Research has shown that quality mentoring programs have been associated with helping young people navigate through life‘s experiences and challenges. Over the last 20 years, obesity among young people has been on the rise in the United States causing a concern for society, including the life challenge it creates for the young person. The obesity rise has been attributed to many factors including lack of personal role models that encourage exercise. Studies show that increased physical activity has consistently related to improvements in self-esteem, self-concept, depressive symptoms, and anxiety and stress (Calfas, K.J. and Taylor, WC., 1994).
In southwest Minnesota, using mentoring as a program strategy to address this issue, a ten-week afterschool Science and Movement (S.A.M.) 4-H club was designed utilizing a new volunteer audience of college health science students as mentors. The objectives for youth mentee participants in this research study focused on healthy living, exposure to higher education, and community awareness. Program design from the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development partnered with Southwest Minnesota State University Health Science department, local family fitness center and local middle school.
Qualitative evaluations and data conclude that program objectives were met. The implication of study shows that young people desired to make a healthy living behavior change based on the positive relationships built with their college mentor. Anecdotal evidence from mentor evaluations concludes that utilizing mentoring as a service-learning strategy became a powerful way to give deeper meaning to a college student‘s educational experience.
Conway, Judith; Olson, Carrie Ann; Jeffers, Brent.
Changing Adolescent Healthy Living Behavior Through Mentoring.
University of Minnesota Extension.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.