handsA mentee is someone who has a mentor.  It is a youth that enters into the mentoring program having strengths, abilities and assets of their own, but may not realize all that he/she has to offer. The focus of a mentoring relationship is to help youth gain self-esteem and self-confidence in order to bring out the youth’s strengths, abilities and assets through resources provided, experiences shared and mutual activities.

Who can be a mentee?
  • Be 7-18 years old.
  • Reside in the STARS service area.
  • Demonstrates a desire or willingness to participate in the program.
  • Willingness to agree to a year’s commitment, spending frequent and consistent time with their mentor.
  • Have parents or guardians permission and willingness to support a mentoring relationship.
  • Willingness to participate in special activities as scheduling permits.
  • STARS does not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or disability.
How do I become a mentee?

upside-downYouth are primarily referred to STARS by school or human service personnel, social services, public health, churches or parents.  However, anyone who works with youth may refer a family to STARS.  Parents often request a mentor because they have heard of the program and think it might be helpful for their child.

  • A parent submits:
  • Be interviewed in a parent’s home for child’s interests and family background information.
  • Agree and abide the parent/guardian policies and procedures.

Mentors are not meant to replace parents, guardians, or teachers, or to play the role of disciplinarians or decision makers.  Rather, they become part of a team of caring adults to that young person.  Mentors can help encourage positive choices, promote high self-esteem support academic achievement and introduce new ideas.

Other Services Available


Besides mentoring, we offer free tutoring to children who are reading substantially below their grade level, using the research-based multisensory Orton-Gillingham method. Not being able to read as well as your classmates is devastating to a child’s self-esteem. With parent support, children can receive instruction twice a week for as long as needed to feel confident in the classroom. Mentors can support mentoring by going with the child, reviewing concepts learned at each session and providing transportation.  The program evaluates the current reading, writing and spelling level of the student.  From this information a specific phonetically based plan is built and utilized to increase the child’s knowledge and skills to match their age and grade.

Workforce Center

writingOlder mentees will also be referred to the Minnesota Workforce Center in Albert Lea for their youth employment program. Eligible mentees may qualify for summer employment. A successful job experience can help youth focus on future careers and understand and appreciate the value of an education

Skill Building Incentives Program

The goal of this Skill Building Program is to help mentees learn how to make decisions easier and resolve their conflicts easier.  Youth will be more equipped to make responsible decisions and solve problems easier by learning conflict-resolution skills.

Albert Lea Area Learning Center and Lift One Life All Beyond Poverty in Freeborn County:

STARS is collaborating with Albert Lea Area Learning Center and Lift One, Lift All of Freeborn County to match up mentors with students in 8th through 12th grades in the ALC.    Research shows that young adults who were at-risk for  not completing high school but who have a mentor were:

  • 55% more likely to be enrolled in college,
  • 81% more likely to participate regularly in sports or extracurricular activities,
  • more than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team and
  • 78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
How Do I get matched with a mentee?

girlsMentor-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.