Exploration of the mentor in the mentor-mentee relationship within a Youth Environmental Justice Mentorship Program in Los Angeles: A qualitative study

Authors: Lindsay Kutscher*, California State University - Northridge
Topics: Environment, Urban Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: urban geography, environmental education, Latino communities
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This study explores the mentor’s role in the mentor-mentee relationship within the Youth United Towards Environmental Protection (K-12) mentoring program provided by Pacoima Beautiful, a non-profit organization located in a largely Latino, low-income neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles. A qualitative study was completed involving mentors of this organization who work to prepare Pacoima's future environmental advocates. Individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted, and transcripts were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Observations were also drawn through participant observation which occurred during weekly meetings in the community center. Data collection began in the summer of 2018 and is ongoing with the intent of identifying the characteristics of an effective mentor. Several important themes emerged from this analysis: 1) Establishing connections with mentees; 2) Being sensitive to youth’s struggles, with sensitivity to the local surroundings; 3) Incorporating a creative curriculum that challenges and motivates the youth; 4) Developing academic and life skills that prepares them for a lifetime of environmental stewardship.

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