Many participants then go on to become peer mentors, supporting our guiding principle of “paying it forward.” In this way we are able to increase the number of adolescents that the Foundation impacts.
Middle school age youth are particularly vulnerable during a time when they are trying to figure out who will influence them. For the many children who are growing up in poverty there are additional risks. Some of the effects associated with poverty that are seen in adolescence are: more mental health problems, higher rates of grade failure, increased school dropout, and they are more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors. Growing up in poverty is also associated with lower occupational status and lower wages, and poorer health (Child Trends, Children in Poverty, 2011).