Whether you’re a coach, a volunteer, or simply a friendly shoulder to lean on, becoming a mentor to a child or parent you know is a great way to make an impact in your community. Find out here how you can help.


The Five Protective Factors

We all know the term risk factors, but have you ever heard of the Five Protective Factors? Protective factors are attributes that serve as buffers, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework™, developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, refers to set of characteristics that help set children and families up for success. These factors are present at a family level and can be strengthened at a community-wide level. And the best part? Each of us can play a role in increasing these protective factors in our communities. For more detailed information on the protective factors, see the list below (click on the factor for more information):

  1. Parental Resilience

  2. Social Connections

  3. Concrete Support in Times of Need

  4. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

  5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children

(Above links courtesy of the Center for the Study of Social Policy)

How do Mentors Help?

Mentors, whether in a community program such as Girl Scouts, a youth sports league, or parent support group, can make major strides to strengthen the protective factors that are already present in your community. The greater the presence of these factors within your community, the greater their presence in individual families. As a mentor to a parent or a child, you can increase these attributes in several ways: