Thursday, February 18, 2010

Stand in Line to Perish in Packs!

Stand in line, Perish in packs!17.6 million young people are considered high-need for mentoring
Only 2.5 million adults currently volunteer as mentors
15 million young people are still waiting for mentors.
71% of mentors work informally, with no assistance from an organization.
29% of mentors work formally, with assistance from organizations.
There is a huge need for mentors and mentoring programs, as the statistics above display, there are 15 million children still waiting for mentors. These 15 million children are deemed high need for mentoring. This means that they come from broken homes with fractured families, they struggle with dealing, with the complexity of society, and they are confused with the messages from the media. Based on the belief that for young people to have productive lives and become resilient they must have certain needs met. They are:
• The need to belong
• The need for mastery
• The need for independence
• The need for generosity
If those needs are met students will demonstrate certain behaviors and attitudes, such as:
• Belonging
• Friendly
• Co-operative
• Trusting
• Mastery
• Motivated
• Persistent
• Independence
• Confident
• Takes Responsibility
• Self Discipline
• Generosity
• Caring
• Loyal
• Empathetic
• Pro-social
All of which are the characteristics of a productive citizen, there are two sure ways that young people learn. Young people learn by mistakes and by mentors, we want them to learn from our mistakes and the only way to make sure this happen is by mentoring. We are responsible for directing our youth in the right direction. We need to become involved with youth mentoring, by donating goods and services, recruiting others, sponsor group outings and activities, or simply taking an interest in the life of a young person. This is a major issue that has an immediate effect us and that will continue to affect us for years to come. We cannot afford to sit back and watch 15 million children, stand in line to perish packs.

What can we as instructional designers do to help close the gap, created by a lack of community involvement in youth mentoring programs?


  1. I want to start mentoring after reading your blog. I have always thought this to be important but did not realize the staggering numbers. I am putting this on the top of my list for things to be involved in after graduation.
    I think that as instructional designers we need to develop a program or instruction with advertising that would let the community know more about how serious this problem is. We would need to consider how to best reach people from every aspect of life. I think the first step is to become involved and then to develop a program and instruction to educate the community.

  2. Wow! That is powerful! I can see where an instructional designer could develop programs that are effective for mentoring.

  3. As instructional designers I think we can begin to close the gap by developing programs that address the needs of both the youth and the mentors within the context of present day demands.
    Using current technology that is accessible to most, such as text messaging, to maintain mentoring relationships is a great start. The development of the program & buy in around such an approach will be important to success.

  4. I am surprised to see the number too. There are many things that we as instructional designer can do. For example, on one hand, we could try to develop related programs as mentioned above. On the other hand, we could make good use of technology to develop different kind of mentoring products for that, CD/DVD, for instance.

  5. I'm moved by your heart! Thank you so much for working so diligently with the youth. As an eigth grade English teacher, I see exactly what you're talking about and can wholeheartedly affirm it.

    I think we need to foster more relationships. As "mere" instructional designers, our role in doing that would likely be limited to us taking the time to love up on those around us.

    Mother Teresa, when asked by a man what he could do to help bring about world peace, told the man to "Go home and love your family." I think this is where we need to start first. From there, we can move on into designing a system that brings people together - educators and youth ministers, social workers and mentors, parents and siblings, young and old - and enables a "free-learning dialogue" among them all.

    I know that's a little "Pie in the sky," but it's what came to mind.