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San Diego Mentorship Network

Connections That Create Stronger Communities
The San Diego Mentorship Network (SDMN) is a supportive and interactive partnership that links program leaders, young people, service providers and a caring community to achieve more positive outcomes for the youth who need these crucial connections.
The development of the San Diego Mentorship Network is one of 29 Bold Action Steps undertaken by San Diego community members to improve the health of child welfare and juvenile justice-involved children and families, especially groups disproportionately impacted by these systems. It is part of Strong Families, Thriving Communities, a project catalyzed by the Clinton Foundation, in partnership with The San Diego Foundation and County of San Diego.
The goal of SDMN is to establish a comprehensive, easily-searchable, targeted directory of mentorship programs where anyone can locate up-to-date information on over 100 mentorship programs across San Diego County. Members enjoy access to these resources and more:
  • SDMN Assessment Survey
  • SDMN Calendar of Events
  • SDMN Directory of Member Resources
  • SDMN Quarterly Newsletter
  • Invitation to the Annual SDMN Conference
  • SDMN trainings and capacity-building efforts

Mentoring & College

A national study by Brigham Young University demonstrated that teen students who had an adult mentor were 50 percent more likely to attend college than ones who didn’t.

Mentoring & Behavior

The Center for Addiction and Mental Health showed that children and teenagers with mentors were not only more confident at school, but had significantly fewer behavioral problems like bullying, fighting, lying and irresponsible expressions of anger.

Mentoring & ACEs

Research on factors that mitigate the emotional, physical and cognitive impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) cites connections to consistent, positive relationships as the most significant foundation for resilience.
Mentors and coaches, informal and formal, play a fundamental role in children’s health, resilience, and life successes.

With this in mind, the San Diego Mentorship Network launched in 2019 as a project of Strong Families, Thriving Communities, to facilitate mentorship connections across San Diego County. The goal is to “map” the various mentorship offerings available across the county so that every young person can gain access to the supportive relationships they need to provide guidance in life skills, obtain meaningful employment, and connect to critical public resources.

The effort began in 2018 with an exploratory survey with 28 nonprofits to create a baseline of understanding.

The Survey Says

Did You Know?

From our exploratory survey of 28 nonprofits, we have discovered the following about mentorship services in San Diego.


The focus of mentoring services tends to fall into four categories:

  • Training/Education
  • Healing
  • Empowerment
  • Advocacy


The most frequent mentoring modalities offered are:

  • Goal-setting
  • Coaching (listening, inquiry)
  • Role modeling
  • Creating structure
  • Connection to resources
  • Specific training
  • Relationship focused


The organizations surveyed:

  • Served from 11 to over 2,000 young people at any one time
  • Served young people from birth to adults over 60
  • Recruited volunteers, professional coaches and peers as mentors
96% of those surveyed said they would be interested in access to training and capacity-building resources that:
Enhance the experience and effectiveness of their mentors/coaches through access to proven best practices that improve outcomes and impact
Connect participants to critical resources and expertise available from other network partners, eliminating duplication of services
Help build an innovative new model of nonprofit partnership that will attract support from funders drawn by this powerful collaboration

Enhancing Collaborartion

Our physical and virtual mentoring network enhances collaboration by:

  • Promoting existing work and driving recruitment through outreach and events
  • Creating partnerships between organizations that encourage the sharing of resources
  • Increasing referrals of trained mentors and mentees
  • Identifying, celebrating, and sharing individual and programmatic successes
  • Facilitating training and capacity-building opportunities.
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The San Diego Mentorship Network

We're Here To Help!