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Mentor Handbook for Career Academies

This report was made possible by major funding from the Wallace - Reader's Digest Fund to the College and Career Academy Support Network


College and Career Academy Support Network
University of California, Berkeley
Graduate School of Education
Berkeley, CA 94720-1670

The Mentor Handbook was originally developed by Lisa Vujovich through the California Department of Education. Karen Shores revised the Handbook and added information. Pam Langbehn and Linda Scannell also contributed materials and ideas. We thank all these and many other contributors for their time and good ideas about ways to mentor our young people.










Many policy and procedural issues should be considered when developing a mentoring program. Querying other mentoring programs about their guidelines may help a new program to clarify its own internal policies. It is advisable to develop an action plan, assign responsibility to individuals or committees to research, and make recommendations on particular areas of policy and procedures. Possible clusters of issues might include:

Program Policies:

  • When, and under what circumstances, should matches be terminated? For example, what if the mentee becomes abusive? What if either the mentor or mentee is consistently missing appointments?
  • How should it be handled, and how will it be determined, if a match simply does not work out?
  • What should be the policy about the exchange of gifts?
  • Will mentors be reimbursed for the expenses incurred in taking mentees on outings?
  • How will the program respond to crises? Since many programs rely on weekend meetings between mentor and mentee, will staff be available by phone or pager during those times?
  • What are the program's parameters of confidentiality? How are they assured?
  • How will the program respond to revelations about a mentee's drug use or sexual activity?


  • Forms to be developed might include application forms, releases, contact logs, and contracts for mentors, mentees, and parents, and field trip permission forms.


  • What liability insurance is needed?
  • What is the screening process? Do mentors need to submit to fingerprint checks? Who pays for these costs?
  • What background checks are necessary for mentors?
  • Should mentors be allowed to drive mentees in their cars? Is a check of driving record and auto insurance necessary? Should they be reimbursed for gasoline or mileage?

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Because of its typical reliance on volunteers, mentoring is a very efficient type of program, but it does have necessary costs that need to be identified. To a large degree the program's funding needs will be determined by the extent of its professional staffing. Corporate-based programs, however, may also want to calculate the expense of release time for workers. Space costs will be limited since most mentoring activities occur either in natural settings in the community or the mentee's home. School-based programs usually have space available for mentoring activities on site. Community-based programs, however, will need to estimate the office space necessary to accommodate professional staff. Beyond the standard costs of telephones, mailings, and office supplies, programs will also need to consider the cost of training materials, speakers or consultants, and whether or not to offer volunteers stipends for the expenses incurred in activities with the mentees.

It is important to develop a plan for how the program will be sustained. Corporate and school-based programs may have sources of funding internal to their organizations, but community-based programs are certain to have to seek funds from the outside. For new programs, it is often wise to “partner” with a more established agency that has the experience and resources to apply for funding.

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The first task in implementing a program is mentor recruitment. It is important to develop a well-considered recruitment strategy, based on the program's community needs assessment and related to the mission statement. Through its assessment, the program should have developed a clear idea of the needs of the target population, suggesting what types of skills, backgrounds, and qualities are to be looked for in potential mentors. For example, a mentoring program aimed at encouraging adolescent girls in science or engineering careers might recruit successful women from those fields.

Recruitment Activities

A new program may hold kick-off events to attract mentors, but recruitment is likely to be a continuous process. There are several avenues, formal and informal, that programs tend to use to recruit mentors, including:

Other organizations: Through the community needs assessment the program may discover local service clubs and agencies that have access to potential mentors. The program might be discussed with members of the clergy to see if it is possible to recruit mentors from their congregations. Many communities have volunteer bureaus that serve as clearinghouses for volunteer opportunities.

Media: Many newspapers, television and radio stations are willing to publish public announcements. Providing their community affairs officer with success stories may lead to a profile of the program.

Small media: This ‘includes fliers, newsletters, posters, mailings, and bulletin board notices. These could be mailed to other organizations, churches, and businesses that have expressed interest in issues related to the community's youth.

Schools: Universities and community colleges often offer credits to students who volunteer. There may be expectations about the level of supervision that they receive, however, and it is important to understand the time commitment that a student can make and arrangements that may be necessary over holiday and summer breaks. In a program model called “tripartite” mentoring, high schools can provide older students to be mentors to elementary students.

Local businesses: Many business organizations encourage employees to volunteer as a means of community relations. Some enlightened organizations recognize that encouraging employee volunteerism may improve staff skills and morale. It is advantageous when the mentoring opportunity is related to the company products, as when the employees of a software company volunteer to teach computer skills to disadvantaged students in public schools. The initial contact person within an organization is usually the human resource or public relations director, who may be willing to post an announcement about the program in the company newsletter.

Word of mouth: Once a number of mentors have had a positive experience with the program, the word-of-mouth marketing that they do is likely to yield new mentors. Programs should ask talented mentors to refer friends to the program.

New programs may consider holding an open house, luncheon, or special event, inviting leaders who might have access to volunteers. Events to attract potential volunteers can be highlighted by having panels of mentors who can describe their experiences and answer questions. Also, having mentees speak about their experiences can be engaging.

In corporate-based programs, companies may wish to have an event day with opportunities for employees to sign up, booths with different volunteer opportunities, and panels with employees who have already served as mentors. Corporations can have liaisons that recruit mentors from within their departments. One of the most effective ways to draw attention to a mentoring program within an organization or school is to win the support of the chief executive officer or school district superintendent. He or she could serve as a speaker at recruitment functions. During promotional activities program staff should collect the names of potential mentors and call them within the week.

Mentor recruitment is a continuing process, and whenever possible it is recommended that a program maintain a waiting list of potential mentors. Due to the cyclical nature of training and orientation, volunteers may apply at times when there are no openings, and it is important to keep a list of their names. Mailing materials to them and giving a clear idea of when they will be contacted is one way to sustain their interest. It is important that marketing materials be clear and well organized, eliciting confidence in the organization's ability to support its volunteers. It is good practice to have a stand-by list of volunteers who have been screened and who could enter the training on short notice if cancellations occur.

New programs, however, are not likely to have a reserve of applicants. To attract enough volunteers to start, it may be necessary for a new program to cast a far-reaching net. The wider the recruitment, the more applicants the program can select from, but this also increases the importance of screening.

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To a great extent, the quality of the program will be determined by the quality of the mentors. Through screening, the program is able to retain desirable mentors and filter out inappropriate ones. The careful screening of volunteers at the outset improves the chances for successful matches. The time invested in screening mentors can be regained later when the program does not have to sort out a failed match. The process of screening volunteers is similar to hiring, with an application, interview, and reference check.

The Application Process

Having a clear written description of the mentor's role and responsibilities is the first step in screening. The description will give the applicant a fair idea of what is involved in mentoring and whether or not it is something he or she wants to do. An application form that queries the volunteer's education, experiences, skills, hobbies, interests, and availability will let the program gauge whether the applicant fits the profile that the program is looking for. A background check should include a fingerprint check, which some programs have the applicant pay for, and a check of the list of local sex-offenders. Depending on whether the program allows mentors to transport a mentee, a check of driving records, proof of auto insurance, and a vehicle inspection may be appropriate. The program may also ask for three or more character references.

The Interview

An interview is an indispensable part of the screening process. The best mentors are patient, flexible, and conscientious, and these qualities should come through during an interview. The program will want to know if the mentor is able to listen without judgment to young people, and whether the mentor is able to set aside his or her own agenda to focus on the needs of the young person. Many of these are subjective assessments, and some programs have two staff persons participate in the interview so that they can compare impressions. Questions the interviewer might ask include:

  • Why does the person want to be a mentor? There should be no hesitation in acknowledging that mentors as well as mentees derive gratification from a relationship. Some common benefits that an applicant might cite include: the gratification of sharing knowledge and contributing to a young person's development; gaining an understanding of educational or social issues; improving skills in communicating with young people; or connecting with others in a meaningful way. This is a natural point for the interviewer to highlight the rewards of mentoring.
  • What other volunteer experiences does the person have? Does the person have experiences or background that will help him or her in communicating with young people?
  • What skills can the applicant offer? What type of help would he or she like to give?
  • Did the applicant have a mentor while growing up? What difference did the mentor make in their life? If the applicant did not have a mentor, what difference would one have made in their life?
  • Does the applicant have any concerns about mentoring? Having doubts may mean that the applicant has a healthy sense of the challenges of mentoring. If the mentor does not have a realistic understanding of the mentoring process, he or she might drop out later when difficulties are encountered. The interviewer might describe a difficult situation that a mentor would be likely to encounter. How would the applicant handle such a situation?

Through the discussion, the interviewer should listen for signs of rigid attitudes, immaturity, or unrealistic goals for the mentoring relationship. Mentors often work with children who have tremendous need for adult attention, and it is important for mentors to have enough sense of their own limits to be able to set clear boundaries. While training can give mentors techniques for this, some applicants may be trying to work out problems from their own past through the mentoring relationship, which can interfere with having clear boundaries. Another area to listen for is the applicant's attitudes about religious, ethnic, or class differences that might exist between mentors and mentees. One of the values of mentoring is learning about backgrounds and circumstances different than one's own, but this requires an open mind.

The interviewer also wants to be certain that the applicant can make the time commitment mentoring requires and can be relied upon to keep appointments. Ironically, programs often look to successful leaders as the most promising mentors, when this is the very group that is most likely not to have enough time for their own families. A young person who is at-risk is likely to have been let down by other adults in their lives, and it is important that the program be able to provide an adult who is reliable in keeping commitments.

If there are questions about the applicant's attitudes, skills, or time commitment, it is best not to tap him or her as a mentor. If the program has a menu of volunteering options, however, there may be another activity that the person could become involved with.

The Mentoring Contract

During the interview, the program wants to have a full discussion about the mentor responsibilities and role, answering any questions the applicant might have. Many programs use a contract that summarizes the program's expectations. While not binding, the contract formalizes the volunteer's commitment. It should briefly describe the program's confidentiality policies; the age and type of child the mentor will work with; how supervision will work; the number of hours per week that are expected; the length of commitment; places where the adult can rendezvous with the child; and whether stipends are available for transportation or miscellaneous costs. The contract should stress the importance of consistency in making and keeping appointments, and the process involved.

