Risk, support, and reasons for wanting a mentor: Comparing parents of youth in community versus school-based matches

Meredith Sourk, Lindsey M. Weiler, Timothy A. Cavell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We explored differences between parents/guardians of youth participating in community- (CBM) versus school-based (SBM) mentoring programs sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBS-Canada). Assessed were demographic differences as well as perceptions of risk, support, and reasons for wanting a mentor. Participating were 131 parents of youth in CBM (n = 79) or SBM (n = 52) matches recruited with assistance from BBBS agencies. All data were gathered via an online survey. Compared to SBM parents, parents of youth in CBM matches were less likely to be married and were living in homes with fewer adults and fewer children. However, CBM and SBM parents did not differ on ratings of family risk or social support. For CBM parents, a top reason for wanting a mentor was the desire for children to have new experiences; for SBM parents, top reasons included seeking academic support for children and because one of their children had a physical disability or mental illness. CBM and SBM parents in this study were more similar than distinct, but differences that emerged have potential implications for agencies' efforts to involve parents in youth mentoring programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-164
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by a Grant-in-Aid Artistry and Scholarship program award (PI: Weiler, # 89169 ) from the University of Minnesota .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adult-youth relationships
  • Community-based mentoring
  • Formal youth mentoring
  • Help-seeking
  • Parents
  • School-based mentoring


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