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This volume brings together the findings from separate studies of community-based and school-based mentoring to unpack the common response to the question of what makes youth mentoring work.
A debate that was alive in 2002, when the first New Directions for Youth Development volume on mentoring, edited by Jean Rhodes, was published, focused on whether a goal-oriented (instrumental) or relationship-focused (developmental) interactions (conversations and activities) structure would prove to be more essential for effective mentoring. The consensus appeared then suggested that the mentoring context defined the answer: in workplace mentoring with teens, an instrumental structure was deemed essential and resulted in larger impacts, while in the community setting, the developmental structure was the key ingredient of change.
Recent large-scale studies of school-based mentoring have raised this question again and suggest that understanding how developmental and instrumental relationship styles manifest through goal-directed and relational interactions is essential. Because the contexts in which youth mentoring occurs (in the community, in school during the day, or in a structured program after school) affect what happens in the mentor-mentee pair, our goal was to bring together a diverse group of researchers to describe the focus, purpose, and authorship of the mentoring interactions that happen in these contexts in order to help mentors and program staff better understand how youth mentoring relationships can be effective.
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