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.
Mentor Testimonial:Testimonial from current mentor Chapel Hill Council Member Camille Berry:Serving as a Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate has been an extremely rewarding experience for me. Over the past five and a half years, I have been privileged to be part of a young person's life and have enjoyed being in community with my scholar, her family, and her friends.She and I have shared our challenges, curiosities, and dreams. We encourage each other to face our fears and to move forward with confidence -- in ourselves and the fact that we know we have at least one other person supporting us. We practice questioning to discern rather than to dissuade. We are empowering ourselves to see possibilities that we once may never have envisioned. Together, we are growing as we share the roles of mentor and scholar.Thank you to the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program for providing this opportunity to support our youth and for creating a framework that ensures we are well equipped to do that.
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
Mentor Testimonial:BRMA is an incredibly valuable program for all the students involved and the mentors that are so lucky to know them. I had the joy of matching with a student in the 4th grade and we remained mentor/mentee through her high school graduation. I watched her grow from a child to a young adult. Together we were able to experience so many exciting events, programs, and activities throughout the Triangle and beyond. One of the best experiences was taking her to the beach for the first time. BRMA is such an amazing program run by amazing people and I was honored to be a part of it for so long.-Rachel