Quality mentoring alleviates future costs on social services

As part of our 20 Challenges in 2012 initiative to celebrate Mass Mentoring's 20th anniversary, we are releasing a series of challenges to address key goals of mentoring in Massachusetts. Goal six is 20 ways that communities grow with mentoring. The Highland Street Corps Ambassadors of Mentoring have researched 20 ways that mentoring provides positive social benefits that strengthen schools, families and communities. You can read more about their findings here.

This first guest post is from Lianna Mika, an Ambassador at the Boston Area Health Education Center.

Did you know that for every $1 high-quality mentoring programs spend, states save $2.72 in future social service costs, including counseling and the cost of future public assistance.

The costs saved are helpful for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and preventing a need for future social services is beneficial for young people who enter into mentoring relationships.

Youth in high-quality mentoring relationships show improvement in multiple areas, including in school behaviors and attitudes toward alcohol and drugs. These improvements lead to better adjusted, more successful young people who will go on to personal success.

The young people who benefit most from a mentoring relationship are those who may not have many caring adults in their lives who are able to push them to be their best. A quality mentoring relationship often helps these young people make the most of their potential and gives them the self-esteem they need to succeed.

According to the Mass Mentoring Counts 2010 report compiled by Mass Mentoring Partnership, programs spend an average of $1,696 per youth in a mentoring relationship. In 2010, there were 22,881 youth in high-quality Massachusetts mentoring programs affiliated with Mass Mentoring Partnership. This means that all of the MMP affiliated programs in Massachusetts spent around $38,806,176 in 2010. If we calculated the return on that investment in saved future social service costs, Massachusetts will save $105,552,799 because youth in 2010 were placed in high-quality mentoring relationships. With the state of our current economy, any dollar saved is helpful; the $105,552,799 saved because of mentoring can be used for other needs throughout the Commonwealth.

There are still almost 3,000 youth on waitlists for mentors in Massachusetts. Every young person deserves a caring person in their life. The Commonwealth will also save money by placing these youth in mentoring relationships. Think about becoming a mentor today and making a difference in the life of a young person.

Source: UMass Donahue Institute Research and Evaluation Group. (2010). Retrieved from Mass Mentoring Counts 2010