In 2015 the initiators of the project, the charity Bürgerengagement Saar and the Joint Federal State Commission PRO EHRENAMT, went public with their concept SAAR mentors. Children and young people without access to education and from disadvantaged backgrounds or difficult situations would get support from volunteer mentors in order to support their cognitive, emotional and social skills in order to increase their chances of getting an education. The mentors are located in all Saarland districts. They meet in monthly discussion groups and receive training and support where required. There is a strong feeling of community amongst the Saarland mentors. For 2018, they are aiming for 200 additional mentors.
The concept has become a success story. In the recent past there have been positive responses from not only the now 100 mentors, but also from the children, teachers and parents. In particular, the 76 schools that have been involved up until this point have spoken explicitly about the success of this support function.
A visit to the High School for Technology and Economics Saarland gives a precise indication of the success so far, which showed signs of their first results last year. Prof. Dr. Dieter Filsinger said, “Firstly, we were very happy about the high participation rate for the survey. Two central aspects were important for us: firstly, the effectiveness of the mentors and secondly the positive development for the children who would be mentored. The support for the first has been very high, the position on the personal development of the children also tends to be rated positively (60 percent agreement). Nearly all of those asked viewed the program as clearly advantageous to the children and strongly desire that the project continues (85.7% full agreement).”