Call to Action - Make a Difference
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Make a Connection

Why do youth dropout?
There are multiple factors that contribute to youth dropping out of school that reach beyond academics, including: lack of food or shelter, loss of a parent due to incarceration, death or military deployment, unsafe and unprepared schools and communities, early pregnancy or other physical health issues, and substance abuse and mental health challenges.

The Value of Mentoring

Mentor provides their mentees with an experienced friend who is there to help in any number of situations including:

  • Support educational goals
  • Support day to day living
  • Support in the workplace

Mentoring is a proven way to keep youth engaged and on a path to graduation and future achievement.

Visit to locate a mentoring organization in your area.

Story of “Mentor”

Be the change you want to see in the world.

– attributed to Ghandi

The story of Mentor comes from Homer’s Odyssey. Odysseus, king of Ithaca, fights in the Trojan War and entrusts the care of his household to Mentor, who serves as teacher and overseer of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus.

After the war, Odysseus is condemned to wander vainly for ten years in his attempt to return home. In time, Telemachus, now grown, ventures in search of his father. Athena, Goddess of War and patroness of the arts and industry, assumes the form of Mentor and accompanies Telemachus on his quest. Father and son reunite and cast down would-be usurpers of Odysseus throne and Telemachus’ birthright.

The word Mentor evolved to mean trusted advisor, friend, teacher and wise person. History offers many examples of helpful mentoring relationships: Socrates and Plato, Hayden and Beethoven, Freud and Jung. Mentoring is a fundamental form of human development where one person invests time, energy and personal know-how in assisting the growth and ability of another person.

History and legend record the deeds of princes and kings, but each of us has a birthright to actualize our potential. Through their deeds and work, mentors help us to move toward that actualization.

From Shea, Gordon F. (1997) Mentoring (Rev. Ed.). Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications

Community Organizations

This list is but a few organizations working to provide mentors for young people. For a more exhaustive list of organizations in Washington state please visit the Mentoring Program Inventory at Washington State Mentors.


State Initiatives

Dropout Prevention, Intervention, and Reengagement Inventory
A resource for peer sharing of effective strategies, programs, models, and partnerships that engage students, support academic and social/emotional needs, and create educational momentum for secondary and post-secondary success.

Mentoring Art Contest
In honor of National Mentoring Month and to recognize the value of mentors to students, OSPI partnered with Washington State Mentors to create an art contest themed to Mentoring.

National Mentoring Month

Check and Connect Project
Developed by University of Minnesota, Check and Connect is a comprehensive intervention implemented by a trained mentor to keep students engaged through school, family, and community.

Mentoring Program Inventory
Washington State Mentors keeps a list of up to date list of organizations across Washington that provide mentoring opportunities to youth.

Dropout Reengagement Program Inventory
Open Doors is a dropout reengagement framework for districts that requires individual case management for students enrolled in these programs.



Mentoring and Academic Achievement
This study tested the extent to which Big Brothers Big Sisters can provide youth with measurable benefits. It also explored some of the potential strengths and limitations of this program model to help schools make informed choices about how to help their students succeed

Roles of Risk
This report presents results from the first large-scale evaluation to examine how the levels and types of risk youth face may influence their mentoring relationships and the benefits they derive from mentoring programs.

Elements for Effective Practice for Mentoring
A publication on mentoring standards including the latest research and practice wisdom available to help mentoring relationships thrive and endure.



Washington State Mentors
The mission of Washington State Mentors (WSM) is to promote and support quality mentoring that fosters positive youth development and academic success.

MENTOR – National Mentoring Partnership
MENTOR helps children by providing a public voice, developing and delivering resources to mentoring programs nationwide and promoting quality for mentoring through standard, cutting-edge research and state of the art tools.

Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research
The Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research at Portland State University is dedicated to advancing the field of mentoring through innovative and rigorous research, education and knowledge sharing, and partnerships with organizations providing services.

The Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring
The goal of the Center for Evidence-based Mentoring is to advance evidence-based youth mentoring through the development and dissemination of tools, resources and research relative to mentoring.


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   Updated 2/3/2014

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