There is an old African proverb that states "it takes a village to raise a child." an idea that raising a child, teenage or young adult is a responsibility not only subjected to the child's parents. The "village" or in this case "society" should also feel a sense of responsibility towards the child with the understanding that their input or involvement will forever leave a lasting imprint on their lives. It will aide in shaping who they will become and how they will contribute to the "village" and/or "society."
With that being said, it is imperative that our society should seek to not only improve current at risk youth mentorship programs but invest in creating more especially with a higher concentration on at risk males. The common misconceptions society has about mentoring programs could be due to a lack of understanding about the programs themselves or a lack of understanding of the impact those can make in a child's life. Choosing to be a part of a mentoring program is life rewarding. What society fails to realize is that they have an opportunity to promote self-confidence, improve social developmental skills, and instill a positive influence in a young person’s life.
Studies have shown the presence of a mother and father is vital to a child’s life, especially the presence of a father or a male role model. Organizations such as first things first a non for profit whose dedication is to strengthening families mostly in the Hamilton county of Tennessee; suggest having a “father-child interaction promotes a child’s physical well-being, perceptual ability and competency for relating with others. These children also demonstrate greater ability to take initiative and evidence self-control.” (2014 first things first) furthermore, the involvement of a positive male role model can influence and guide our male youth to a successful and prosperous life.
Most would say it is ideal to have a household with both biological parents. However, it is not uncommon for other family members or friends to step up and fulfill that role. It is the initiative and dedication of those outside the immediate family members that provides growth in our at risk youth. Mentorship programs like the big brother big sister program, the henry ford youth mentorship program and the Steve and Marjorie Harvey foundation all share the same idea; which are to instill core values, provide a safe haven that natures a one-to-one relationship between the mentees and their mentors, as well as encourage an optimistic outlook on a better and brighter future.
Researchers Herrera, Carla, David l. Dubois and Jean Baldwin Grossman produced an evaluation based on the effects mentoring programs have on at-risk youth. Their findings which was published and can be found on the mentoring national mentoring partnership website titled “mentoring experiences and outcomes for youth with varying risk profiles” examined mentoring program relationships, experiences and benefits for higher-risk youth, and among the findings determined positive outcomes. Through this study these researchers were able to show the positive effects of having a mentor using statistics and percentages. An example of the statistics were reflected in the outcome of males who were involved with the mentorship program versus males who were not. Those who were linked with a mentor were more likely to graduate high school and attend a college, whereas those who were not linked with a mentor had a greater chance of becoming high school drop outs or being involved in illegal actives.
Surveys done by (Allensworth & Easton 2005). Indicated "children who have positive influences in their lives will grow intellectually, and are more likely to seek out gainful opportunities. Having a positive role model/mentor can help shape our youth while negativity can decrease their development."
The chances of our male youth growing up