Youth need caring and consistent relationships with adults to transition successfully into adulthood; yet increasingly, many youth are growing up isolated from this support. The question that inevitably arises is whether this void can be filled by social interventions. One programmatic response has been creation of mentoring programs that recruit adult volunteers to work with youth in need of adult support. Although practitioners and policymakers have embraced the idea that these programs can provide youth with supportive relationships, little research evidence currently exists to support this claim. Thus, mentoring programs have been proliferating over the past five years or so in a knowledge vacuum, with very little common meaning among practitioners and advocates, and no set of established best practices or operational lessons.
Styles, Melanie B., "Understanding How Youth and Elders Form Relationships: A Study of Four Linking Lifetimes Programs" (1992). Intergenerational. 51.