Why Mentoring?

Supporting our neighborhood’s teen moms is one way of building a bigger community within St. Johns.

MENTOR, the National Mentoring Partnership, describes a mentor as:

… an adult who, along with parents, provides a young person with support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement and constructive example. Mentors are good listeners, people who care, people who want to help young people bring out strengths that are already there. A mentor is not a foster parent, therapist, parole officer, or cool peer. … Mentoring – the presence of caring adults offering support, advice, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples – has proved to be a powerful tool for helping young people fulfills their potential.

Older moms engaging teen moms as caring adult role models, friends, and advocates can play a valuable role in helping teen moms fulfill their potential as people, citizens, and mothers.

Coming together can also play a role in building community — an investment in teen parents and their children is an investment in positive futures for us all. Studies show that without interventions, the children of teen parents are more likely to:

  • Live in poverty
  • Experience neglect and abuse
  • Become teen parents themselves
  • Drop out of high school
  • Become incarcerated
  • Lack employment as adults

… One antidote to these dismal outcomes lies in encouragement, advocacy, and access to resources & education. Researchers (Horwitz, Klerman, Kuo, and Jekel, 1991) have shown that decreasing social isolation can help in the long-term success of teen mothers, and a committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics showed in 2001 that social support correlates positively with improved outcomes for adolescent mothers.

The mentoring project aims to bring older moms and teen moms together to create nurturing, helpful relationships, share the joys and challenges of parenthood, and offer information about family resources and activities that teen moms may be unaware of. Mentors have proven “indispensible in assisting pregnant and parenting teens in locating and utilizing community resources” according to Human Sciences Outreach (2003).