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.
START SOMETHING AND BECOME SOMEONE'S MENTOR TODAY!
Talking to Your Mentee After the Presidential Election (11/10/20)
Not only has our country seen a long, drawn out election for the past nine months, we have also been dealing with a global pandemic and police violence leading to renewed calls to action against systemic racism and injustice. It is hard for us to process, so it is probably harder for our mentees. The best thing a mentor can do, is to be there for their mentee (even if it is virtually), sharing space and allowing them to express their feelings.
It is okay to share your feelings
Let your mentee know that you are processing the results too. There are many unknowns in what is to come.
Share your own questions & encourage young people to offer their ideas.
Remind young people that it is OKAY if they disagree with you or other adults.
This is about modeling honesty and having respectful dialogue.
If your mentee isn't of voting age, talk to them about what motivated you to vote.
Listen and Ask Questions
Help them process questions and feelings that may be informed by fact, opinion, and possible misinformation.
Remind them their feelings are valid even when they're different from others or yours.
In group settings, encourage your mentee to honor the safe space for their peers, even when they disagree, by keeping an open mind and allowing their peers to share their feelings freely.
Don't underestimate what they may be consuming on social media and how it informs their views and opinions.
Talk about what may have been reported on the news or repeated by candidates. Remind them facts and their own lived experiences are often the best way to process questions and concerns.
Be prepared to say "I don't know" if you can't answer some questions.