The Kindness of Strangers: Adult Mentors, Urban Youth, and the New Volunteerism / Edition 1

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Many of us care deeply about the fate of young people growing up in poverty. We worry about their future and the future of an increasingly fragmented society. We want to help, but it's often hard to know how, or even where to start.The Kindness of Strangers reveals how caring adults in cities across America are trying to turn young lives around. It also tells of the much celebrated mentoring movement they have created. In this vivid portrayal of that movement, Marc Freedman shows how ordinary citizens can reach out to the children who are growing up in poverty and community violence—alone, exposed, and forgotten.Based on interviews with over three hundred mentors, youths, foundation officials, scholars, and youth workers, The Kindness of Strangers takes a hard look at mentoring: How much can really be accomplished? What makes the difference between a successful program and a program fraught with difficulties? What kinds of people make the most effective mentors? Is mentoring really the best way to reach kids with tough lives? Marc Freedman brings experience, research, and realism to these questions in an effort to reach the truth about today's mentoring movement.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the examples of adult mentor-youth relationships presented by Freedman, who is on the staff of Public/Private Ventures, a Philadelphia research organization that focuses on youngsters in poverty, we hear from eight men and women who ``answered the call.'' They describe their not unqualified successes in helping young people through volunteer projects, and the strength of their commitment as mentors. An overview of various programs throughout the country--I have a Dream, One-on-One, Project RAISE--discusses various strategies of outreach to youth. Mentors are often challenged to the point of frustration, yet their experience of small victories and subtle changes in their young mentees are inspiring. As Freedman notes, ``Mentoring enables us to participate in the essential but unfinished drama of reinventing community, while reaffirming that there is an important role for each of us in it.'' (Sept.)
Library Journal
Americans have been volunteering for various social causes for quite some time. Freedman takes a look at the history of a number of volunteer movements, including such familiar ventures as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and less familiar antecedents such as Friendly Visiting. Emphasizing the importance of one-on-one relationships between adult mentors and urban youth, who so often experience poverty and violence in their lives, he argues that mentoring is an important partial solution to many of our social problems. Several mentors describe their experiences, and Freedman distills some guidelines for successful mentoring. This book should find a welcome spot in most social science collections.-- John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555425579
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/4/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 0.56 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Freedman

MARC FREEDMAN has studied education and youth programs for more than a decade and is director of special projects for Public/Private Ventures, a research and development organization based in Philadelphia that focuses on helping kids in poverty. He lives in Berkeley, California.

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Table of Contents

1. A Call to Action
2. Great Expectations
3. Recurring Fervor
4. Birth of a Movement
5. The Benefits of Mentoring
6. The Limits of Mentoring
7. Making the Most of Mentoring
8. Closing the Caring Gap
9. Re-engaging the Middle Class
10. Reinventing Community

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