What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is a structured relationship between an adult and a young person aimed at developing the personal qualities and strengths of the youth.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is a caring adult friend who devotes time to a young person. Mentors can fill many roles. Yet all mentors have one thing in common: they care about helping young people achieve their potential and discover their strengths.
Mentors are not meant to replace the role of a parent, guardian or teacher. A mentor is not a disciplinarian or decision-maker for a child. Instead, a mentor offers positive role modeling and reinforcement and encourages exploration of future possibilities. A mentor is part of a team of caring adults.
A mentor’s main purpose is to help a young person define and achieve goals that will vary depending on the young person’s age. Most youth mentoring involves young people 10 to 18 years of age. Since the expectations of each child will vary, it is a flexible relationship that matches the mentor’s skills and interests with the young person’s needs.
What are the different types of mentoring?
Traditional mentoring consisting of one adult to one young person. Typically, meetings should occur regularly at least four hours per month for at least one year, or nine months in a school-based program.
One adult commits to meet regularly with up to four young people in an interactive session which usually encourages personal sharing. Activities may be determined by the sponsoring program or be left up to the group mentor.
Three adults working with nine young people. Specifically the Grizzlies Foundation has started the TEAM Mentoring program at two Memphis charter schools.
Where does mentoring occur?
Community-based mentoring programs:
Meetings take place at the mentor and mentee’s discretion. This flexible structure allows the ability to create their own activities anytime, anywhere (i.e. flying kites at the park, going to a museum, etc.).
Site-based mentoring programs:
Meetings take place at a given location, during or after school or on weekends. These include programs at a school or other community site, allowing for onsite support and guidance.
What are the different goals of mentoring?
Personal growth and development:
Activities of mutual interest such as visits to cultural sites, trips to movies or shows, sports or other activities.
School-related activities ranging from homework, literacy-building, ACT preparation and college and financial aid applications or alternatives to college.
Community service-oriented activities aimed at developing a sense of responsibility for one’s community as well as compassion and pride.
Recreation (sport or other):
Participation in groups and teams creates an atmosphere for learning social skills such as cooperation, communication, and leadership.
Research and exploration of different career paths and professions to gain experience and networking.
Spiritual growth and development:
Discussion of the significance of faith, attendance of religious services, or study. Faith may also be a component of civic or recreation programs.