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Introductory training always occurs before the mentor is matched with a mentee. It orients mentors to the program's values and practices, and it gives them the skills and knowledge they will need to establish a successful mentoring relationship with a child. Training can also provide mentors with constructive feedback and increase their confidence. It also offers the staff a chance to get to know the mentors. Learning more about the mentor's personality and communication style, the program will be better able to make a match with a mentee. While training will not turn someone who is unsuited to mentoring into a good mentor, it can be used as part of an extended screening process to make a final assessment of the mentor's appropriateness.

Training Content

The training topics and material should be based on the kind of work the mentors will do, as well as their level of experience. The depth of training is likely to correspond to the ambitions of the program. The staff should have a sound base of knowledge for the training, and they may need training themselves before the volunteers are trained. The trainers should outline the topics to be covered, the order of presentation, and the time for each topic. There are three broad areas that training topics are likely to cover, including:

Orientation: The training should probably begin with a review of the program's goals and objectives. Mentors will also need to know about the program's procedures, including what support systems are place and how to ask for help. The mentors will need to know about crisis procedures, and it is important to review the program's child abuse reporting procedures. Many practical policies need to be clarified, including the question of who pays for entertainment costs for the mentee. The program will also want to review confidentiality and liability policies, the resource network, including information and referral procedures, and other interventions or services that might be in the child's life, including schools.

Understanding the mentee: Training should provide mentors with insights into the way young people behave and communicate, and effective strategies to use. Material should cover stages of development and how these might affect the mentoring relationship. If mentors will be matched with children from impoverished backgrounds, they may need an orientation to issues of urban poverty. Training should help mentors develop an appreciation and sensitivity for cultural differences.

Managing the mentor relationship: The training needs to prepare mentors for the practical considerations of forming a relationship with a young person. The trainers will want to discuss the nature of the mentoring relationship, including how “close” it should be and how to avoid becoming a substitute parent. The stages of a mentoring relationship should be reviewed, with practical suggestions about how to handle such milestones as the first meeting. The more concrete the training is, covering topics like entering the child's home or handling missed appointments, the more useful it is likely to be. To keep mentors from feeling rejected, it is important to apprise them that mentees or their families may be wary of them and discuss ways to overcome these obstacles.

Training Design

Besides the content of the training, the program needs to consider teaching methods that will keep mentors engaged, and should allow time for the practice of new skills. The training should balance a range of learning techniques, including videos, role playing, training manuals and articles.

The trainers should develop role-plays about common situations, such as when a mentee expresses discouragement over school performance, and potentially awkward situations, such as when a mentee asks for money or discusses sexual activity. The mentors should receive feedback and encouragement about their role-playing. Organizing the mentors into small groups will allow them to give feedback to each other more easily. Having a variety of presenters can also sustain the volunteers' interest, and often the best trainers are other mentors themselves. They can talk in concrete ways about their experiences, their feelings about mentoring, and practical solutions to overcoming obstacles that arise in a mentoring relationship. The program should bear in mind that volunteers may be more ready for certain types of information once the mentoring relationship is under way. New programs should have the mentors complete a course evaluation form, which can give staff ideas of how to improve future training.

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The most common criteria for matching is similarity. Mentees, parents, and volunteers are each involved in the matching process. They are asked to state their preferences about age, race, and religion of mentors and activities they would like to share. The pairs can be formed by a range of factors:

  • the fit between a mentor's skills and the mentee's interests, including career aspirations;
  • personal compatibility, shared backgrounds, and receptivity to cultural differences; and
  • geographical proximity, available times to meet.

Arranging Matches

In many programs, the staff orchestrates matches based on their knowledge of the mentors and mentees and their stated preferences. This can be time-consuming. Some programs allow mentors to choose the mentee; some programs allow the mentee to choose the mentor. Mentors may be given several youth to choose from, and some programs may arrange for events where mentors can talk about themselves and mentees can make selections. Programs must be prepared, however, to handle situations in which a mentee is not selected or several mentees choose the same mentor. For corporate-based programs, the schools or program partner usually helps make the match, drawing input from teachers, counselors, and parents. The parent needs to agree to the match and some programs use statements to be signed by mentee, parent, and mentor agreeing to the match and outlining the objectives of the relationship.

Ethnic Matching

There is a continuing debate in the field of mentoring as to whether minority children are better served by mentors of their own racial and ethnic background. For adolescent youth, in particular, this may be true. Adolescents struggle with confusion about roles and identities as they make the transition into adulthood, and a mentor can help a young person imagine the different types of futures available to them. If the mentor is too different from the mentee, this process may be hindered. Ogbu and Wilson (1990) have argued that the culture of urban, African-American youth contains strong themes of opposition to the mainstream values of the dominant culture, and identifying with a Caucasian mentor may create difficult conflicts for an African-American youth.

While there has been little research on matching, much less cross-race matching, what research that has been done suggests that there are other criteria, such as class differences, that are more important than race and culture. If social distance leads the mentor to misidentify the mentee's strengths, problems, and needs, the mentee is not likely to be responsive. If a mentor enjoys children, is empathic and non-judgmental, and is prepared for differences in culture, he or she is more likely to build a successful relationship across race. What may be more important is the congruence between what the mentee wants and what the mentor can offer. However, when race or ethnicity is expressed as a matching preference by a mentee, parent, or mentor, it should be respected and fulfilled.

Matching by Need and Commitment

Finally, it is important for a program to ensure equivalence between the level of need the mentee has and the level of involvement a mentor is willing to commit to. The Mentoring Center (Mentor Resource Center, California Mentor Intiative office, c/o CA Dept. of Alcohol and Drug Programs, 1700 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814-4037, 1-800-444-3066) has developed a classification of mentoring relationships that illustrates this balance. At one end of the classification are “soft” and “medium” mentoring relationships, which match caring adults with children who can benefit from additional adult companionship. At the other end of the spectrum are “hard” and “hard core” mentoring relationships, which match troubled children with adults who are willing to make exceptional commitments of time and emotional attachment to the mentee. A mismatch between mentee need and mentor commitment is bound to result in frustration and confusion.

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Continuing Support

Support is important to the successful mentoring program. Program staff should know each mentor well, arranging a time to talk on a regular basis. Mentors are likely to need more support early, when their relationship with the mentee is still tentative. Staff can be particularly helpful in helping the mentors to recognize this as a stage in the relationship and encouraging them to persevere. They can give the mentors practical suggestions, including activities to reduce the anxiety of the first meeting. Staff can help the mentor to sequence tasks, setting goals that can be achieved early on to create a sense of progress and connection with the mentee.

The level of support depends on the program's goals and activities and on the level of the mentor's experience.

Group Support: In a group of their colleagues mentors can exchange ideas about activities, get support, and learn how others overcame obstacles.

Individual meetings: In individual meetings with staff, the mentor can share issues or problems in depth. This should be scheduled on a regular basis.

Phone calls: Although there should always be some level of face-to-face contact, phone calls are often necessary when mentors are working in full-time jobs and volunteer on the weekends.

Written records: Programs can ask mentors to keep logs of their mentoring activities, including the dates of meetings, their length, the location of the meeting, and what was discussed and done. This can help staff to track the progress of the relationship, including any significant changes in the mentee's behavior or attitude. The logs can also lend structure to meetings.

Family feedback: The program should also be in contact with the mentee and parents, especially in the early stages of the relationship. The family may be more willing to share a concern with the staff person than with the volunteer, and the program can mediate their concerns.

Mentor Support

Many programs have found that recruiting mentors is not as difficult as retaining them. Making efforts to support mentors is likely to make a significant difference in helping them fulfill the length of their commitment. There are several key ways programs can provide support, including:

Access to peers: Many individuals who volunteer to mentor are interested in being part of a larger movement or effort, but then find the practice itself is isolating. Through group supervision, a program can create a sense of network among the mentors. Supervisors can ask mentors to talk about confusing or difficult moments in the relationship. They can do role-plays based on the types of problems that they express. Mentors can share successful activities that they have done with their mentee.

Continuing opportunities to learn: Mentors can always benefit from more training, and the learning that results can keep the mentors engaged. The program can develop workshops on practical topics, such as how to strengthen the relationship with the mentee, using the mentors themselves to discuss what has worked in their mentee relationships. Speakers on relevant topics, like adolescent development and communication, can draw mentors together to learn. The program can make articles, books, and videos available.

Recognition: In meetings, which should be regular, staff should look for opportunities to express how mentors have helped children. The mentors should also be recognized publicly, possibly through annual recognition and appreciation events, or by being asked to serve on mentor panels. A program newsletter can describe the accomplishments of mentors as well as keep them apprised of program happenings and changes in policies.

Prompt response to problems: It is crucial that programs recognize problems that arise in mentor relationships and respond to them quickly. If after three to four weeks a good relationship has not begun to form, staff may want to meet with the mentor and mentee to assess the match. There may be communication problems. If there have been difficulties, the mentor may need to be reminded to take the initiative in setting up activities and following up with the mentee.

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The way mentoring relationships are ended often determines their ultimate impact, resulting in either new feelings of autonomy and independence or else in frustration and confusion. Helping the mentor manage the termination process is one of the areas where staff support can make the biggest difference.

The mentee needs to understand from the outset that the mentoring relationship is time-limited and that the mentee will eventually be able to do for himself or herself what the mentor had helped them do. The length of commitment varies between programs, but a common standard is once or twice a month, for one to three hours, for one year.

The termination should generally include the following aspects:

  • The mentee is informed well ahead of time.
  • Mentees have the opportunity to express their feelings, which may include anger and loss.
  • Mentors stay aware of their own feelings, which can include guilt.
  • The mentor and mentee review their time together and the progress that the mentee made in achieving goals
  • The mentor expresses confidence in the mentee's ability to continue to make progress toward goals and the next steps in achieving personal goals.
  • Whether or not the pair will have contact again, and under what circumstances, is made clear and adhered to.
  • Termination steps should include meetings with the mentee, parent, and staff, mentor and staff, and mentor and mentee.

Sometimes relationships do not work out, however, and end prematurely. There may not be enough time for the mentee to process this experience emotionally, and the program has an obligation to minimize the disruption of these terminations and make the experience as positive as possible. For youth that have had other losses in their lives, the program may need to provide professional help and support. Different situations can include:

The mentee ends it: The mentee may move, join another program, or just not like the experience of being mentored. Staff needs to discuss the mentee's reason for wanting to terminate, determining if there are underlying reasons. If the mentee does not want to cooperate with the termination process, the program should allow him or her to leave gracefully.

