Sometimes we think of mentors narrowly as those who sign up through a formal program to spend time with a young person. In addition to these formal mentors, informal or everyday mentors can be any trustworthy adult who offers support, guidance, and encouragement to help young people overcome challenges and become their best selves.
Search Institute’s newest research-to-practice initiative focuses on studying and strengthening the developmental relationships that help young people succeed. A developmental relationship helps young people attain the psychological and social skills that are essential for success in education and in life. Young people can form these relationships with their parents and family members, with their friends and peers, with staff members in their schools and programs, and with caring adults in their neighborhoods and communities. When youth have strong relationships with trusted adults in addition to their parents, they are more able to overcome challenges, engage in school, and thrive in life.