Who Participates?

Who are the mentees?

Because of the specifics of the OJJDP funding that supports the National Mentoring Alliance, students must be under 18 years of age to be eligible to begin receiving mentoring services. Funds cannot be used to mentor students who are 18 or older at time of their match, although local sites are encouraged to provide mentoring for all YouthBuild students if they can find other funds to support matches for older participants.

Also eligible to participate in the OJJDP-funded mentoring program are 16 and 17 year olds who are enrolled in “pre-YouthBuild” programs, such as those offered by a charter school, provided these students meet several stringent criteria. See Getting YouthBuild Students Involved for additional information about including pre-YouthBuild students, as well as other readiness criteria.

Who serves as YouthBuild mentors?

YouthBuild mentors will come from all walks of life in your community. Some will be directly recruited by your mentoring coordinator; others will be identified by youth during service projects and other activities in “mentor-rich environments.” Some may even be YouthBuild graduates who want to help another YouthBuild student find a path to a successful future.

All YouthBuild mentors must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be able to pass the screening requirements for participation
  • Participate in initial and post-match training
  • Commit to the full duration of the match (15 months) and the monthly meetings (a minimum of four hours of in-person meetings per month)
  • Participate in a minimum of four service projects with their mentee and engage in other group activities as needed
  • Participate in all post-match activities, including match supervision check-ins and data collection related to program evaluation

Note: YouthBuild staff members may serve as formal mentors to youth, provided that mentoring happens outside of regular YouthBuild hours and services. However, programs should use caution in using staff as mentors and avoid situations that cause professional conflicts of interest or that disrupt the existing relationships between the staff and the YouthBuild students.