The Mentoring Alliance Singapore aims to foster a culture of youth mentoring in Singapore. One of the ways it does this is by providing a standard service model which outlines guidelines and criteria for mentoring practice, while providing flexibility for alliance members to employ their own unique programmes and approaches. Its slogan “Every Youth Empowered Through Mentoring” is reflective of its desire that mentoring will become a natural, and essential, part of life for every youth in Singapore.
Significance of Intergenerational Mentoring
Intergenerational mentoring springs from a motivation to increase interactions between different generations (Tan, 2017; Goy, 2017); and also between young people and the ageing population in Singapore (The Straits Times, 2014) bridging the generational gap (Teo, 2015).
Intergenerational mentoring programmes have been implemented in various countries, creatingopportunities for meaningful engagement of older adults in the holistic support to youths-at-risk (Rogers & Taylor, 1997). These programmes enable older mentors to impart their insights and rich experiences to future generations thus enhancing the social development of the seniors in what Erik Erikson (1950) termed the life stage of generativity (Taylor, 2006).
This life stage refers to a sense of significance felt by seniors contributing to the community in a meaningful way. Simultaneously, for youth mentees, intergenerational mentoring programmes facilitate development in their behavioural, social, emotional and academic domains (DuBois et al., 2011).
Such programmes can have a positive impact on youths since older adult mentors are known to be able to establish genuine close relationships with their youth mentees, and have wide social network connections that provide mentees access to resources and wisdom of the experienced older mentors(Freedman, 1988).
A Collaborative Alliance
Given the potential benefits of intergenerational mentoring, the Mentoring Alliance Singaporeproposed a collaborative programme among participating youth agencies, working together to share resources and best-practices, to carry out a joint pilot project using intergenerational mentoring principles.
Youth mentoring, as a concept and practice, is not new to Singapore. There are quite a number of different mentoring programmes for youths conducted by various youth agencies across Singapore. They often operate independently of each other with limited reporting and publicity of programme outcomes and evaluation.
By initiating a collaborative alliance, relevant and important information about youth mentoring can be shared across the youth sector for better programme planning and execution – and potentially breaking silos. An assurance of a minimum standard of programme qua