Not having a father while growing up, Karlton lacked that order, structure, and discipline. This led to his incarceration which also led to his change in life for better. Karlton now designs mentoring programs for youth. He understands from experience that young people need good role models and guidance in order to be successful in life.
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is defined as a “. . . structured and trusting relationship that brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing . . . competence and character . . .” (National Mentoring Partnership, 2005, p. 9). The practice of mentoring is not a new approach for those seeking to improve the life chances of youth who are disadvantaged or at risk. “Particularly in instances of high rates of family disruption, mentoring makes alternate adult support networks available to youth and provides them with additional opportunities for developing intimate relations” (Jones-Brown & Henriques, 1997, p. 218). Caring adults working with youth can directly help them overcome adversity. An effective mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee. Through mentoring relationships, many young people are able to see beyond their current circumstances toward a life filled with future successes.
Why is Mentoring Important?
Research has demonstrated that adolescents with at least one high-quality supportive relationship with an adult were twice as likely as other youth to be economically self sufficient, have healthy family and social relationships, and be productively involved in their communities (Gambone, Connell, Klem, Sipe, & Bridges, 2002). Unfortunately, at-risk youth and youthful offenders often have limited contact with positive adult role models with whom they can form and sustain meaningful relationships (Jones-Brown & Henriques, 1997). Mentoring programs can provide the opportunity for these young people to establish supportive relationships with positive adult role models (Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Program, 2000).
Over the past few years, mentoring programs for youth at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system have received increasing attention. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) views mentoring programs as a promising approach to “enriching children’s lives, addressing their need for positive adult contact, and providing one-on-one support and advocacy for those who need it” (Grossman & Garry, 1997, p. 1).
Today, most youth development organizations recognize the importance of a child having a caring responsible adult in their lives. For children who come from less than ideal circumstances, mentoring can be a critical ingredient towards positive youth outcomes. Developmental psychologist and co-founder of Head Start, Urie Bronfenbrenner said it best, “development, it turns out, occurs through this process of progressively more complex exchange between a child and somebody else—especially somebody who's crazy about that child.”
Karlton is very passionate about the youth of this nation. He understands them and gets on their level to make reaching out easier for them. No matter where he goes, youth are drawn to him because they look up to him and see how his life has changed. They understand that if he can change, so can they.
To contact Karlton regarding mentoring click here.