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About the Project

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Working alongside Hive Chicago Network organizations, we set out to understand the aspects of relationship building and how mentoring looks across informal learning spaces.

In an effort to develop a common understanding and language related to the type of mentoring that happens in out-of-school spaces, we devised the Connected Mentoring Framework. Its purpose is to help practitioners see where their daily roles fit into the broad youth development and mentoring taking place in out-of-school time and to build a community of Connected Mentors.


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Youth Voices

What makes a positive youth-adult relationship? Click below to read what youth had to say in the focus group discussions.


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“They build bonds. Since a lot of the students are around for a maximum – well a lot of time. We’re around a lot. They begin to develop these relationships with people because they actually care. It’s not like a job to them.” 

“I think when you’re in a summer program or after school program; it’s more of a family. Those are the programs that are more of a family.”



The Process
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The Connected Mentor project happened in two phases. Phase one involved practitioners, designers, and researchers with the goal of 1) creating a mentoring framework 2) establishing a shared understanding and language about adult roles and adult-youth relationships, and 3) collecting best practices from organizations who work with young people. Phase two involved talking with youth to get their opinions about mentoring. We decided on a focus group through which we gained youth’s perspectives about their interactions with adults.

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