The mentor ends it: Sometimes the mentor may move or have other demands that conflict with the relationship to the mentee. Sometimes a mentor is hurt by mentees who are hostile or distrustful. He or she may have high expectations and then find that the process is disappointing. Regardless, the program should insist that the mentor talk to the mentee about the termination before leaving. The program needs to make sure that the mentee does not feel rejected, and it needs to assess the possibility of another match.

The program ends it: Sometimes, such as when mentees do not make appointments or are abusive, the program needs to end the match. The program should be very specific about why the match is being terminated, and it should try to get the mentee's point of view, and allow the mentee as much dignity as possible in the termination process.

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Mentoring may not be a familiar concept for young people. An orientation that explains what mentoring is and is not, what mentors can and cannot do, is important to dispel any misunderstandings- For example, a mentor may be able to help a mentee look for a job, but cannot promise one. The orientation needs to be held before the first meeting with the mentor.

The orientation allows them a chance to meet the staff, hear a program overview, and find out about the program's expectations and restrictions. The orientation can include a discussion of the commitment expected by mentees, as well as expectations and restrictions. Mentee responsibilities can be summarized in a brief contract, signed by mentee and parent, which asks mentee to keep appointments, notify the mentor when unable to do so, and to attend particular program activities.

Some programs have made the mistake of assigning mentors to mentees without the young person's input. To engage the mentee it is recommended that he or she be involved early in the decisions. The program may help the mentors and mentees to form short-term, accessible goals that provide the mentee with some immediate success, lessen the anxiety of the initial stages of the relationship, and convince the mentee of the program's value.


To develop a successful relationship with a mentee, the mentor may need to involve of parents. Some possible ways to involve parents can include:

Orientation: An orientation for parents, explaining the program and its goals, can allay concerns. The orientation should stress the importance of their participation to the success of the program. Parents can be encouraged to speak favorably about the program to the mentee. If mentors attend the same orientation, it can help them understand the parents' perspective and their issues and concerns. However, the orientation facilitator needs to be clear with parents that these mentors may or may not be matched with their children. This is to dispel any expectation a parent might have concerning a possible match between a mentor and their child.

Mentor contact: Mentors can attend orientation sessions for parents so that they can discuss what they want to accomplish and can reassure them that they are not trying to undermine their authority, impose values, or make judgments.

Parental input in the match: Parents should be able to disapprove of any mentor they believe would not be good for their children. Parents should have the name and phone number of the mentor's supervisor.

Parent contracts: Parents can be asked to sign brief contracts indicating their commitment to the program and stating the need for their support. The contract may ask parents to help their children keep appointments, attend parent meetings, and promptly inform staff of any concerns.

Parent Support and Inclusion

Mentoring programs should support parents in their roles, not supplant them. Since youth today have so much less contact with adults than in the past, the importance of the parental relationship is magnified, and supporting this relationship is critical. Some of the ways in which mentoring programs can recognize and support parents include:

Developing a Parent Advisory Committee: A parent committee can help the program review policies and programmatic decisions. It can assist with the planning of special events, including recognition and fund-raising events.

Workshops: Parents may be interested in dealing with specific problems related to raising young people.

Parent Support Groups: The program can connect parents with other parents to share emotional support and discussions dealing with stress, community resources, and issues of child and adolescent development. To make it possible for parents to attend support groups or workshops it is necessary to have childcare available.

Newsletters: The program can share news with parents with articles about children's achievement, program developments, and mentor profiles.

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Evaluation is the assessment of how the program has met its goals and objectives and what impact the program may have had on individuals or broader societal goals (outcome evaluation). There are two types of evaluation that a mentoring program is likely to consider.

The first is a formative evaluation, largely intended for the program staff, to determine if the program is being implemented as planned. Barriers may have arisen that were not anticipated, and the staff may need to change program plans.

The second type of evaluation is summative, which is a final assessment of whether or not the program achieved its outcomes. The summative evaluation occurs at the end of a project or a given period of time, and it is intended for program continuing improvement, funding sources or other audiences.

The information that programs gather about their activities and the impact of their efforts does not have to be exhaustive. The information available may be limited, either by considerations of budget and staff time or by issues of confidentiality when a program wants to request information from another agency. While developing program objectives and plans, programs should also be developing a plan for evaluation. After completing a community needs assessment, the program should be able to logically explain what the identified problem is, why mentoring will make a difference in addressing it, and how that difference can be measured. Broad goals may need to be narrowed to specific, intermediate outcomes that can be measured and that can be reliably attributed to the program and not other factors. During the early stages of implementing a program, the forms that mentors and staff use should be developed with a clear idea of what information the program will need.

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Last two weeks of MAY:

Write and mail letter to former mentors requesting response on intention to continue or cease participation.

JULY – Recruiting:

Target companies to solicit and make initial contact. Set on-site meeting dates for the last two weeks in August (or whatever time best suits your summer schedule).

Prepare Mentor Packet.

Prepare all other recruitment materials.

Arrange for students and former mentors to accompany you to on-site meetings at various companies during the last two weeks of August.

First two weeks in AUGUST – Recruiting:

Set mentor event dates (especially MATCH UP date) with Academy teachers. Plan presentations for new companies, including materials. Continue making contact calls and sending follow-up letters.

Last two weeks in AUGUST – Recruiting:

Make on-site presentations to potential mentors at target companies.

Begin planning Mentor Orientation.

Look into criminal record research (determine which local agency you will work with to obtain fingerprinting, background checks, registered sex-offender checks, driving record checks, and vehicle inspection (if appropriate).

First two weeks in SEPTEMBER – Recruiting:

Contact all parties who have attended on site informational meetings and have indicated interest.

Call all former mentors who have not responded to letter.

Create and mail informational letter to parents.

Create orientation materials for mentors and students.

Have juniors fill out interest assessment questionnaires.

Create flyer for Mentor Match-Up Event.

Last two weeks in SEPTEMBER:

Have all mentors work with Academy teachers to match mentors with students.

Mail Match-Up Flyer.

First two weeks of OCTOBER - Match-Up:

Orientation. Mentor Match-Up Event.

Create Flyer for first mentor/student event

Last two weeks of OCTOBER:

Mail flyers for first event.

NOVEMBER – First Event:

Implement first event (ex: Job Shadowing Month).

Plan December Event.

Create flyer for December event. Mail flyer for December event.


December event.

Take pictures of mentors and students. Students send Holiday Greetings (with pictures enclosed) to mentors.

First week of JANUARY:

Create and mail Student/Mentor Calendar and Luncheon Flyer.

First week of FEBRUARY:

Student/Mentor Calendar Planning Luncheon

Mail flyer for March event (ex: Student Shadowing)


Implement March event (ex: Student Shadowing -- Mentors shadow students).


Mail letter to inquire about possible summer employment opportunities for students at mentors' companies.

Create and mail flyer for May event

Tell students about event.


May event

Create and mail end of the year event flyer.

First two weeks of JUNE:

End of the year event.

Write and mail letters of appreciation from the Academy. Have students write letters of appreciation.


About the mentor orientation

For the sake of convenience, the mentor orientation may be held on the same day as the Match Up Event. Arrange for the mentors to meet with the Academy teachers just before the actual Match Up Event begins, allowing about 45 minutes for the orientation. The time may be organized as follows:

Mentor folders: As mentors enter, give them the appropriate mentor folder and invite them to take a seat and look through the contents. (To expedite the process, attach each mentor's nametag to the appropriate folder in advance and then arrange the folders alphabetically by the mentors' last names.) Folders should include the following contents: a mentee “essay”, a mentee business card, a sheet entitled “Mentor Orientation”, the Mentor Questionnaire, the Mentor Release Form, and the 3 x 5 card with an unusual fact about his/her mentee written on it (for a getting acquainted activity).

Mentor Questionnaire and Release Form: Have mentors fill out the Mentor Questionnaire and the Release Form. Collect these. (NOTE: You may want to address the fact that the Release Form is a necessary precautionary measure, and that signing it won't allow us access to their personal records.)

Something unusual: On a 3 x 5 card, have each mentor write one very unusual fact about himself/herself. On the reverse side, each mentor must write the name of his/her mentee. This will be part of the match up activity. Collect these and have them distributed to the awaiting students.

Mentor Orientation Sheet: Go over the Mentor Orientation information with the mentors, elaborating and explaining wherever necessary. You may want to stress the fact that students will be NERVOUS, and caution mentors not to mistake shyness for disinterest.

Swing wide the doors! Lead the mentors into the room where the students are waiting. Instruct both students and mentors to shake hands with everyone they meet and, in lieu of introductions, determine whether the person before them is the “author” of the unusual fact on their 3 x 5 card. NO NAMES MAY BE EXCHANGED UNTIL ALL MENTORS HAVE FOUND THEIR MENTEES. The first two pairs to match up will receive Lunch for Two coupons from a local restaurant.

Tell us why you're here. After mentors and mentees have had a little time to talk and eat, ask mentors to stand and introduce themselves to the group. Ask them to include whom they work for and in what capacity, and what motivated them to participate in the Program.

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Pairing each junior with the ideal mentor match may seem a mammoth task. It is. In fact, it's impossible. Personality types, hobbies and career interests have to be considered.

Unless you know every mentor and every student extremely well, there is absolutely no way for you to ensure the success of every match. So just do your best to match mentor's individual gifts with specific student interests and needs.

In the real world, students will encounter people with whom they “click”, and colleagues, supervisors, customers or neighbors whom they find less than good company. Learning to interact well with ALL TYPES of people is an essential component of adult success, so if a mentor/mentee match isn't harmonious, chalk it up to experience. If necessary, adjustments can be made later.

Staff should communicate clearly and frequently with students and mentors so that uncomfortable situations can be dealt with before they become serious problems. Some mentors and/or mentees may need to be reassigned.

Mentor Matching Process

Prior to the actual mentor-mentee match the Coordinator will collect completed mentor survey forms and review them to insure that all information has been provided to facilitate a match.

On or about the same time, the Coordinator will collect student surveys and review them to insure that they have been completed.

Once all surveys have been collected and reviewed a meeting wild take place to allow the coordinator and teachers to compare surveys and discuss possible matches between students and mentors. This meeting should take place 2-3 weeks prior to the actual match. This discussion will involve a comparison of survey responses and identification of shared interests, hobbies and goals. Other factors such as student academic needs in a particular subject area and mentor expertise or interest in that same area may provide the basis for a match. Career goals identified by the student also play a part in deciding an appropriate match. Teacher input is critical at this phase to provide a basis for suggesting a possible match taking into account the particular needs and interests of the student; desire for a mentor and academic improvement and willingness to accept coaching and encouragement.

