Who We Are

The Problem

There are too many students living in Washington, D.C. who are not getting the support or guidance needed to graduate from high school, prepared to be successful and productive citizens. Many are faced with under-resourced schools, dangerous neighborhoods, and little to no history of college-going in their families. The fact is that only about half of our kids are graduating from D.C. high schools. Those who drop out are much more likely to face unemployment, poverty, the need for public assistance, prison, and single parenthood with children who drop out from high school themselves.  The social, emotional and economic toll resulting from D.C. students not achieving a high school education and the credentials of a diploma have an enormous impact on both individual and family productivity, a toll which ultimately impacts all citizens. Mentors, Inc. works to end the dropout cycle.

The Good News

The good news is that lots of D.C. students want to succeed, and recognize their need for mentors and the benefit of a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult.  Mentors, Inc. works with motivated students to enhance their personal, academic and career development by matching them with adult volunteer mentors in structured 1-1 relationships.  The organization's work with traditional public and charter high schools has also been proven to improve graduation rates which are significantly higher than our students’ peers. 

Our Program

Our program matches teenagers one-on-one with a mentor for at least one year and supports those relationships, to achieve the research-based benefits of mentoring.  Mentored students are less likely to begin using illegal drugs, less likely to use alcohol, skip class or skip school; more confident of their performance in schoolwork; less likely to hit someone; and get along better with their families (from Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters; Public/Private Ventures, 1995).  And to make sure our efforts yield the best results for our students, we follow the research-based BEST PRACTICES of MENTOR, National Mentoring Partnership.  Best practices make it more likely that mentoring will yield a positive impact for our teens and their futures.  Read more about the best practices approach.

Our objective is to keep our teens in school to graduate and have a plan for post-graduation.  We emphasize college enrollment, and have program features in place to promote college aspiration:

  • Most of our mentors are college educated and can help students aspire to college.
  • We work with students to monitor their attendance and grades every quarter and overall academic performance.
  • Mentors often help with college planning, and the college application process.
  • Our monthly workshops focus on topics related to college and career, and will soon have field trips with employers for career exploration.
  • We offer competitive college scholarships and encourage students to apply and win!

Mentored students are less likely to engage in risky behaviors that cause them to become misdirected and drop out of high school.  And a mentor helps them consider positive futures, even for teens who were previously unsure of what their future might bring.