Youth Mentoring Program Planning and Design Resources


January 2022


2 high school age students sitting outside a school

The following resources for planning, designing, and implementing a youth mentoring program were developed by our National Mentoring Center project. All are free to download. Please contact us if you have any questions about these resources.

Foundations of Successful Youth Mentoring: A Guidebook for Program Development
Written for program administrators, board members, mentoring staff, and others interested in establishing or improving youth mentoring programs, this 110-page guidebook lays the foundation for a mentoring program's long-term success and the safety and well-being of the youth they serve. The guidebook identifies five critical foundations of successful youth mentoring and delivers specific guidance on how to optimize them in new and existing mentoring programs. Includes self-assessment questions, listings of other key resources, detailed checklists, and planning timelines.

Generic Mentoring Program Policy and Procedure Manual
This resource makes it simple for mentoring programs to create their own customized manual to guide both policy and day-to-day services. Be sure to download the Customizable Template version in Word format as well.

The ABCs of School-Based Mentoring
This newly revised version incorporates the latest research from Public/Private Ventures and other mentoring leaders into a guide for school and community partners. This guide provides an excellent starting point for schools or districts thinking about adding on-site adult-youth mentoring services.

Building Effective Peer Mentoring Programs in Schools: An Introductory Guide
This guidebook provides a framework for designing a peer mentoring program, where older youth (typically high school students) mentoring younger students (elementary or middle school) in a school setting. The guide incorporates the latest research on peer mentoring, and provides solutions to the common challenges faced in implementing a peer mentoring model.

Making the Grade: A Guide to Incorporating Academic Achievement Into Mentoring Programs and Relationships
This 100+ page guidebook provides guidance on designing and implementing a school-based mentoring program that is grounded in research and best practices. It also provides advice for mentoring relationships in school settings, including tips for building trust, setting goals, and improving academic and personal competencies for participants.

Going the Distance: A Guide to Building Lasting Relationships in Mentoring Programs
Mentoring research has consistently shown that longer-lasting matches are a key to successful outcomes for youth and for programs as a whole. this guidebook focuses on the many aspects of program design and management that have an impact on match length. If you want to create long-lasting mentoring relationships in your program, this guide can help.

Strengthening Mentoring Opportunities for At-Risk Youth (Policy Brief)
Five of the most prominent researchers in the youth mentoring field have teamed up to produce a new policy brief that explores what we know about youth mentoring and the issues the field must address moving forward.

Research and Practice: The Role of Evidence-Based Program Practices in the Youth Mentoring Field (Fact Sheet)
This fact sheet examines the growing trend in youth mentoring (and the broader education and youth development fields) of evidence-based practice, which, in theory, bases programmatic and policy decisions on rigorous science. This shift in public policy formation has produced both positive and negative consequences for the youth mentoring field. The fact sheet examines these issues and highlights discussion of the topic that took place at the 2009 Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring.

Building an Effective Advisory Committee (Fact Sheet)
A mentoring program is often only as good as the leadership provided by a board or advisory committee, and this fact sheet examines strategies for recruiting advisory team members and assigning roles.

Making the Most of Higher Education Partnerships (Fact Sheet)
Mentoring programs can substantially benefit, in terms of volunteers, space, and access to a variety of resources, from partnerships with higher education institutions, and this fact sheet explores ways of building those long-term partnerships.

Webinar - Building a Mentoring Resource Collection
This webinar focused on how mentoring programs can build a small in-house "library" of publications, resources, research, evaluation tools and other items that can help inform staff, help with program decisions, and enhance mentoring relationships. Recommendations of dozens of specific books are included.

Webinar - Infusing Creativity Into Your Mentoring Program
Art projects and other creative activities can be an excellent supplement to any mentoring relationship. This presentation by Sarah Kremer of the Friends for Youth Mentoring Institute highlighted many ways in which mentoring programs can build art components into the services they provide. Additional downloads:

Strengthening Mentoring Programs Curriculum
This full training curriculum covers two main areas: developing a successful mentoring program and training volunteers to be effective mentors to young people. Spread over 10 core modules, this resource will be valuable to any organization building a program or revamping the training they provide mentors.