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School-Based Mentoring for Middle & High School Students

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Our Program

Founded in 2019, AmeriCorps Mentors for Success (AMS) provides individualized school-based mentoring for students grades 5-12 that are struggling with attendance and social-emotional skills. Mentors strive to build students' feelings of confidence and connectedness to school, which in turn catalyze growth in attendance and academic achievement.

AMS Mentors are trained to provide 1-on-1 and small group mentoring services to students in grades 5-12 with documented attendance challenges. Mentors provide individualized support in critical areas such as career exploration, college readiness, academic tutoring, and social-emotional skill building.

Mentors are paired with a partner school, where they serve 30 hours each week. Each mentor works with a caseload of about 15 students, meeting with each student weekly to set goals, have fun, and provide the resources, empathy, and encouragement every student needs to pursue their dreams and build on their talents

Mentoring programs, like AmeriCorps Mentors for Success, are specifically named in the Ohio Department of Education’s guidance on spending the newly allocated Student Wellness and Success Funding available to public school districts, community schools, joint vocational districts, and STEM schools. 


Our Goals

  • Improve attendance outcomes for all students enrolled into the Mentors for Success program
  • Improve social emotional skills and decrease disciplinary incidents for all students enrolled into the Mentors for Success program 
  • Further develop the leadership skills and capacity of all program participants, including those that serve as mentors as well as the students who participate in the program
  • Combat the systemic barriers that limit students’ ability to be successful in school and in life


Our Mission

Mission Statement: Strengthening student-school connections by empowering students and encouraging social-emotional development through individualized school-based mentoring.

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. Members commit their time to address critical community needs like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more.

Approximately 75,000 Americans across the country participate in AmeriCorps each year. All of them are tackling different community needs in different ways.

The benefits of service include, but are not limited to:

  • Student loan deferment
  • Skills and training
  • Living allowance
  • Limited health benefit options
  • Education Award upon completion of service to help pay for college, graduate school, or vocational training, or to repay student loans
  • Career opportunities with leading employers from the private, public and nonprofit sectors

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Mentoring Statistics/Research

  • “We observe that only close relationships have impacts and that match length does not matter much. In other words, if a match is long but not good, it is not productive; if it is short but good, it is productive” (Bayer 2013, “School-Based Mentoring Programs: Using Volunteers to Improve the Academic Outcomes of Underserved Students"

  • Having a close relationship with a nonparental adult has a positive and statistically significant effect on academic outcomes. (Bayer 2013, “School-Based Mentoring Programs: Using Volunteers to Improve the Academic Outcomes of Underserved Students”)

  • Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class. (Public/Private Ventures Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters)

  • “The single most common finding is that children who end up doing well have had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. These relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption. They also build key capacities—such as the ability to plan, monitor and regulate behavior, and adapt to changing circumstances— that enable children to respond to adversity and to thrive. This combination of supportive relationships, adaptive skill-building, and positive experiences constitutes the foundations of what is commonly called resilience” (Shonkoff 2015; Harvard University Center on the Developing Child).

  • “The 2006 National Promises Study reveals a number of troubling gaps in the distribution of this cornerstone Promise: One-third of teens and 20 percent of younger children do not have quality relationships with their parents.  More than 55 percent of adolescents and 40 percent of younger children do not have caring adults in their homes, schools and communities.” (America’s Promise Alliance)

  • “A 2014 report by MENTOR entitled The Mentoring Effect also showed that 13.5 million young Americans are without formal or even informal mentors in their lives, leaving them short of caring adults in their lives who have the ability to help them through critical moments when they most need guidance and support.” (America’s Promise Alliance) 

  • “Governments, businesses, nonprofits, and young people endorse and value mentoring as an important asset in a young person’s life. Yet in America today, too many young people — including nearly nine million at-risk youth — do not have access to a mentoring relationship.” (The National Mentoring Partnership, “The Mentoring Effect”, 2014).

  • “The Study of Mentoring in the Learning Environment (SMILE) examined participants in a multicomponent program, Communities in School–San Antonio (CIS-SA), who received a number of support services (Karcher, 2008). The study compared those students who received just the standard services with those who received the standard services plus mentoring. Students who received mentoring reported increases in self-esteem, connectedness to peers, and social support from friends, despite the relatively short duration of the matches. This finding suggests that there is an “additive” effect when mentoring is combined with other interventions” (Karcher, et al. “Mentoring Programs: A Framework to Inform Program Development, Research, and Evaluation”, 2008).

