The Power of We – Why Right Moves For Youth Matters

Do you remember what it was like to be a pre-teen or teenager? I remember those years as awkward moments and insecurities, proud times when I successfully met goals and learned from the world around me while dreaming about the world beyond what was familiar to me. It was a time of constant internal negotiation between being independent and sometimes begrudgingly remembering that I still depended on my parents for some things. It was a time of thrilling and anxiety-inducing rebellion and tolerated compliance with rules, standards, and expectations. But perhaps what I remember most about my adolescence is that I was much more concerned about how I fit in with the people around me, especially in school (i.e., my peers). Erik Erikson proposed that the primary goal of adolescence is discovering one’s identity, particularly in relation to others. I think it is safe to say that you don’t really come to know who you are or how to be in the world without other people. This is why mentorship and positive peer influence are so vital for youth. This is also why, although many ingredients go into making Right Moves For Youth effective, our primary programmatic ingredient is small group mentoring. 

In his 2017 article in Psychology Today[1], Sean Grover points out the strong case for group work being the best way to work with teens. Research suggests that groups can benefit youth by increasing social confidence, communication skills, positive peer influence, positive relationships, and stress management. Furthermore, the National Mentoring Resource Center (2021)[2] suggests that group mentoring can effectively improve participants’ short-term behavioral, academic, emotional, and attitudinal/motivational outcomes, especially when groups meet consistently and with intentional interaction (i.e., group process). Group mentoring helps youth grow their social networks, expand their worldviews, and practice new learning with their peer group. 

Every (pre)teen wants and needs a place of belonging, and good group work creates a “sense of membership” that can undergird feelings of connectedness and safety.  There is power in creating a “we” feeling for group members. In fact, the key to good group work is the cultivation of extraordinary relationships within the group that enables members to cultivate extraordinary relationships outside of the group. RMFY groups bring together mentors from our schools, local law enforcement, and the community to support students while helping them connect with each other to work through challenges, learn and practice new skills, and feel lessalone. Our group members learn that they have mentors and peers who care about them and that they already have value in our community, can overcome obstacles, and have the power to make a difference. The power of “we” is how RMFY helps students build extraordinary relationships that help them succeed. 

Two of the easiest ways to join the power of WE is through your treasure and your time.

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[1] Sean Grover (2017). “5 Reasons Group Therapy Is the Best Choice Struggling Teens” in Psychology Today

[2] Gabriel Kuperminc and Nancy Deutsch (2021). “Group Mentoring” in the National Mentoring Resource Center Model Review.

If you would like to be a part of creating the POWER OF WE, helping Right Moves For Youth continue to provide sustainable and successful mentoring groups for the youth of our community, click here