The Ripple Effect of Mentorship: A Cross-Case Analysis of Separate, Single-Case Studies of Natural Mentorships Among Rural, Latinx, Gang-Affiliated Youth

Feb 17 @ 12:30 LSC 1100

The literature on mentorship centralizes formal mentoring programs with hired and trained staff and volunteers to work with at-promise youth of color at school- or community-based sites such as Big Brothers Big Sisters or smaller localized programs; however, these programs are not always available in rural areas. The purpose of this multiple case study is to explore the phenomenon of naturally-occurring mentorships among Latinx, gang-affiliated youth by evaluating what mentorship is and what the role of a mentor entails according to the mentees and their chosen mentors. The research draws on fieldnotes, 300 hours of observations, eight three-phase semi-structured interviews with mentoring pairs and written and pictorial evidence of the socio-political climate of the community confirmed through 15 semi-structured interviews with community leaders and elders. The study’s findings apply elements of aspirational, navigational, and resilient cultural wealth according to Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth framework and were member-checked by mentoring participants. The findings suggest that a mentor can be a family member or individual holding familial space in the mentee’s life; while the act of mentorship entails listening attentively, providing advice based on personal experiences, supporting the mentee in “getting out” of their hometown, and speaking one’s truth even if it is difficult to hear.

Final Defense – Robin Brandehoff