Mainstreet Mentors


Main Street Mentors is a widely heralded and long-running mentoring program run by The Northfield Union of Youth (The Key) that is specifically aimed at bringing together a knowledgeable adult member of the community and a local high school or middle school-aged youth with the goal of forming a positive learning relationship. This program serves kids from all walks of life, but places specific emphasis on at-risk youth.

Program Goals
1.To offer hope to students at risk of not graduating on time
2. Encourage creative talents of protégés/mentees, which leads to a lifetime of skills.
3. Provide support and learning opportunities for at-risk youth completing community service obligations.
4. Introduce youth, one-on-one, to the adult members of their community (with a goal of 18 successful matches per semester and 10 over the summer)

How do we match youth with adults?

Main Street Mentors uses a team of dedicated youth and adults in the community to coordinate and implement the program. A youth coordinator at the Key compiles potential youth mentors from The Key, Northfield High School, Northfield Middle School, Arcadia, Area Learning Center (ALC) and matches them with adults from the community. Coordinators from St. Olaf’s Volunteer Network and Carleton College’s Acting in the Community Together (ACT) find college students to match with area youth and The Northfield Union of Youth’s Executive Director and AmeriCorps Promise Fellow find adult matches from the Northfield community and oversee the entire operation. Meetings between mentoring pairs take place wherever the mentor works on his/her skill (or wherever is most convenient), i.e. college campus, studios, garages, theaters, classrooms, libraries, parks, computer labs, coffee shops, college cafeterias, etc. Many matches also meet at safe places like The Key, Artech, Goodbye Blue Monday, etc. The Northfield Mentoring Coalition provides Main Street Mentors with programming and administrative support and provides trainings for mentors.

What skills have protégés/mentees learned?
Mentees have learned a variety of skills including: how to build a telescope, college level psychology, astronomy, how to paint, how to build a car, photography, ceramics, piano, drums, Tai Chi, Spanish, beatboxing, art studio apprenticeship, Ancient Greek, rockclimbing, homework motivation, wood working, martial arts, guitar, 3D design, and many other subjects.

Why be part of a mentorship?
· Relationships are powerful! Youth have much to offer adults and adults have much to offer youth – EVERYONE can benefit and be impacted from a mentorship
· Develop leadership skills, life skills, and build confidence
· Develop a link to a younger or older generation
· Get to know the community and the people in it better
· Researchers have found that youth who meet regularly with a mentor are
o 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
o Less likely to skip class
o Less likely than their peers to start using drugs
o 33% less likely to hit someone*
* Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Public Private Ventures

How are we funded?
Main Street Mentors is fueled by local and state grants, including Women in Northfield Giving Support (WINGS), MN Office of Justice Youth Intervention Program (YIP), and the Minnesota Department of Education.

If you interested in becoming a Protégé/Mentee or a Mentor please contact for more information. WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR CARING ADULT MENTORS IN THE COMMUNITY.

For more information on other mentoring organizations in the community please check out the Mentoring Coalition on Northfield Healthy Community Initiative’s (HCI) website.