How does mentoring benefit children?


How do you define mentoring success?

What time commitment does mentoring involve?

Does "PALS" stand for anything?

What do you look for in a mentor?

How do you recruit Big PALs?

Do you have enough Big PALs?

What should I do if I’m interested in volunteering?


How does mentoring benefit children?

There is conclusive and wide-ranging evidence that one-on-one mentoring alone can make a difference in a young person’s life, in very basic ways. Mentored youth are:

less likely to hit someone

less likely to skip school

more likely to do well in school

more likely to get higher grades

more likely to have positive relationships with friends and parents.

Finally, mentors who serve disadvantaged youth—especially youth with behavioral problems or little family support—can have a significant impact simply by offering a child his or her first experience of confidence and support.
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How do you define mentoring success?
While permanency is clearly Allendale’s most desired outcome and the most positive one for the child, in most cases the Big PAL relationships remain limited to mentoring.

A key factor for success is the length of the relationship. A mentoring relationship of at least two years is more likely to have a positive influence on a young person’s life. Durability and persistence of the relationship are important. The longer a match lasts, the stronger its effects. Our goal is to create strong, vital, consistent and lasting relationships for our youth. Back to Top



What time commitment does mentoring involve?
Because relationships take time to build, PALs are asked to commit to visiting their PAL at least twice per month, with phone contact on weeks without visits, for a minimum of six months.

Regular contact with the volunteer coordinator, the case specialist, and the PAL’s therapist is also necessary to track the child’s progress. A Big PAL communicates with the case specialist after each planned time with the PAL, and talks to the child’s therapist biweekly.

Big PALs receive training and ongoing support to help them successfully build the PAL relationship.
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Does "PALS" stand for anything?
When the Big PALs program began, "PALS" stood for "Providing Allendale Love and Support." Though we have dropped the acronym, its spirit is very much alive in today’s program.
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What do you look for in a mentor?
Big PALs must be at least 21 years old. Beyond that, a mentor is caring, steady, patient, realistic, resourceful, and resilient. Volunteers approach a match with an eye to building trust and establishing friendship. We look for volunteers who can realistically keep their commitment and who understand the need to earn the trust of their young mentee. Allendale’s volunteer coordinator interviews potential mentors, reviews personal references and conducts background checks.
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How do you recruit Big PALs?
The most effective strategy for recruitment is by word of mouth—personal contact with someone who is already mentoring. These volunteers understand the commitment and persistence required to be a successful mentor, but they’re also experiencing the program’s rewards firsthand.

Churches and local community service organizations are other places we build networks and reach potential volunteers.
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Do you have enough Big PALs?
No! The youth desiring mentors consistently outnumber the adults who volunteer. Our major challenge is locating sufficient numbers of adults. Only a small percentage of interactions result in a mentoring relationship, and it will take contact with literally hundreds of individuals to bring in the 15 to 20 Big PALs Allendale will need over the next year.
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What should I do if I’m interested in volunteering?
Please contact our volunteer coordinator at 847-245-6205 or volunteer@allendale4kids.org.

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