Title page for ETD etd-04092007-155436

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Seeger, Kimberly Lynn
Author's Email Address klseeger@lsu.edu
URN etd-04092007-155436
Title Mentoring Youth with Disabilities: The Mentor's Lived Experiences
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Krisanna Machtmes Committee Chair
Geraldine Johnson Committee Member
Michael Burnett Committee Member
  • mentor
  • mentoring
  • disability
  • youth
  • disabilities
Date of Defense 2007-03-23
Availability unrestricted
Studies have demonstrated the benefits of mentoring as a successful intervention for youth in programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Limited research is available which describes the experiences of the mentors who participate in a program specifically for youth with disabilities. Youth with disabilities experience unique challenges as they work towards academic goals and independent living. Findings from this study will provide a insight into the lived experiences from the mentorsí perspective.

The methodology used for this study was a single interview with five adult mentors of youth with disabilities. Qualitative interviews were conducted with each mentor to describe their lived experience of participation in the mentoring program. Mentors were recruited from Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) in Boston, Massachusetts. Mentors were asked about the process of recruitment, mentor-youth match characteristics, activities, training and support (from program administrators), benefits to the mentor and challenges encountered.

Findings from this study indicate the primary source of recruitment of mentors was through staff and organizational affiliation. The mentors-mentees match process including similar interests, disability and geographic proximity should continue. Further exploration is needed about utilization of training and support. Mentors in this study rarely attended PYDís events. The mentorsí initiated the majority of communication and activity planning. Menteesí needs at various ages generated different responses and challenges. Overall, the mentors found their mentoring involvement mutually beneficial.

One unexpected discovery was the length of the mentoring relationships for these mentor participants far exceeded the national averages. Mentors were involved with mentees from three and twelve years.

Implications would indicate further studies with mentors and mentees with disabilities. The unique nature of the needs in their relationship needs to be explored to provide mentoring programs administrators, mentors and funding sources information to develop and support successful relationships.

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