WHAT IS A MENTOR?
A mentor is a caring adult friend and positive role model. Mentors focus on the needs of their mentees and encourage them to make positive and healthy choices in life. Mentors support youth by being their friend and building a relationship of trust.
- Think of the adults who were involved in your early life.
- Who played an important role in your personal growth and development?
- Who was your friend, your mentor?
- Now you have the chance to give that experience to someone else.
Mentoring is a structured relationship—an adult with a youth—that focuses on the needs of the young person.
- Mentors meet 2-4 times per month with their mentees to do activities they both enjoy.
- Mentors meet for 2 or more hours for educational, recreational and social activities.
Some of the activities may include:
Walking—-Fishing—-Sports—Crafts—-Swimming—-Biking—-Visiting the Library—-Baking—-Homework—-Movies—-and MUCH MORE!
- You and your mentee would do activities that appeal to you both… develop a skill, pursue an interest, learn about a subject, or just get to know each other and be friends.
- Think about the age of the youth you would prefer working with… elementary, middle school or high school age children. What would they enjoy doing?
WHO CAN BE A MENTOR?
- An adult (over the age of 18) who cares about children.
- An individual who has time and an interest in developing a relationship of trust with a deserving youngster.
- Resides in Freeborn or Faribault counties for a year or more.
- Has access to a car or reliable transportation.
- Agreeing to background screening procedures.
- Be willing to adhere to the Mentor Policy.
- Agreeing to a one-year commitment to the program.
- STARS does not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or disability.
HOW DO I BECOME A MENTOR?
A mentor is a caring, consistent presence who devotes time to a young person to help that young person discover personal strength and achieve their potential through a structured and trusting relationship.
- Submit a STARS Mentor Application form. (Download)
- Allow background and reference checks.
- Be interviewed in your home to visit about your experiences and interests.
- Confidentiality is crucial. The information shared by your mentee stays between the two of you and cannot be discussed with your friends or family. You will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.
- Attend orientation and training.
- Mentors report on their activities to the coordinator each month, either by mail, email, text or phone. The information remains on file for documentation purposes.
HOW DO I GET MATCHED WITH A MENTEE?
Mentor-Mentees are paired and matched by:
- Interests—both youth and mentors complete interest surveys. The coordinator looks for interests they have in common and also considers the willingness of the mentor and youth to try new things.
- Gender—usually matches mentors with youth of the same sex. However, there are occasions when boys may be matched with female mentors if a female role model is needed. Occasionally, STARS matches a husband and wife team with a single mentee.
- Traveling Distance—Mentors and mentees are more likely to meet frequently when they live close together or the youth goes to school in the town where mentor lives or works.
- Ages—Mentors can request an age of a child to work with.
- Needs of the Child—Considering the needs of the child and tries to find an adult who will be most likely to meet those needs. A child with academic problems may be matched with someone who is willing to help with homework. A child with social needs may be matched with someone who has had a great number of long-lasting friendships.
- Life Experiences—Mentors with more experience with certain things are matched with youth who need various things. A child with ADHD may be better matched with a retired teacher than someone who has less experience working with children.
- Background—Family background is used for matching.
- Energy Level—Considers whether the mentor will have the energy to work with a specific child.
- Refusal—Mentors always have a right to refuse a match.
The matching process is a series of conversations between the coordinator, the prospective mentor and parents of the prospective mentee and the mentee him or herself. Once both parents or guardians and the mentor agree to a match, the STARS coordinator accompanies the mentor to the mentee’s home and introduces everyone. This provides an opportunity for the mentor to learn where the child lives and meet the other family members. If everyone feels the match will succeed, the parent, mentor and mentee sign the Mentor-Mentee-Parent Agreement. The mentor, mentee and parent are asked to set up the first appointment before the match meeting ends.
- If, after a year period, a mentor agrees to continue for another year, a rematch form is signed by all parties (mentor, mentee and parent/guardian) and the relationship will continue for another year.
- If a mentor wishes to discontinue the relationship after a year or more, a closure form is signed by all parties involved.
- If the parents and child still want to be in the mentor program, STARS will find a new mentor for the child.
- If a mentor chooses to discontinue the current relationship but become a mentor for a different child, STARS will welcome him/her as long as his performance has been satisfactory.