After completing this preliminary match, a meeting with the prospective mentor(s) will be held to discuss the proposed match and reason for the recommendation. This gives the mentor an opportunity to gain insight into the academic and social needs of the student, ask questions and express concerns or reservations regarding the pre-match recommendation. In the event a mentor is not comfortable with the initial recommendation, an alternative student will be identified for them to talk with at the match.

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Because many Academy students do not have attentive adults in their lives, it is essential that they be thoroughly oriented before they meet their mentors. They need to be told exactly what to expect. To ensure that students are prepared, it is suggested having more than one student “orientation” -- one a few weeks before the students are to meet the mentors to get them used to the idea, and a refresher just a day before the actual event to build confidence.

Initial Orientation

Introductory Essay: A couple of weeks before the match up event, have a class discussion about the future -- i.e. higher education, careers, expenses, etc. You may want to dissect how a working adult spends his or her on and off work hours. You may also want to outline an average budget. Ask your students what their plans are. Ask them what they fear about the future. Share how you felt at their age. Then, have each of them write a page or so that either outlines plans for the post-high school future, or discusses fears that the student holds in regard to his/her future. The final draft of this paper will be placed in the Mentor Orientation folder.

Student Questionnaire: Have students fill out the Student Survey. Use these when you begin to match students with mentors.

Business Cards: Either on the back of your Mentor Coordinator business card or on a blank business card, have students create their own business card, including a title, address, and phone number. Encourage them to make these colorful and creative. These will be clipped to the front of the Mentor Orientation folder.

What is a Mentor? Read over “What is a Mentor” with students, elaborating on the points listed as you see fit.

Refresher Orientation

It's Mentor Time: Read over “It's Mentor Time” with students. Stress the fact that the mentors will be very nervous about meeting them, and that students should do their best to make their mentors feel at ease! Give students “So -- Who is this person?” to help them along.

Something Unusual: On a 3 x 5 card, have each student write one very unusual fact about himself/herself. On the reverse side, each student must write the name of his/her mentor. This will be part of the match up activity.

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Following is a list of specific issues that might arise and suggestions for handling them.

Student Shyness

When dealing with adults, even some of our most gregarious students become tongue-tied, intimidated and shy. Please do not read this as a lack of interest! On the contrary -- the students are extremely eager to make a good impression on their mentors, and this eagerness probably contributes to their nervousness.

Our suggestion: YOU CAN PUT THEM AT EASE BY BEING AT EASE. Simply talk to them as you would to anyone else. Believe us when we tell you that they love to talk -- especially about themselves, their concerns, and their future plans. If you are friendly and candid, they will be, too.

Phone Calls

Students may be surprisingly reluctant to call mentors at work and at home especially in the beginning. Let them know the best place and time to reach you.

Our suggestion: You will probably need to make the initial phone contact. You may also want to explicitly invite your student to call you.


Often mentors cannot attend an on-campus event. After all, events are held during school hours, which, for most mentors, are working hours.

Our suggestion: Let staff know, PLEASE LET YOUR STUDENT KNOW WHEN YOU CANNOT ATTEND AN EVENT, so that he or she does not expect to see you.


Often mentors want to plan something with their students, but are discouraged by logistical difficulties, especially transportation.

Our suggestion: Use staff. Not only can we help arrange transportation, but also we can help with the details of your plans, if need be. Just ask us.


While the parents of our juniors are aware that their students will be paired with a business professional, some are reluctant to allow their student to spend one on one time with an individual whom they have never met.

Our suggestion: Call home and meet the parents! Set up a time, if you can, to talk with the student's parents in person. They will be expecting your call shortly after the match-up. You may want to tell them a little bit about what you do and discuss what you intend to do as a mentor. They are informed about the specifics and the purpose of the program, so you can go from there. We strongly suggest involving your student in the discussion.


As with any program involving human relations, unanticipated problems can arise, even after the most careful planning.

Our suggestion: Call us. We can make necessary adjustments. Our goal is for both student and mentor to enjoy and learn from this experience, and we will do everything that we can to ensure that this happens.



Mentors should try to spend 2 -- 4 hours a month with the student. This time can be spent in any number of ways. Allow for a great deal of flexibility so that each pair (mentor and student) can choose activities that appeal to them. Activities that students and mentors have found valuable in the past:

Suggested Activities:

  • Job shadow . Have students follow mentor around as he/she performs work. Or be a student for a day, and follow your student.
  • Talk . Tell your student those things that you wish you'd known when you were seventeen. You can do this anywhere, anytime -- over lunch, snow boarding (though logistically, this might be difficult), on the phone - whatever works for you.
  • Ask Questions . These teenagers, who are so ready to ask questions, need somebody to ask them, “what do you want to do with yourself after high school, and what's your plan for getting there?” They'll undoubtedly need help in answering such questions.
  • Attend recreational or cultural activities. Many students are not exposed to enriching activities such as visits to museums, plays, or sporting events. These experiences can pique interest and encourage students to pursue new areas of learning.
  • Tutor. Mentors should feel free to help students with homework. Getting involved with curriculum is a good way to relate to students, and a good way to gain insight into the education system.
  • Attend student activities. If your student is involved in extracurricular activities, you may want to attend as a way of showing support.
  • Do things in groups . We encourage mentors to join in activities with other mentors and students. The adult participants in our program tend to be rather exceptional people; we have found that they really enjoy meeting and interacting with one another.

The preceding is a list of suggestions, and is not intended to limit creativity. All ideas are welcomed. The goal is to provide the kinds of experiences that a regular school environment does not include. The more “real world” exposure a mentor can provide, the more a student will learn.

No mentor is expected to organize activities alone. Staff responsibility as Academy coordinators of the Mentorship Program facilitate access to needed resources, arrange for students to leave campus when necessary, and assist in the planning of specific mentor activities. Staff also plans and organizes several OPTIONAL on-campus events which students and mentors are encouraged to attend.



A mentor is a business or community person who is giving of his or her time to talk with a student. The mentor receives no money.

What does a mentor do?

A mentor is a guide for a student. A mentor will listen, answer questions or help find the answers, and share with students all of those things that they wish somebody had told them when they were juniors in high school. Mentors want to make sure that students are able to reach the goals students want to reach. They want to make sure that in your futures, you spend your time doing what makes you happy. They can help you. These are caring, giving people. They have wisdom to offer. Find it!

So - What is the student's responsibility?

Ask questions. If the mentor does not know the answers, he or she will know where to find them!

Be interested. No matter what the mentor exposes you to, ENJOY IT. Take advantage of the fact that you are being exposed to new things, even if these events are not “your thing”.

Make your mentors feel at home. Talk to them! Include them! Introduce them to your friends. Remember that they are busy people who are here JUST FOR YOU. (Note: When your mentors are around, give them your undivided attention. That means don't shoot the breeze with your friends when your mentors are with you, unless you include your mentors in the conversation.)

Thank your mentors! Thank them for everything. Let them know how much you appreciate their time, help, and interest in you.

Write letters. Every two weeks each of you will be writing a letter to let your mentor know how you are doing. You will be doing this in class. Your mentors will love this!

Invite your mentors to your extracurricular activities. They may not have time to come, but you never know. It never hurts to ask.

These are the kind of people that know what is important. These are the kind of people who can and will make a difference in this world. These are the kind of people I want to be more like. Think about it -- how many people do you know who would give up some of their precious and rare free time to be with a student? (I mean, I know you're incredible and everything, but ... )

WANT TO KNOW HOW TO KEEP YOUR MENTOR HAPPY? It's easy. They want to talk to you, get to know you, and help you. LET THEM.



FACT: Mentors DO NOT get paid to be mentors.

FACT: Mentors use precious vacation time to be with their students.

QUESTION: So why do they do it?

ANSWER: Because they are good people, each with something to say to a young person. They've learned about life and their information is valuable. They want to share knowledge and experience with you. (FIND OUT WHAT IT IS!) Mentors are people who care. They're proving it by becoming involved with you.

Some advice:

Don't be shy. Are you a little nervous about meeting your mentor? Last year's juniors were, too. And believe it or not, last year's mentors were REALLY nervous about interacting with teenagers. Many of them were afraid that their students wouldn't like them! You can make them feel at ease by being at ease yourself. Just talk to them like you would to any one of your friends. No big deal. You don't have to sell them on being a mentor - they've already decided to! THEY ARE HERE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO WORK WITH YOU. Remember that.

Ask Questions . The purpose of having a mentor is to learn a little bit about the “real world” and how it works. Don't be afraid that your mentor will think you're ignorant if you don't know something. Each and every mentor is there to help! They WANT you to ask them things.

Be Responsible. When you get a call from your mentor, return it. When you arrange to meet your mentor, be there, on time, and ready to go. Never ever, let your mentor down. EVER. No matter what.

Be Interested. You might think, “I'd never want to be an accountant,” or, “I know I would hate the Opera.” HEY -- you'll never know for sure unless you try. Open your eyes, and open your mind. You'll never grow, learn, or become an interesting, cultured adult unless you try new things. If your mentor wants to do something that doesn't sound too exciting to you, go anyway and then YOU can plan the next time together and do something that YOU want to do.

Be Yourself. No matter what, let who you are SHINE. You guys are so wonderful, each in your own way. I have told all of the mentors how great you all are. So don't say what you think that your mentor wants to hear ... instead, be honest. Say what you feel. Reveal who you are. Just be you, and they'll enjoy you.



Why do you want to be a mentor?


Why do you want to have a mentor?


What do you do? Do you like it?


What do you do (school, job, etc.)? Do you like it?


What were you like in high school? How have you changed?


What are your favorite classes? What are your friends like?


What do you do in your time off.'


What do you do in your free time?


What are you doing for the holidays?


What are you doing for the holidays, and over Winter break?

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Section II



The mentor believes in the worth and dignity of all people. The mentor recognizes the magnitude of the responsibility he/she has accepted in choosing to work with youth and agrees to interact appropriately with the student according to the highest ethical standards at all times.

The mentor measures his/her success by the progress of each student toward realization of his/her potential and the value of education. The mentor works with the student to establish mutual respect and friendship, as well as enhance the confidence and motivation of the student and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.

