the mentor and the young person.
Informal mentoring takes place in many young people’s lives through support received from such people as sport coaches, neighbours, family friends and others.
However, there are many young people who could benefit from having the same support but do not have that same interaction within the community. Formal mentoring programs have developed to address this need.
Mentoring relationships are different from the other possible professional relationships young people may experience with youth workers, counsellors, police or social workers in that mentors are usually volunteers who provide an emotional and social element to the relationship.
Mentoring in the school context focuses on a mentor supporting and encouraging a young person to fulfil their potential by taking full advantage of the educational opportunities offered in a school setting.
The Standing Tall model of school based mentoring is based on the understanding that genuine engagement with opportunities offered to a young person in a school setting lead to positive outcomes across a range of immediate and long term health, academic and life outcomes.
The support and encouragement afforded in a mentoring relationship with an adult can, for many ‘at risk’ young people, strengthen their chances of making this happen.
Standing Tall programs realise that, due to the complexity of contemporary society, challenges faced by schools cannot be faced by schools alone and support from all sections of the community is vital to be able to deliver the best outcomes possible. This benefit both the young people and the community.