The pros and cons of mentoring stipends will be explored to determine if they should be used or not
Youth succeed when mentors from a similar background serve as role models.
To truly give young people growing up in high-risk environments a chance to succeed, Michigan State University Extension strongly encourages finding ways to support, intervene and redirect youth who have unenviable circumstances. Urban youth should have comparable experiences to their suburban counterparts. 4-H and other youth serving organizations have to encompass programming for all audiences. Diversity is a must so that no one is left out. High risk urban youth populations are not always afforded the same opportunities and it is our responsibility as professionals to ensure that they have access to educational resources.
The Macomb County 4-H Mentoring Program offers high-risk youth participants service learning projects, pre-college experiences such as 4-H Exploration Days, which takes place on the campus of Michigan State University, and 4-H Mentoring Weekend at the Kettunen Center (a full-service retreat facility on a lake in mid-Michigan). Exposure and education are the keys to expanding the mindsets of underserved youth. If you are unfamiliar with various accomplishments, such as obtaining a college degree or securing a successful career, or don’t see people who look like you that have attained them, it is more difficult to envision yourself in that role. The Macomb County 4-H Mentoring Program provides youth with the opportunity to “learn by doing,” so that they not only envision themselves in successful roles, but also master skills, which encourage the ability to conquer the unthinkable.
Success rates are higher for underserved youth populations if they have a role model mentor who has obtained the things that they are interested in. The mentor can show and teach them the process and steps that were taking to become a teacher or engineer. They are living proof that if you work hard, you can obtain success. It is helpful to have someone who looks like them to be able to relate and learn that all things are possible with resilience, persistence and hard work.