In fulfilling these goals the mentor:

  • encourages the student to complete their secondary education, pursue higher learning or vocational goals, and provides access to varying points of view.
  • presents information carefully without distortion and gives all points of view a fair hearing.
  • protects the health and safety of the student and seeks advice from school faculty or program staff whenever in doubt about the appropriateness of an event or activity and informs school or program staff of any persons, situations or activities which could effect the health or safety of the student.
  • respects the uniqueness and honors the integrity of the student and influences them through constructive criticism and feedback. The mentor empowers the student to make “right” decisions without actually deciding for the student
  • foster a professional relationship with the student, which shall not be used for private advantage or involves the student or their parents in schemes for commercial gain. He/she does not accept gifts or favors that might impair or appear to impair professional judgment or offer any favor, service or thing of value to obtain special advantage.

The mentor believes that the quality of the relationship with the student directly influences the life and future of the student and therefore exerts every effort to maintain professional standards, improve his/her mentor skills and exercise good and professional judgment when engaged in any activity involving the student.

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Now You Are a Mentor

Mentoring is exciting, challenging and rewarding. It holds great promise for helping young people in a meaningful way. Caring mentors offer support, consistency and a chance for a young person to develop the knowledge and skills needed for their fullest potential. Mentors have the opportunity to pass on values, lessons learned and social skills from their generation to the next.

Given the realities of our public high schools and the difficulties associated with adolescence, mentoring may not be "smooth sailing." It is an experience, however, through which both mentor and mentee can learn and change. As a mentor, you can be absolutely certain that you will make a difference.

Purpose and Objectives of the Mentoring Program


  • To help students redirect their lives
  • To invest in the future of your community and business
  • To make a difference in the life of a young person and therefore the world

Objectives for the Student:

  • Develop awareness of business and career opportunities
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Increase knowledge of relationship between school and work
  • Establish professional relationship with a successful, working adult
  • Increase ability to contribute to society

Objectives for the Mentor:

  • Make a difference in both students lives and the school system
  • Contribute to higher percentage of successful graduates
  • Increase the number of successful citizens and employees in California
  • Help develop responsible future employees
  • Feel personal satisfaction

Benefits To Mentees

Mentors frequently ask: Am I making a difference? What are the signs of progress that can be considered successful in a mentor/mentee relationship? For some, it may be ten years before a "former" mentee looks back in retrospect, and says: You know who made a difference in my life? My mentor.

Listed below are the signs of success which mentors observe in mentees as a result of the relationship. Teachers notice the same improvement.

Improved attendance

Improved eye contact

More volunteering in class

Increased communication

More smiles

Improved interaction with peers

Happier demeanor at school

Improved appearance

Increased consideration for others

Decreased hostility

More enthusiasm

Fewer trips to the principal's office

Reduced detentions

Improved academic performance

Openness to the mentor

Improved self-esteem

Benefits to Mentors

Mentors make a difference in the lives of young people. The one-to-one relationship with an adult provides personal benefits such as:

More satisfaction when they return to the work place

More fulfillment with the commitment as a volunteer in the community

A greater understanding of the education system and education-related issues

Appreciation for students of the same and other cultures

Satisfaction of having impacted the life of another

Types of Mentors

Academic Support Mentors

  • Provide academic support in the classroom by meeting with the mentee at least once a week
  • Help raise the grades and improve the attitude of the student toward school
  • Use effective coaching and teaching skills

Career Mentors

  • Focus on career education with the idea of preparing their mentee for entry into the work world
  • Place emphasis on attitude, preparation and required skills
  • Address the practical application of classroom learning to work situations
  • Bring the mentee into the work place as a part of the process of teaching career related skills
  • Assist with summer job placement and employment after graduation

Role Model Mentors

  • Serve as a positive example
  • Work to increase self-esteem, improve academic skills, provide cultural enrichment, and expand the personal interests and career options of the mentee
  • Help the student to identify priorities and allocate appropriate resources to tasks and obligations
  • Assist with the discipline of accomplishing daily tasks and enhance planning abilities

The Role of a Mentor

Mentor's roles generally fall into two categories:

  1. Helping mentees achieve educational or career goals.
  2. Enhancing mentees' self-confidence and self-awareness.

It is common to hear the mentor described as:

  • teacher
  • trainer
  • sponsor
  • role model
  • advocate
  • opener of doors
  • and, of course, FRIEND

Mentors May Offer Any and All of the Following:

Academic Support: Academic support includes activities, which keep young people in school, and help them graduate by assisting in the evaluation of educational choices and directing them to resources.

Role Modeling: Role modeling involves pointing out, demonstrating and explaining actions and values that offer the best opportunities for success and happiness and helping mentees see and strive for possibilities beyond what they may see in their present environment.

Attention and Concern: Many mentees do not receive enough attention and concern from the adults in their lives. Mentors can fill in these empty spaces with dependable, sincere, and consistent attention and concern.

Accountability: A commitment made to a mentee for a meeting, activity, or appointment should be a mentor's priority, barring emergencies. Consistent accountability builds trust, establishes a positive example (role modeling), and creates constructive mutual expectations.

Listening: Other adults in a young person's life may not have the time, interest, or ability to listen. Mentors can encourage young people to talk about their fears, dreams, and concerns. A mentor may, in fact, be the only adult in the mentee's life that truly listens.

Encouragement: Mentors can help the mentee build self-confidence, self-esteem, and cultural pride by focusing on talents, assets, and strengths.

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What is an effective mentoring relationship? In a recent study, Public/Private Ventures attempted to define effective adult/youth relationships and determine if such relationships do in fact develop in an intergenerational setting.

Based on this study, the following are recommended strategies for interacting with your youth:

  • Understand the youth's reluctance to trust. Many of the young people have been disappointed by previous relationships with adults. It may take a while for the mentee to overcome hesitance and develop trust.
  • View the purpose of this program as that of giving; understand that initially the relationship may be one-directional.
  • Offer reassurance, support, and kindness; show caring for and belief in the mentee. Too many young people rarely hear someone tell them they really care & want to listen with concern.
  • Suggest ways to solve problems. Whenever possible, approach issues and problems in a positive way, building on related strengths that the mentee may have demonstrated. For example, if reading is a problem, start by reading about things of interest to the mentee.
  • Listen carefully and offer possible solutions without passing judgment. Practical suggestions rather than criticism or preaching are most helpful. Try to think of ways together to solve problems rather than lecturing or telling the student what should be done.
  • Help the mentee make the connection between his/her actions of today and the dreams and goals of tomorrow. For example, if the mentee dreams of graduating with classmates, point out how skipping school will affect the chances of completing school on schedule, if at all. Bring in examples of other who have struggled that are real to the student, such as a local hero or community leader.
  • Identify the mentee's interests and take them seriously. Be aware of learning opportunities and "teachable moments." If the mentee expresses an interest in someone or something, no matter how slight, take advantage of the situation and encourage the interest. Over time the mentee may learn to be aware of and creative with his or her own potential. For example, if interest is expressed in a local politician, try to arrange to hear the politician speak or clip news articles about that person for the mentee to read. Think of ways to transform a casual interest into a learning experience using your energy and connections.
  • Do not ask the mentee to discuss personal issues. Delving into the young person's personal or family life, particularly early in the relationship, is usually not productive. The mentee may be ashamed of a poor school performance, a criminal record or abusive family behavior. These topics may be appropriate later when trust has been developed. If there is resistance, do not press; silence does not necessarily mean rejection. It is important not to measure a relationship's success by the extent of the youth's disclosure.
  • On the other hand, the mentee may share a great deal without any prompting or inquiry. You may even be hearing more than you want to know at first, especially about other family members. This is usually more true with pre-teens than mid to older adolescents. Try to determine why this information is being given so early and fully. The mentee may be seeking advice or may just be making conversation. There is also the possibility that the young person is testing to see if you are "shock proof."
  • Have realistic expectations. Mentors may be discouraged when the mentee is not "turning his life around" or making great improvements. Mentors certainly have an impact on youth, but it is unlikely that he or she will be totally transformed by this relationship. There are nonetheless signs of progress. Adjust expectations and understand that the mentee may not always express gratitude directly.
  • Try to relate to the mentee's personal experiences.
  • Attempt to understand the young person's family, social class, and culture.

What Mentors Are Not: There is no expectation that volunteer participants in mentoring programs will take on the role of parent, professional counselor or social worker. However, if at any time your mentee's behavior becomes troublesome or unacceptable, call your Academy contact or mentor coordinator.

Mentoring is not a panacea for all the problems and decisions facing the mentees and their families. The essence of mentoring is the sustained human relationship; a one-on-one relationship shows a student that he or she is valued and important. (Adapted from "Understanding How Youth and Elders Form Relationships: A Study of four Linking Lifetimes Program", Melanie B. Styles and Kristine V. Morrow. Public/Private Ventures (P/PV), June 1992.)

Effective Mentoring Guidelines

  1. Establish a warm, genuine and open relationship that encourages learning.
  2. Keep in frequent contact with student; take the initiative. Don't always wait for students to come to you.
  3. Monitor students' progress toward educational goals.
  4. Establish realistic expectations.
  5. Encourage the student to research possible career paths.
  6. Encourage student to talk by asking open-ended questions.
  7. Let students make their own decisions; assist by listing options.
  8. Focus on student's strengths and potential, rather than limitations.
  9. Let your student know the best place and time to reach you (i.e. work or home).
  10. Keep the atmosphere informal. (A little fun mixed with learning goes a long way.)
  11. Be a good listener. Show a genuine interest in what your student has to say.
  12. Encourage your student to ask questions which he/she might be afraid to ask in a classroom.
  13. Encourage your student to try even when the work appears too difficult. Assist the student with his/her learning activities.
  14. Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know something. Use the opportunity to show your student how to access and use the resources that contain answers.
  15. Above all, be patient. Progress may be slow but try not to get discouraged. Look for small signs of progress (student understands something previously not understood).
  16. Do not tell the student, "I know you can do it because it is easy". Instead, tell the student that it may be difficult, but that you think he/she can do it.
  17. Be aware of cultural differences. A student's avoidance of eye contact with you may not be an indication of a lack of interest or dislike, but rather a cultural response. The student may be embarrassed by the lack of proficiency in a particular subject or may just be shy.
  18. Establish rapport with the mentee's parents. With your student's help, try to determine if you can talk with them.
  19. Contact the Academy staff if your student reaches out to you with problems which require specialized expertise.

