Mentoring at-risk youth - effects of Bulgarian practical in community-based informal program for social support.

Златкова-Дончева, Катерина (2016) Mentoring at-risk youth - effects of Bulgarian practical in community-based informal program for social support. Paper presented at the Eleventh International Scientific Conference KNOWLEDGE IN PRACTICE, 16-18 December, 2016 Bansko, Bulgaria, Ed. by Robert Dimitrovski, PhD. Skopje: IKM – Skopje in International journal Knowledge. Global Impact and Quality Factor, 2016, p. 807-815, ISSN 1857-92

 The current study examines basic concepts related to mentoring as an approach implemented in child protection and child care system. The survey is aimed to research different types of mentoring implementation and traces a certain community-based mentoring program that focuses on children at risk deprived of parental care growing up in Bulgarian institutions and residential care homes. Involvement of volunteers in their capacity of being an element of current mentoring program and basic resource of local communities is reported as an impact and theoretically grounded as “informal social and educational support”. Mentoring programs for at risk youth are most popular in the United States of America emphasizing the relationship between disadvantaged youngsters and caring adult but not very familiar in Bulgarian social care and child protection practices. The interaction “mentor-mentee” basically involves spending quality time together and providing emotional support and guidance in order to help child better meet life difficulties, compensating emotional deficits, unreliable basic trust, high anxiety and aggression. The children deprived of parental care living across Bulgarian residential homes (aged 12-17) participated in a mentoring program for 12 months (intervention n=35). Another children from same age risk group remained non intervention (non-intervention n=15). Both groups completed Buss-Durkee Aggression Questionnaire and Anxiety Scale for children adapted by Russian psychologist A.M. Prihojan. Repeated measures ANOVA assessed changes from pre intervention to post intervention and indicated significant reduce of physical aggression as well as anxiety as a personal trait and interpersonal anxiety which leads to improved self esteem, detachment, communication skills, social function and socialization for the intervention children at risk group. In addition to this the intervention group has been subjected to 12 month surveillance of same criteria – aggression, anxiety and its derivatives – self esteem, communication skills, detachment and leads to improved social functioning. ANOVA measures of surveillance towards intervention group repeated the results from Aggression Questionnaire and Anxiety scale for children and represent the significant impact of informal social support represented by mentoring volunteering program. Significant interactions involving gender and age indicated better improvement in boys and 12-13 age from intervention group affects a significant impact on the quality and personality of boys in reducing physical aggression and improving confidence and detachment while the effect on girls is more situational and momentary nature. Teachers and care givers looking after children at risk group completed questionnaires assessing same criteria - aggression, anxiety as a personal trait and interpersonal anxiety and confirmed the improvement towards intervention group. The scientifically justified findings of this study indicates existence of a pattern supported the positive impact of mentoring program in its capacity of informal social support to children at risk deprived of parental care.
 children at risk, mentoring program, social support of disadvantaged children, children deprived of parental care, child protection

 Катерина Златкова-Дончева

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