The proposed project will complete the creation of a web-based training mentor program and evaluate the efficacy of the program for prospective mentors of children. The final program will consist of a three web- based training courses containing integrated multimedia resources, interactive activities, short quizzes for demonstration of mastery of key concepts and skills, journaling, and Web 2.0 functionality including live Webinars, moderated forums, and networking functionality. Course content includes building the foundation for the mentoring relationship;the first meeting with the mentee;common ethical dilemmas faced by mentors;establishing and maintaining a positive mentoring relationship with a child;and closure of the mentoring relationship. In Phase I of the project, the first course was developed, scripted, filmed, and programmed. Two feasibility studies were successfully conducted with program staff and mentors, and both groups reported high levels of satisfaction with the modality of training delivery, the content of the course, and the usability of the website and lessons. Phase II will involve creating two additional courses and associated resources;customization of the learning management system for the training program;conducting two feasibility studies of the new courses;and conducting a short-term randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of the Mentoring Central training program for improving mentors'knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy to mentor as well as longevity and satisfaction in the mentoring relationship.
The proposed web-based mentor training program fills an important gap in service needs for community-based mentoring organizations that utilize volunteers who work with children and adolescents. Because training and supervision of mentors has been found to directly affect mentor retention and mentee-related outcomes, this program has the potential of positively effecting academic, health, behavioral, substance abuse, and mental health outcomes for youth.