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Typically, the relationship goes through three stages; developing trust, reaching goals and ending the relationship.

The Beginning -- Building Trust. Building trust can take weeks, sometimes months. One of the best ways to build trust is to help your mentee accomplish something that is important to him/her. First, a mentor must take the time to identify what is important, then help the mentee look at the goal realistically, breaking it down into small steps and exploring ways of reaching it.

During this phase, you may experience some of the following:

  • Testing: Initially, and particularly if the mentee is from an unstable background where they have been repeatedly disappointed by adults, mentees may go through a testing period. They may be slow to give their trust because they expect the inconsistency and lack of commitment they have received in the past. The mentor's trustworthiness and commitment may be tested for weeks or months. Once the mentor passes the test, the real work of the relationship can begin. Though this difficult state will not occur in all relationships, it is important for you to be prepared, understand, and refrain from personalizing this "test" as much as possible.
  • During the testing phase you may expect mentees to:
    • Miss appointments
    • Fail to return phone calls
    • Make unreasonable requests
    • Display angry or sullen behavior
  • Remember the issue is not whether the mentee likes the mentor, they are protecting themselves from disappointment. From their perspective not having a relationship at all seems better than trusting, and losing someone.
  • Predictability can build trust. Your mentee may come from a family where nothing can be taken for granted:
    • People living in the household may come and go
    • Frequent moves may occur during the course of a year
    • The phone or utilities may be turned off and on
    • Food may be unavailable at times
  • You can help by being consistent. Be on time for meetings, bring promised information and materials, and follow through on all agreements that you make with your mentee.
  • One misstep at this state, though it may seem trivial to you, a responsible adult, can have great importance in a negative sense to your mentee.
  • Confidentiality policies must be clarified and explained to you before you spend one-on-one time with your mentee. The mentee may be unsure whether the feelings and information they disclose to you will be passed on to others (teachers, peers, and family members). At your first or second visit you should:
    • Provide reassurance that you will respect their privacy and treat all conversations and disclosures confidentially. Inform the mentee that if you feel there is danger for the mentees' safety you may want to involve another adult, but assure the mentee you will discuss this first with them before taking this action.
    • “Mentoring kids is like a big puzzle. You have to keep trying things until you find something that works.” One of the best ways to build trust is to help mentees accomplish something that is important to them. First, mentors must take the time to identify mentee goals and interests, then help the mentee look at the goal realistically, break it down into small steps and explore ways of reaching the goal. Building trust takes weeks, sometimes months.

Reaching Goals – The Middle:

Now it is time to identify and work toward some short-term goals. It is important that the mentor has the resources necessary or has access to them to achieve a fit between what the mentee wants to learn/accomplish and what the mentor can teach/share.

This is a time of closeness in the relationship. In general, mentees at this stage will tend to view their mentors as


Someone to talk to

Important in their lives

An advisor


A confidante

A sounding board

Ending the Relationship – When the mentor and mentee move on:

The last stage of the relationship is that of closure: recognizing your successes as well as failures and saying good bye. Help the mentee plan for the future with or without your support. Be clear about your commitment from the beginning. If you choose to support your mentee after your initial "contract" ends that is a bonus for you both. It may be helpful for you to keep a journal from the beginning. Near the end of the program, develop a letter, or have an informal discussion with your mentee about "where we were then and where we are now".

Thank your mentee for the experience, for their willingness and their trust. If you have learned something new, share this with your mentee. Let them know they are valuable contributors to our society.

When Things Aren't Working:

Not all relationships proceed smoothly at this stage for several reasons. It is important to recognize the issues behind the feelings and work towards turning the corner from the testing stage to this stage. Here are some reasons why relationships fail:

  • The match may not be right for either of you
  • Some youth have been so disappointed and damaged by previous experiences they are unable to risk taking advantage of a helping, supportive relationship
  • Some "pairs" get stuck in the testing stage
  • Your mentee may drop out of the program
  • You may feel burdened by the relationship and other commitments
  • You may feel angry or annoyed by your mentee's words or behavior

If you encounter a youth that is unable to trust due to past experience, know that you are not to blame. Ask the program staff for direction and support. Since each relationship is unique, timing and intensity will vary from pair to pair.


Mentors might be helped by some basic problem-solving skills if they get "stuck" with goal setting or finding solutions to problems. For example:

1. Define the problem

  • Be specific
  • Ask questions and observe mentees to understand their view of the problem
  • Get information about the problem
  • Focus on the immediate situation

2. Explore available resources

3. Explore the teen's coping skills

  • What does the teen usually do when he/she has a problem?
  • What has he/she done to solve the problem?
  • What does he/she do when sad or angry?

4. Brainstorm possible solutions/alternatives

5. Evaluate possible solutions and their consequences

6. Choose a plan of action

Help the teen choose one or two possible solutions to try

7. Follow up on the outcome

How well did the plan work?

8. Include business problem solving techniques you have used successfully.

9. In this state, there are several things that you can do to help your mentee achieve small, realistic goals

  • Demonstrate commitment and interest
  • Strengthen your bond with many small successes
  • Continue to work together even if you hit a few "bumps"

Solving Problems versus Giving Advice

Giving Advice - Problems Empowering Youth Solving
Mentee is passive, possibly resistant Mentee actively participates
Cuts off further exploration of the problem Opens lines of communication
Often premature, before you know enough about the issue Eliminates timing problem
Imposes mentor's solution on mentee Ownership of solution belongs to mentee
Discourages self-esteem Encourages self-esteem

When Is Giving Advice Appropriate?

If you are an expert in a particular field, the mentee may benefit from specific knowledge or advice.

If the mentee asks for advice or appears to be "stuck" in the problem solving process, advice is appropriate.

If your mentee asks for your experience in the area, and if you are comfortable sharing your experience, you might offer suggestions, options and why you chose to solve the problem in a particular manner. It is more helpful if you can get the mentee to help brainstorm possible solutions.

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Most people agree that talking and communicating are not the same. You probably learned to talk when you were one or two years old; most people take a lifetime to learn how to communicate. Knowing and using three basic communication skills can help. The skills are:

  • Listening
  • Looking
  • Leveling


Listening does not have to be passive. It can be as active as talking if done correctly. To listen effectively:

Pay attention

  • Try not to think ahead to what you are going to say next
  • Don't interrupt
  • Listen for the feeling underneath the words
  • Keep a clear and open mind, avoid or postpone judging
  • Encourage the speaker to continue or clarify what has been said


People communicate with verbal and non-verbal language. Pay attention to the whole person by doing the following:

  • Watch the speaker's expressions (smiles, frowns, wrinkled forehead)
  • Watch the speaker's body language (crossed arms, wringing hands, looking at watch, leaning away from your, towards you)
  • Make eye contact*
  • Show you are interested, lean forward, move closer*

(* keep in mind that in some cultures, eye contact and moving closer are not always acceptable or comfortable. Make sure you honor personal space and preferences in these areas.)


Leveling means being honest about what you are feeling and thinking. Some tips for leveling:

  • Be honest in your response or disclosure
  • Speak for yourself using "I" statements
  • Accept and/or ask for clarification on the speaker's feelings. Don't try to change the feeling or give advice without being asked and/or before understanding (Bridging the Gap: What's Happening Now, Printed Matter, Inc. Atlanta GA, 19630)

Listening Habits

Good Habits Bad Habits
Opening your mind to new perspectives

Closing your mind before you know the whole message

Listening for understanding, asking for clarification Making assumptions
Getting the message without judging Putting the speaker down
Listening until it is your turn Planning what to say next
Listening for facts, feelings, concepts, main ideas Listening for facts only
Listening for a while to determine speaker's organization and direction Trying to outline or sum up what is being said
Listening rather than pretending to listen Faking attention
Creating a positive, comfortable listening environment Creating or tolerating distractions
Practice listening and trying to understand Tune out or avoid difficult material
Identify words that might cause negative reactions ahead of time Letting a reaction to words used inhibit your ability to listen


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Many mentors will encounter the temptation to go beyond the minimum expectations in their relationships with the students. Please be aware that good intentions can at times backfire. Here are a few warning signs:

  • Your sole responsibility is to your student, not his/her family. Try to exclude family members from your activities except on rare occasions.
  • Short but regular contacts accomplish much more for your student than lengthy but irregular get-togethers.
  • The Partnership Academy's main focus is the academic achievement of the students. While non-academic problems can certainly infringe upon the academic environment, remember mentors are not trained nor expected to be social workers.
  • Judiciously allocate activities that cost money or involve substantial resources (transportation). A year is a lengthy commitment made even longer if you begin too aggressively with such activities. Mentors are not expected to make a large financial as well as personal contribution.
  • Mentors should not be playmates. While many programs concentrate on entertaining activities, the mentor's role is primarily that of a professional role model.
  • Only break a date with your student because of an emergency. Trust will be crucial to your relationship and nothing undermines that trust quicker than broken appointments.
  • Be careful to initially establish guidelines for contacting each other, both too difficult and too easy patterns of communication can breed misunderstandings.
  • Be conscious of goals and accountability in your relationships. You're breaking new ground. Accurate and regular feedback is vital to your evaluation.

When To Ask For Help

  • Mentors are not professional counselors nor are they meant to be. Effective mentors know their limitations, and this knowledge will add to their comfort in this role. There must be adequate staff support so that the mentor can call a staff person in a crisis. The following is a list of situations in which mentors should ask for help immediately:
  • If the mentee begins to talk about life not being worthwhile, appears depressed (looks sad, lacks energy, grades have dropped, cries easily), or talks openly about suicide.
  • If the mentee threatens to kill someone else.
  • If the mentee mentions being either physically or sexually abused.
  • If the mentee begins to "act strange", such as talking without making sense, or mentions hearing or seeing things that are not there.
  • If the mentee begins to "act strange", such as talking without making sense, or mentions hearing or seeing things that are not there.

In addition, the mentor may need help in other areas. These include:

  • Information about resources for the mentee concerning such topics as health care, family planning, vocational training, or financial aid for college.
  • When or if it is appropriate to involve the mentee's family.
  • Concerns about confidentiality.
  • Whenever mentors are feeling "over their heads".

Please remember, contact the Academy staff if you have any concerns related to situations that feel like they are "too much to handle".

