Lisa Adler, Clio Andris, Chloe Atwater, Jeremy Cleve, James O’Dwyer

Paper #: 14-06-021

Mentorships are important relationships that pair youth with more experienced members of the community. Formal mentorships facilitated by organizations increase bridging social capital by forging new relationships that exist outside of one’s family, friends or peer groups (where the majority of one’s relationships are typically found). Still, cities and communities may not invest in such programs, as the impact of these social-capital-building relationships on the health of participants and the city is difficult to ‘prove’, and investment might seem high if benefits are unknown.

In response, we describe a mixed-methods approach to measure the impact of a mentorship program in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We survey participants and analyze differences between mentor and protégé neighborhoods using U.S. Census data in a Geographic Information System (GIS). We find that program participants report increases in bridging social capital indicators, but have few census-based socioeconomic differences in their neighborhoods.