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Theories & Approaches

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Foundations of a Successful Youth Mentoring Program: A Checklist

Adapted with permission from the National Mentoring Center

Mentoring programs that positively impact the lives of youth are the result of systematic design across a number of critical program areas. As an overview of how to set up a strong youth mentoring program, this checklist will help you gauge the efforts necessary to launch a youth mentoring program. For information about "Foundations of Successful Youth Mentoring: A Guidebook for Program Development," visit:

1. Strong Agency Capacity

A written recruitment plan with multiple strategies.

Strong knowledge of mentoring and youth development research.
Written policy and procedure manual.
Access to training and technical assistance services.
Diversity of youth and community being served is reflected in the program.
Qualified and trained staff.
Evidence of agency support (from board or parent agency).
Community awareness of the program.


2. Proven Program Design

A written recruitment plan with multiple strategies.

Initial orientation for prospective mentors and mentees.
Established mentor/mentee intake procedures.
Appropriate mentor screening procedures.
Pre-match training for all new mentors and mentees.
Established matching procedure.
Established procedure for monitoring matches.
Support, ongoing training, and recognition for volunteers.
Established match closure procedure.
Stable and appropriate number of matches with a high retention rate.


3. Effective Community Partnerships

Effective collaboration with partner organizations.

Collaboration and networking with other local youth-service.


4. Sustainable Resource Development

Established resource development committee.

Assessment of internal resources.
Assessment of external resources.
Written resource development plan.


5. Useful Program Evaluation

Design and implementation of a local program evaluation.

Use of evaluation data for program enhancement.


National Mentoring Center. (2003). Foundations of Successful Youth Mentoring: A Guidebook for Program Development. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. Portland, OR. Online:


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