  • “As shown in Table II, YouthFriends students (M = 11.63, SD = 3.84) scored significantly higher than controls (M = 10.36, SD = 2.89) on sense of school membership at posttest (t(141) = -2.26, p = .03), indicating that those students participating in YouthFriends developed a higher sense of belonging to the school community than did their matched controls.” (Portwood, et al. YouthFriends: Outcomes from a School Based-Mentoring Program 2005).

  • A meta-analysis of targeted truancy and dropout programs indicated that students at high risk of dropping out are 20 percent less likely to drop out if they receive school-based mentoring. (Washington State Institute for Public Policy, 2009)

  • “A 2013 analysis of “Success Mentors” that worked with chronically absent students in New York City found that each participant gained about nine days of school per year, and that high school participants were 52 percent more likely to remain in school the following academic year compared to their peers who did not receive mentoring support.” (Hanover Research, “Best Practices for Improving Attendance in Secondary Schools”, 2016)

Testimonials from our Mentors

  • “I have a student who is well known for bad behavior; multiple suspensions and bad grades. I talked with his engineering teacher who stated that the kid needed at least a C to pass her class for the year after receiving an F the 1st quarter. The teacher and I began to work with this student and allow him extra time in my office to do his work. I am pleased to say this student has a C in the 2nd quarter and has no behavior issues in her class!”
  • “The feeling you get from building someone else up is amazing, but even more than that, seeing someone have that confidence on their own can be even more amazing. And I feel like being in this Mentors for Success program is the thing that is helping my students get there. This work is SO worth it!”
  • “I have a female student who has only known trauma all 12 years of her precious life. Just a few weeks ago, in our sessions together, I began to see tiny breakthroughs, through her stories of how she handled particular moments. She is beginning to think through situations and use her voice. This young lady has a very long road ahead of her, but I am doing everything I possibly can to give her tools that she can carry throughout life. I gave her an art journal that she writes in and draws in daily. Instead of getting angry and isolating herself, she goes to her journal and draws out what she is feeling. I am helping her take ownership over small things and working our way to bigger things. Together, we are working on the power of building her support system, and she is learning the benefits of a growth mindset. Baby steps.”
  • “When the beginning of the school year came around, this particular student was present for the first week, then his attendance started to drop. Three weeks later, I began my shadowing and got a list of students that I will be mentoring. I start to get to know my students by sitting down talking with them one on one, or by talking with them in a group setting. This helps to build the rapport with myself and the students. He brings his work into my designated work space and does his work. He begins to tell me about his family life and I tell him about mine as well, just further building trust. One morning, I came in later than usual and once I got in, the student came to me and said, ‘I thought you weren't coming today. You're the only reason I come to school honestly.’”
  • “Days following our workshop, one of my students greeted me with this awesome and genuine smile. When he said he was feeling great, I believed him. He walked with a confidence that I hadn't seen before.”
  • “Through the duration of time with the students at RHS, I have been presented with the opportunity to help my students understand what exactly opportunity is. Aiding in assisting students in grasp the understanding of making the best of every opportunity as it can make a genuine difference within their lives. The creation of opportunity has been instilled within my students as the key to unlock a tremendous amount of success.”
  • “A student indicated that she wished she had my assistance prior, as she knew she would have felt beyond successful for the entire year. This made me feel as though I have made a tremendous difference in her life and for that, it makes this experience one that is memorable.”
  • “If the students have access to mental health and de-stressing tools like [the one I taught my student], they might be able to better control their emotions in the heat of the moment. Not only that, but it may enable them to study more efficiently. I feel inspired to keep teaching my students these techniques and implement more of my training as a meditation teacher into my service with AmeriCorps.”

Additional Information

Who are the mentors?
AmeriCorps members will serve as school-based mentors to middle and high school students.

What is the cost for a district or school to participate?
The district/school match amount is $6,000 per mentor. The grant covers all other costs.

What students are eligible to have a school-based mentor?
Eligible students are those with poor attendance.

What are the targeted outcomes of the program?
The targeted outcomes include increased attendance, improved academic performance and increased social-emotional skills.

When and for how long will the mentors serve?
Mentors will serve 30 hours per week from September through June (total of 900 hours of AmeriCorps service).

What training do the mentors have?
Mentors will be trained in mentoring practices, trauma-informed care, growth mindset, cultural competency, positive behavior supports and more.

What caseload may each mentor have?
Each mentor may have a caseload of approximately 10-15 students at a time.

Contact Us

AmeriCorps Mentors for Success

ESC of Central Ohio

2080 Citygate Drive Columbus, OH 43219

Sean Noe, PhD: Program Director

[email protected]

(614) 542-4173

Meet Our Mentors

Meet Our Mentors

Meet LaChandra

Meet Kaitlin

Mentors In Action