Youth-initiated mentoring for at-risk youth in different contexts: Experiences and evidence
WORKSHOP LED BY NATASHA KOPER & SUZANNE DE RUIG
Natasha Koper is a researcher and lecturer in the field of forensic developmental psychology. In September 2017, she started working as a research assistant and lecturer at the department of Education & Pedagogy of Utrecht University, the Netherlands. In March 2018, she started a PhD studying the effectiveness and working mechanisms of the Youth Initiated Mentoring (YIM) approach as an outpatient alternative for out-of-home care of youth (12-18 years). This research project is a collaboration between Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, and the YIM Foundation (all based in the Netherlands).
Suzanne de Ruig is a family therapist and social worker. She worked for 17 years with (multi-problem) families in mental health care and youth care / youth social services. In 2016, she founded the YIM foundation, the Netherlands, with the mission that every youth has a Youth Initiated Mentor (YIM). The YIM Foundation enables organisations to work with YIM. Suzanne is developer, trainer and YIM practitioner for the YIM Foundation.
Most mentoring organizations aim to develop a meaningful relationship between two strangers. This type of mentoring, that is, formal mentoring, comes with inherent difficulties such as a lack of volunteers, problems in the development of trust or early relationship break down. Youth-initiated mentoring is an innovative, hybrid form of mentoring, that may offer solutions to some of these difficulties. Like in informal mentoring, youth-initiated mentoring relationships are relationships that youth have developed naturally with an adult from within their social network, such as family members, neighbors, teachers, sport coaches or acquaintances. From meta-analytic studies we know that approximately 75% of youth have a natural mentor and that their presence can have an enormous positive effect on the development of children. By appointing this supportive adult as mentor of the child, the relationship is formalized and thus strengthened, like in formal mentoring. Youth-initiated mentoring, thus, shows potential to support at-risk youth in ways that might be more effective and easy than formal mentoring.
In this workshop Suzanne de Ruig (founder of the YIM Foundation, the Netherlands) and Natasha Koper (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) will present experiences from practice and evidence from scientific research on youth-initiated mentoring. The YIM Foundation has several years of experience with youth-initiated mentoring for at-risk youth populations in different contexts, such as schools, foster care and mental health care.
They will answer questions such as:
- What is youth-initiated mentoring and how does it differ from formal and informal mentoring?
- What is the theoretical foundation of youth-initiated mentoring?
- What are strengths and pitfalls of youth-initiated mentoring?
- How can youth-initiated mentoring be implemented in different contexts?
Questions and problems follow from the presented practice-based and evidence-based knowledge. In this interactive workshop participants are invited to discuss these and brainstorm about potential solutions that are approached from different perspectives (mentor, youth, parent, professional).
This workshop is intended for participants from practice, policy and science interested in the potential of youth-initiated mentoring. Prior knowledge of youth-initiated mentoring is not required.