Mentor-advocates are volunteers who agree to work one-on-one with a student (scholar) through the auspices of the program. Mentor-advocates make a commitment to spend at least two hours per week of one-on-one time with their scholar. They also commit to working with the scholar's family to provide advocacy, encouragement, enrichment, and support. The mentor’s initial term of service is two years, but mentors are encouraged to continue working with their scholar beyond the initial term if the relationship is strong and healthy.
Mentor-advocates recruited from the community must be at least 25 years old. All mentors are expected to submit an online application. Mentor-advocates must also complete a full series of “New Mentor Orientation” training sessions. Training sessions are held each fall and spring.
Mentors are asked to submit monthly logs of their activities and to answer the questions of an exit interview (in writing or verbally) upon the end of a mentoring relationship.
Providing training for mentors improves the effectiveness of the program and helps mentors get more out of their role. New mentor orientation is mandatory for all mentors to complete prior to being matched with a mentee. The orientation serves two purposes: training and screening. While volunteering, mentors may also attend “ongoing education” training sessions that support their ongoing work.
During orientation, mentors are trained in the role of mentor-advocate. Interactive activities are used to orient them to the role and to prepare them for the challenges they will likely face. Training includes Orientation and Overview, How to Be a Great Mentor, and Advocacy 101. During the orientation training, new mentors also have the chance to meet students, parents, mentors, and social workers and learn from their experiences.
New mentor orientation also serves as a screening tool for the program. The training is designed for staff members to learn about the mentor-advocates. Specifically, the mentor-advocates are observed in discussions and role plays that might help the staff determine whether or not the volunteer is appropriate for the program and what type of scholar might be the best match for them.
Ongoing education training is generally offered twice a year and can cover a wide variety of topics. Some trainings get further in-depth around topics mentors are already familiar with, but others may introduce new topics or material.
Mentor Personality and Interest Survey