The contents of this product were developed under a grant with funding from the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, and from the Center for Mental Health Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, United States Department of Health and Human Services (NIDILRR grant 90RT5030).
Peer teaching, Mentoring, Youth -- Counseling of, College students -- Mental health -- United States, Social work with youth
This brief shares best practices learned on the Project Futures research study being conducted at Portland State University and local community colleges in Portland, Oregon. The study is testing evidence-based mentoring strategies for underserved students, in this case college freshmen with lived experience in foster care and with mental health stressors. Campus-based mentoring is an increasingly popular strategy to better support under-represented students, who in addition to navigating the typical challenges of college life, may face additional barriers to student success, such as:
- Homelessness or housing instability and/or financial insecurity with no safety net,
- Mental health and trauma,
- Starting college academically behind their peers, or
- Lack of belonging or difficulty finding ways to engage with peers and community.
To learn more about addressing the needs of these under-represented students, Project Futures provided one-on-one near-peer mentoring. This approach is based on previous research1 showing that such students respond well to coaching by near-peer mentors, with similar lived experience, who are trained to help them identify and work towards academic and social goals.
Miller, R., Blakeslee, J., & Hope, B. (2018). Supporting College Student Success Through Connections to Mentors and Campus Champions: A Strategy Brief For Campus-Based Mentors and Other Student Support Programs. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University.