Skip to main content

“Somebody who was on my side:” A qualitative examination of Youth Initiated Mentoring (Spencer et al. 2013)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Not Rated


Spencer, R., Tugenberg, T., Ocean, M., Schwartz, Sarah E., & Rhodes, J. (2013). “Somebody who was on my side:” A qualitative examination of Youth Initiated Mentoring. Youth & Society, 1-23.


  • This report explored and described in detail the experiences of youth in a mentoring program known as Youth Initiated Mentoring. The youth were 16- to 18-year-old school dropouts who were a part of national study of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.
  • As part of Youth Initiated Mentoring, youth had to identify and recruit their own mentors, as opposed to a traditional mentoring process in which a program selects a mentor for the youth.
  • The authors conducted retrospective qualitative interviews with a sample of 30 former ChalleNGe participants. To analyze the data, the authors used an iterative thematic approach to identify important themes.
  • The analysis found that most participants selected mentors they knew from prior relationships or with whom they had similar background and/or experiences, such as family, family friends, and individuals connected with the school or in the community. Mentors encouraged youth to meet their goals, raised their self- esteem and confidence, and improved their relationships with others. Mentors were also viewed as important to youths’ completion of the ChalleNGe program.

Intervention Examined

Youth Initiated Mentoring in the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe

Reviewed by CLEAR

July 2014