The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman is a VTDigger podcast that features in-depth interviews on local and national issues with politicians, activists, artists, changemakers and citizens who are making a difference. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify to hear more.

As the Covid-19 pandemic enters its third year, its impacts have fallen especially hard on young people. In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General warned of “devastating” mental health effects on youth, noting that there were significant increases in self-reports of depression, anxiety and a 51% increase in emergency room visits for suicide attempts by adolescent girls in early 2021.

Mentorship programs have long offered a way for young people to tackle challenges with the help of caring adults. Young people with mentors are half as likely to skip school and 55% percent more likely to attend college, according to MENTOR, an advocacy group.

We explore mentorship with leaders of Vermont’s mentoring programs: Chad Butt of MENTOR Vermont, Kimberly Diamond of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermont, Beth Wallace of Everybody Wins Vermont, Kim Smith of Girls Boyz First Mentoring and Pam Quinn of Twinfield Together. We also talk with a mentor and her 15-year-old mentee from Central Vermont about the impact of their partnership.

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