Mentoring FAQ



Who can be a mentor?
You can be a mentor if you have a genuine interest in youth, good listening skills, and patience! Because our program is a long-term program, mentors must be community residents who expect to stay in the community for at least the next 2-3 years.

What do mentors do?

Mentors visit with their "mentee" for approximately one hour per week during the school day, on the school grounds, during the school year. Mentors and mentees usually spend their time together doing fun and creative activities: talking/listening, playing games, doing something physical like going for a walk on


school grounds or playing basketball, reading, exploring on the computer, doing experiments, doing art/craft projects and more. Mentors' goal is to build a relationship of trust with their mentee.

What kinds of students are selected to be mentees?
We like to talk about our students as being "on the brink of success." They are students who just need a little extra support and encouragement to thrive. They may be under-achieving, have poor peer relationships, have attendance issues, or exhibit in other ways the need for a caring adult in their lives. Students may be referred by a parent, teachers, counselor or they may request a mentor themself. Students selected are in late elementary (3rd-5th grade) or early middle school (6th or 7th grade).

What do students like about having a mentor?
The most frequent response students give to this question is: "Because we have fun!" Additionally, students say they like having someone who listens to them, who doesn't judge them and believes in them.

What do current mentors like about being a mentor?
Mentors report that it's fun! They enjoy the break in their day and the relationship that is formed with their mentee. In addition, mentors say that being a mentor helps them feel good about themselves for giving back to the community. Mentors who are parents report that it helps them be a better parent. Additionally, there are documented health benefits of this kind of volunteering. A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health. The report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.


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What will mentoring look like in the fall of 2020?

The coordinator at your school will contact you in late August/early September to let you know the plan for mentoring in the fall of 2020


How can I offer support to my mentee during the current state of affairs? (6/9/20)

Several mentors have expressed concern about how best to support their mentee during the recent protests. Over the summer, if you are in contact with your mentee via text, phone or in person, the best thing you can  do is listen if they want to talk.  Not being listened to makes people feel anonymous.  Everyone wants to know that someone hears them and that what they are feeling is legitimate. Ask your mentee how they feel about the current events and then LISTEN.

     Acknowledge the situation is difficult and REAL
     Don't dismiss their reactions - HEAR what they     
       are saying - this requires effort and energy
     Control the urge to respond - LISTEN
     You don't have to agree with what they say, but
       you do have to LISTEN and keep an open mind.
     If you offer your own reactions, do so without
       judgement.  Do not overpower or dismiss your
       mentee's own reactions.  Ask thoughtful
       questions that encourage your mentee to reflect
       on his or her assumptions.


For more information, please see
The Chronicle of Mentoring, "Now is the time to offer Solidarity and Support to Young People of Color", at

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center