Holistic Mentoring

Youth who have a mentor(s) while in foster care are more likely to graduate from high school and college, experience better mental health, and have lower levels of justice system involvement.

We Know Mentoring + Shoes Works

Shoes4Grades believes that every child is gifted and talented.

Through one-on-one mentoring, extensive training, staff support, and experiential learning-based Peer Groups, we encourage our youth to discover and develop their special skills and abilities. Shoes4Grades begins working with children about the age of 12 and continuing, as needed, until adulthood.

years of average mentee-mentor match length

Youth Who Have Mentors Are


more likely to graduate from high school


less likely than their peers to start substance abuse


more likely to participate in extracurricular sports


less likely than their peers to skip a day of school


more likely to hold a leadership position
Mentoring is a Crucial Support for Children in Foster Care

Mentoring ensures that young people have at least one consistent, trusting adult in their lives to help them navigate daily challenges, make positive decisions, feel cared for, and know that someone is cheering them on.

Research also shows that mentoring is one of the biggest preventative factors in positive youth development, reducing the risk of negative self-esteem, poor academics, and risky behaviors.

Mentoring works because it gives young people the opportunity to grow and thrive under the guidance of positive and enthusiastic adults whose involvement ensures they improve their grades by excelling in school, enjoying the learning experience, and becoming life-long learners.

Shoes4Grades works to empower youth to develop a positive sense of self, acquire teamwork and group social skills, and become lifelong learners. 

Individualized Attention
Shoes4Grades matches every individual youth with a mentor. Our one-on-one model provides mentees with undivided attention, intentional conversations, and sustainable support from their mentor.

Long-Lasting Relationships
Mentors are in it for the long haul. Unlike other adult-youth relationships that may end after a school year or sports season, mentoring continues on a daily, year-long basis — if not longer. Mentors are required to mentor for a year; however, the relationships typically last far longer than that, with an average match length of 3 years.

Holistic Approach
Because they aren’t assigned to one area of a youth’s life, mentors are able to be present in every decision, life event, and experience their mentee goes through. Whether it’s applying to college, dealing with peer pressure, or learning a new hobby, mentors have the opportunity to coach a young person through whatever life throws their way.