Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > "He's Got a Good Life, It's Just Offering Him More": Black Motherhood and Deconstructing the Myths About Mentoring the Black Child

The research on mentoring and parental involvement in the mentoring process is limited. Yet the literature that does exist sees parents as barriers to the mentoring relationship. It has been suggested that programs should minimally involve parents. In response to limited research on parent participation in youth mentoring programs, this dissertation examines the generation of social capital through social support systems and social leverage (Briggs, 1998; Dominguez and Watkins, 2003) among black mothers whose children are enrolled in a school based mentoring program. The research design was qualitative, involving interviews with mothers and supplemented with interviews with their children, mentors and program staff as well as observation of program activities. The mothers in this study were found to use the mentoring program to generate social capital and improve the life chances of their children. This study then offers a critical counterpoint to the existing literature--revealing that mentoring research has not taken the time to understand the parenting of black mothers and how their parenting intersects with mentoring programs.