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Opening the Door to the Relationship

Warm up Activities:

There is a wide range of activities you can share with your mentee. Individualism and creativity dictate the nature of your activities. It is important to involve your mentee in determining how you can best use your time together. Listen carefully for clues that signal your mentee's interest. Early in the relationship, your student may be shy in divulging his/her interest. In the beginning you may try various things and see how your student responds.

Results oriented projects are important, but early on, when you are establishing the relationship, you may want to plan activities that are recreational and fun.

Social and Emotional Support Activities:

Friendship: Ask your mentee what friendship means. Structure initial activities around showing your mentee you are a friend. For example call just to say "hello," find out your mentee's birthday or if a special event (even a test) is coming up soon. Call or send a note of encouragement and an "I believe in you" message.

Guidance: Find out something your mentee has always wanted to do, or needs help doing. For example, your mentee says "I've always wanted to know about” or "I'm not sure I want to go to college". Guide your mentee towards areas of interest or new horizons and challenges.

Listening: Let your mentee know that you are there to listen. Determine what method is best for communication. It may be difficult to get your student to talk with you. Early on initiate conversation with open ended questions. Try not to ask questions that require "yes", "no", or one-word responses.

Personal Development: Adolescents always need boosts to their self-esteem. Help your student improve his/her posture, dress, and grooming habits. Make personal transformation a project, but only with the student's agreement and always in a positive context.

Help your mentee set goals, and reward him/her for accomplishments. Rewards can simply be praise, or you can plan special outings.

Use the media (television, movies, current news) to help the student improve critical thinking skills. Movies and television are good tools to help you find out what your student is thinking and what is important to him/her. You can also use the experiences of celebrities or movie characters to help problem solve, demonstrate the value of setting and reaching goals, and determining values.

Sharing and Familiarization Activities

Help Mentee Explore Life Options: Help your mentee learn how to use community resources. Explore career or post secondary education options. Visit colleges and trade schools. Introduce your student to co-workers; discuss various fields of interest.

Help Mentee Solve Problems: Help your mentee explore possible options to what he/she feels is a problem situation. Refer the mentee to counselors or community service organizations that might provide assistance. Share personal experiences as a springboard to possible solutions. Remember, problems that seem trivial to an adult are often "end of the world" problems in the mind of a teenager. Don't trivialize or joke about something your mentee expresses as a problem.

Professional Role Model: Expose your mentee to the business environment whenever possible. Use business terminology and techniques. Turn everything into a learning situation with a business focus slant. For example, if your mentee's teacher tells you your student has a habit of being late each morning, explain why that behavior is not acceptable in business. Or if the student shares that seniors cannot agree on their next field trip, suggest team building skills you use in the work place. Practice interviewing skills to help prepare your student for obtaining a job.

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Students can develop the necessary confidence, discipline and academic skills required to become successful in school, work and life. Use your own experience and expertise in helping students in the following areas.

Believe in Yourself:

  • Help students realize that they are solely responsible for their own success.
  • Build an increased self-image and improved confidence level.
  • Help set short and long term goals.
  • Teach students how to recognize accomplishment as part of successes.
  • Teach students how to deal with obstacles that stand between them and the achievement of their goals.
  • Teach students how to recognize negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones.

Focus On Success in School and Life:

Help your student focus on the important role school plays in their lives. Help students improve self-esteem and confidence by success at school. Break down fear of school, success, and failure.

  • Teach students how to deal with institutions as well as personal change.
  • Help students understand the emotional climate of school and peer groups.
  • Help students develop a positive attitude towards school by leaving behind negative experiences associated with education.
  • Help students realize the elements of learning required for success in the work place.
  • Help students develop responsibility, commitment and time management abilities.

Make The Most of Time and Stay On Track:

  • Help students see the benefit of dedicated study time.
  • Provide experiences in using time productively.
  • Help students develop a personal time management system.

So What, Exactly, Can a Mentor Do?

Mentor/mentee time can be spent in any number of ways. Allow for a great deal of flexibility so that you can choose activities that appeal to your student and meet specific scheduling needs.

Suggested Activities:

Job shadow: Have your student follow you around as you perform your work. Or be a student for a day, and follow your student.

Talk: Tell your student those things that you wish you'd known when you were seventeen. You can do this anywhere, anytime -- over lunch, snow boarding (though logistically, this might be difficult), on the phone -- whatever works for you.

Ask Questions: These teenagers, who are so ready to ask questions, need somebody to ask them "what do you want to do with yourself after high school, and what's your plan for getting there?” They'll undoubtedly need help in answering such questions.

Attend recreational or cultural activities: Most students are seldom exposed to enriching activities such as visits to museums, plays, or sporting events. These experiences can pique interest and encourage students to pursue new areas of learning.

Tutor: Mentors should feel free to help students with homework. Getting involved with curriculum is a good way to relate to students, and a good way to gain insight into the education system.

Attend student activities: If your student is involved in extracurricular activities, you may want to attend as a way of showing support.

Do things in groups: Join in activities with other mentors and students. Adult participants are often exceptional people that enjoy meeting and interacting with one another.

Encourage your mentee to set goals and assist her/him in building the skills needed to reach those goals.

Help your mentee keep open the option of college. Make teachers and parents aware of your mentee's desire for college. Raise their expectations for your mentee. Explore with your mentee the world of college, what it looks and feels like to go to college (either two or four year). Explain and demonstrate the benefits of going to college.

Suggestions for What to Talk About

Mentors ask, "What do I have to offer?" The answer: THE WISDOM OF EXPERIENCE. If you've ever said, "If I had only known then what I know now. . .” This is your opportunity to share those gems of wisdom. Students have little idea what the "real world" is like. A mentor can give students insight into the realities of life after high school.

A good first activity is to bring your mentee to work for a day. As the student "shadows" you consider sharing some of the following:

What You Do

  • job description
  • major tasks
  • sub tasks
  • equipment or tools you use
  • description of your typical day

What Your Work Is Like

  • working hours
  • salary range for this type of occupation
  • fringe benefits (health insurance, retirement, credit unions, etc.)
  • working environment (noise, hazards, lighting, indoor/outdoor travel, special clothing, etc.)
  • history of this kind of work
  • what you produce (goods, services)
  • interdependence of your job and other jobs/products/industries
  • where else in the community your kind of work is done
  • government regulations affecting your work

The Future in Your Field

  • degree of opportunity for women and men
  • opportunities for advancement
  • personal qualities needed
  • employment projections
  • effects of technology and new knowledge on your work
  • effects of the country's economic condition on your job
  • hints you would give someone applying for your job
  • other jobs you could do with the same skills

Job Entry

  • how you get started in this job
  • other jobs you have held
  • skills you already had that you use now and how you acquired them
  • your recommendations to others for acquiring these same skills
  • your job as a lifetime career or a stepping stone to something better
  • related jobs for which you are now prepared

How It Feels

  • what you like and dislike about the job
  • what you would change if you could
  • avenues available to you for making suggestions on the job
  • what you would rather do if you're not satisfied
  • interpersonal skills you find most important and why
  • underlying attitudes and values important to your job
  • why you chose this type of work

How it Affects Your Personal Life

  • family time
  • leisure time
  • job-related skills you use elsewhere
  • expanding interests
  • general health
  • tension-fatigue vs. stimulation-fulfillment-increase in energy

Students Often Ask

  • What is an average work day like for you?
  • What did you hate doing that you had to do in order to get where you are?
  • Name the two most important qualities or skills that a person must have to be successful in your field.
  • Which aspects of your job do you like the least?
  • Have you used what you learned in high school on the job?
  • What education is required for someone in your position?
  • Can you describe some related jobs in your field?
  • Did you always know what you wanted to be?
  • What is the salary range for someone in your position?

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Goal: To help your mentee identify personal attributes that foster self-esteem. To help you understand your mentee's perspective, values and attitude towards self.

Materials: The following questions and pencil or pen. There are two ways to approach this exercise:

  • you can interview your student as a "getting to know you" activity; or
  • you and your mentee can both answer the questions and share your responses.

Your job at the completion of this exercise is to view the responses and provide as much positive feedback as possible to your mentee regarding the answers. You might want to respond to your mentee at a later time after you have had a chance to review the responses. If you both complete the questions, you might ask your mentee to tell you which of your responses most surprised or interested him/her and why.

  • What do you think is your greatest accomplishment/personal achievement to date? Why?
  • What do you like most about your family? Why?
  • What do you value most in life? Why?
  • List at least 3 things you are good at.
  • List one thing about yourself you would most like to improve.
  • What is the one thing you would like to be remembered for in life?
  • If your house caught on fire, what material possession would you try and save first? Why?
  • What do your friends most like about you? Do you agree with them? Why? Why not?
  • Who do you most admire? Why?
  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

Values Clarification

Study the values below. Circle the five values most important to you. Then put an “X” next to the five least important to you.

It is valuable to:

  1. Achieve - get things done successfully
  2. Help your fellow man
  3. Be creative - invent new ideas and things.
  4. Be healthy
  5. Be honest
  6. Be fair and just
  7. Be educated – self-betterment
  8. Love
  9. Be loyal to people, ideas and things
  10. Have a strong sense of what is right & wrong
  11. Look good - physical attractiveness
  12. Have fun and pleasure
  13. Be powerful - in control of others
  14. Feel important
  15. Obey and respect God/religion
  16. Be wise, good judgement
  17. Honor your parents
  18. Work hard
  19. Achieve wealth
  20. Stand up for what is right
  21. Fit with others
  22. Take care of your family

Identifying Positive Qualities, Accomplishments and Skills

Goal: To assist your mentee in identifying and appreciating her strengths and personal skills.

Materials: Pen or pencil, writing paper, or you may choose to do this activity as a discussion.

What to Do: Ask your mentee to write three qualities he/she likes about him/herself.

Ask your mentee to write three things he/she has accomplished that were hard for them to do. For example, your mentee may say getting a "B" in an English class or going an entire week without arguing with a sibling. Identify the skills your mentee has which enabled her to achieve these accomplishments. For example, your mentee exhibited patience and self-control by going an entire week without a quarrel.

Have your mentee list three things he/she does that they feel good about. Examples may include playing guitar, working part time after school or training a pet to do tricks.

Help your mentee identify specific ways to build upon these strengths, or additional things they might be good at doing as a result of these skills.

Review the list with your mentee and discuss how her/his qualities and achievements may serve as assets in the future.

Note: When reviewing your mentee's written work, correct only the glaring grammar and spelling errors unless this is the primary purpose of the exercise. Focus instead on the content and learning goals of the activity.

