Man Up: Recruiting and Retaining African American Male Mentors

by David Miller

Jun 1, 2008

While one-on-one mentoring has a proven positive effect on children, little research has been done on the role of mentoring in the African American community, particularly with regards to recruiting and retaining mentors. Urban Leadership Institute has surveyed 576 African American males and a number of community-based mentoring programs to examine the barriers to serving as a mentor and ways to promote mentoring and effective training.
  • Some men are turned off from mentoring by their views that only white collar professionals can mentor or that it's a mentor's responsibility to spend money on the mentee. A number of men also cited the need for mentorship in their own lives as a reason they shouldn't mentor.
  • Lack of motivation and knowledge about the benefits of mentoring African American males were barriers to some men becoming involved in mentoring programs. Local media outlets and social marketing campaigns should highlight successes of mentoring programs within African American communities.
  • Mentoring programs should continue to develop nontraditional models to include ex-nonviolent offenders as mentors and allow those with time and resource constraints to participate in group or workplace mentoring.
  • The paper calls for increasing research initiatives and committing statewide advisory boards and greater foundation resources specifically to recruiting and retaining African American male mentors.
  • Following the successful model of the Youth Advocate Program, the mentoring field should consider the advantages to be gained by compensating mentors.