From his own analyses of the research on youth-mentoring programs, David L. DuBois has identified seven features—the “seven C’s”—of effective youth-mentoring relationships.
• Compatibility: Mentors and young people ought to be compatible in basic personality, but they need neither be close in age nor matched by race or ethnicity.
• Capability: Mentors are most effective when they already have experience working with young people and are sensitive to the socioeconomic challenges students face at home.
• Consistency: It’s important for mentorship pairs to meet regularly.
• Continuity: Mentorships must be long-lasting—at least a year, according to some studies.
• Closeness: Forming an emotional bond is critical to the success of the relationship.
• Centeredness: Though they require some structure, relationships should be centered on the young person’s developmental needs.
• Connectedness: Mentors are more successful when they connect with parents or other key figures in a young person’s life.
A version of this article appeared in the December 13, 2006 edition of Education Week as ‘Seven C’s’ of Success