Become a mentor

When you were young, did you know how to study for a test or make plans for college? Do you remember wanting your first car or looking for a part-time job?

Simple things that may seem easy or straightforward to you now may be a complete mystery to a young person.

What Makes a Good Mentor

Before becoming a mentor, here are a few things to understand about the role of mentoring. Most of us have had a teacher, supervisor or coach who has been a mentor to us and made a positive difference in our lives. Those people wore many hats, acting as delegators, role models, cheerleaders, policy enforcers, advocates, and friends. Mentors assume these different roles during the course of a relationship, and share some basic qualities:

  • ·      A sincere desire to be involved with a young person

    ·      Respect for young people

    ·      Active listening skills

    ·      Empathy

    ·      Ability to see solutions and opportunities

    ·      Flexibility

Benefits of Mentoring

Mentoring relationships are a shared opportunity for learning and growth. Many mentors say that the rewards they gain are as substantial as those for their mentees, and that mentoring has enabled them to:

·      Have fun

·      Achieve personal growth and learn more about themselves

·      Improve their self-esteem and feel they are making a difference

·      Gain a better understanding of other cultures and develop a greater appreciation for diversity

·      Feel more productive and have a better attitude at wor

·       Enhance their relationships with their own children

Above all, a good mentor is willing to take the time to get to know their mentee, to learn new things that are important to the young person, and even to be changed by their relationship.

Find the Right Program

As you start to review the mentoring programs available to you, be sure to consider at least three different organizations. You are offering to make a substantial commitment of your time. Be thorough in investigating your options before you choose the program that best suits your needs.

  • After you have selected several possible programs, talk to each organization’s volunteer coordinator.

  • Describe the amount of time you have, the types of activities you are interested in and the number of children you would like to mentor.

  • Ask about the process the program uses to match young people with mentors.

  • Identify the different mentoring options the program offers (one-to-one mentoring, team mentoring, short-term mentoring, one-time projects, etc.).

Ask the coordinator about training and support for volunteers and about the application and screening process. The application process can include a written application, personal and professional references, a background check and a personal interview. 

Mentoring Connector

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