Follow Up:

Have your mentee list one or two adults who like them. Ask your mentee to get a list from these adults of qualities they like about her/him. Discuss and compare the lists to your mentee's own list.

Develop and share lists of things you and your mentee like about one another. Do this on a regular basis, for example, at times of celebration.

Everyday Mentoring:

Every time you meet with your mentee, ask what three things have been accomplished in the past few days. Support and acknowledge these accomplishments in setting and reaching goals.

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Goal: To ensure that your mentee is prepared for and takes the standardized tests necessary for admission to college.

Materials: Schedule for PSAT and SAT exams and preparation materials. (Available at colleges and universities and most high school guidance offices.)

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is an exam that is required for admission to most four-year colleges. The scores on these tests are one of the factors a college considers when examining a student's application and records. This test is normally taken during the junior year and may be taken in the beginning of the senior year.

The PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a practice test that is usually taken in grades 10 and 11 as preparation for the actual test. The PSAT does not become part of the student's permanent record, but it is important that the students have at least one opportunity to practice for the final exam by taking the PSAT.

Be sure that your mentee has the opportunity to practice and prepare. Research shows that test scores increase with the number of times the practice tests are taken.

There are two scores on the test (math and verbal) which combine to a maximum score of 1600 points. The national average is 440 verbal and 480 math. If you are working with an at-risk student you may expect the score to be under this national average, but often students will surprise you. It is important to check with the college your mentee wishes to attend to determine admission criteria used in addition to the SAT scores.

Tests are usually scheduled as follows:


  • Round 1, fall or spring, 10th grade year
  • Round 2, fall or winter, 11th grade year


  • Round 1, spring, 11th grade year
  • Round 2, fall, 12th grade year

What to Do:

  • Talk with your mentee about the tests, explain why they are necessary and what the score means.
  • Visit the school site's counseling office or college guidance center to obtain a copy of the testing schedule and examples of tests.
  • Schedule a time to work through the test and help your student understand the types of questions and skills each section addresses.

Schedule a congratulations activity after the student has taken each test.

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  • To help your mentee become familiar and comfortable with the surroundings of community or four-year campuses.
  • To help your mentee become familiar with curricula, policies, clubs, and opportunities offered at college.
  • To inspire your mentee to pursue college as an option.
  • If your student is not interested in college, apply this exercise to trade or vocational schools in your area.

Materials: College catalogs, maps, and brochures

What to Do:

  • • Review the colleges and universities in your area.
  • • Describe the difference between community college and four-year institutions.
  • • Together, select a college or university to explore.

Option 1 - "Scavenger Hunt"

  • Develop a list of 5- 10 places that may be useful to the student to locate on the campus (i.e., student union, cafeteria, book store, registrar's office, athletic facilities, admissions/financial support office)
  • Visit the campus and locate the areas.
  • Help your student initiate "informational interviews" with students and college personnel. Discuss your mentee's impression of the campus and campus life.
  • Compare and contrast the difference between various campuses you have visited.

Option 2 - College Cuisine

  • Contact the college to find out meal times or cuisine options before your visit.
  • Share a meal on the campus with your mentee.
  • Discuss the differences between the college cafeteria and high school.
  • Discuss the differences in the environment, how students are behaving, what they are doing.
  • Try to engage in conversation with college students; ask them about their likes and dislikes.

Option 3 - Formal Orientation

  • Contact the campus admissions department to determine if there is a college tour or orientation session you can attend with your student. Attend several campus tours and compare the differences.

Option 4 – Internet/CD ROM Virtual Tour – check the high school career center or local library

  • There are many exceptional web sites and career center CD programs that introduce students to colleges across the globe categorized by numerous options including career interests.

College Vocabulary and Study Habits

Goal: To help your mentee become familiar with some of the terms associated with college and higher education.

To help your mentee identify the personal responsibility skills required to succeed in the college environment.

Materials: A list of college vocabulary and a list of needed skills.

Vocabulary List:

Accreditation - Recognition by an official agency that an institution has met certain academic standards.

AFSA Application for Federal Student Aid - The federal form a student must fill out to be considered for federal student aid programs.

Baccalaureate Degree - A degree awarded upon completion of a four-year program of study at college or university level.

Cum Laude - Honors degree. Student must maintain a high GPA to be awarded Cum Laude status upon graduation. A GPA criterion varies from school to school. It's usually in the 3.5 range.

Fellowship - A financial grant given to a student for support of research.

Grant - A financial award granted to student. Not a loan; does not need to be paid back. Grant awards vary (scholastic, hardship, etc.).

Magna Cum Laude - High Honors degree. Student must maintain a high GPA to be awarded cum Laude status upon graduation. A GPA criterion varies from school to school. It's usually from 3.5 to 4.0.

Registrar - The individual at the college responsible for registration, scheduling, and withdrawing of students in classes.

Pell Grant - Uncle Sam's largest grant program, for undergraduate students.

Undergraduate Studies - Students enrolled for completion of an AA, BA, or BS degree.

Graduate Studies - Students enrolled for completion of a master or a doctorate degree.

Syllabus - A summary or outline of a course of study; often listing required text, schedule of assignments and grading system.

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Responsibility Skills: Explain the importance of obtaining and reading the syllabus before the first day of class. Often instructors will assign required reading and/or papers due the first day of class. Make sure your mentee understands that at the college level you are expected to know what is expected, sometimes without being told and always without being reminded.

Also inform your mentee that instructors do not always take roll. Students are paying for an education; it is their responsibility to attend. Some schools will automatically drop students from a course if they miss three classes in a row.

Initiative, Planning and Follow Through: Discuss the importance of the student taking personal responsibility for selecting required classes. Inform the student that selection as well as scheduling of classes taken is her/his responsibility.

Time Management: Explain the importance of planning and time management. Make sure your mentee understands that he/she is personally responsible for balancing her/his study time. Help students pick a schedule that is reasonable. Make sure your mentee understands that taking six classes in college is not the same as having six periods a day in high school.

Materials Management: Make sure your mentee understands that he/she is responsible for the purchase and pick up of all textbooks and other materials. Often this requires placing an order at the time of registration. Make sure your mentee is not embarrassed by showing up at class expecting textbooks, pencils and paper to be handed out as in high school.

College Education and The Link to Career Choices

Goal: To help your mentee in identifying careers of interest and increase her/his awareness of the training and education requirement to pursue each career.

Materials: Copy of The Occupation Outlook Handbook published annually by the U.S. Department of Labor and found at most libraries and career centers.

What to Do:

Talk to your mentee about occupation and careers that are of interest.

Make a list of the type of skills, personality, education required to succeed in these areas.

Introduce your mentee to someone working in the field of interest.

Go with your mentee to the library, or check the Internet, and research the occupation.

College Planning and Placement

Goal: To introduce your mentee to the various careers available within a chosen field of study.

Materials: Writing materials.

What to Do:

Meet with your student and the career planning staff at the high school and/or the college.

Obtain information on career choices.

Look for trends such as degrees that are more flexible in terms of opportunities, majors that offer clearer career paths within a field, and current hiring trends in the field.

Ask for the types of placement services available through the college.

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Section III

The Treasure Chest



Turn students into pen pals. Have students write letters to their mentors frequently. You can make it a regular classroom assignment. It's good business letter writing practice for the students, and their letters are much more personal than the form letters that are sent before events. Mentors enjoy receiving them!

Invite mentors to events. Mentors enjoy attending field trips, project days, team building activities, plays, etc. Invite them to everything. The presence of mentors adds to the educational value of any event.

Organize a Job Forum. A job forum is a great way to publicize your program! Ask 10 mentors or friends of mentors, each representing a different and interesting career, to be panelists on a talk show style "program" with your students as the studio audience. Try to get at least one local celebrity (perhaps a newsperson) to join the panel, and you're almost certain to get some newspaper coverage. Any news coverage will make excellent recruitment material for the future!

Invite mentors to speak to classes. Invite two or three mentors to come to classrooms and talk about their experience as student and career people. Ask them to be candid. The students may begin to see that education actually has RELEVANCE in the real world!

Assign a Call . Ask students to call their mentors. Give them a deadline, and when it has passed, have them write a short paragraph that informs staff about what transpired in their conversations. You may want to give them a specific task such as to schedule a lunch date or to ask their mentors to attend an informal program event.

Send out a Mentor Check-In Form. Periodically, you may want to have the mentors check in, using a prepared form. This is a good way to keep track of the mentor/mentee goings on when you're too busy to do it any other way.

Have Mentor Mixers . Occasionally, you may want to plan an informal social event for mentors, WITHOUT STUDENTS. These events are enjoyable and valuable. The mentors get to know one another, and they plan to pair for outings with their mentees. Mentors also seem to appreciate the opportunity to socialize and network.




Dear Academy Parents:

Hello! It's been a month and a half now, and I can say without reservation that this year's Academy students are the best yet. I am thoroughly enjoying having them in class.

As you probably know, every junior will be paired up with a business mentor. Each mentor is to serve as a professional role model during the school year, listening to and encouraging his or her student -as much as possible. Mentors may choose to take their students to the job site, to lunch, to a baseball game or play - whatever seems appealing and beneficial to both parties, and is acceptable to you. The overall purpose of the Mentor Program is to show our students the real world applicability of academics. We try to draw connections between what we teach in our classrooms today and what our students will be doing in the not-too-distant future.

Our mentors come to us highly recommended by various locally based businesses, including ________________(list your partners). They are a diverse group, representing a vast array of occupations. Eager to share insight and experience with his or her "mentee", each mentor will spend approximately 1 - 2 hours a month with a student.

You can expect a phone call from your student's mentor after the Mentor Match Up Event on October ____. We have asked that mentors call their student's parents during the last two weeks of October.

We feel extremely fortunate to have such qualified, committed people participating in our program, and we are very excited about the events of the upcoming year. If you would like additional information about the Mentor Program, please feel free to call me anytime at (phone) _______________. I look forward to meeting all of you at Back to School Night.

Very truly yours,

Academy Mentor Coordinator

"Hey - when do I get to meet my mentor?

Do we have to wait that long?"
(The above is practically all we've heard from our students who
have yet to be matched with their mentors. They can't wait to meet you.)


Mentors' Morning


Please join us on


Come to __________________________________(school)

From 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. for

A brief orientation of the Mentor Program

Breakfast with mentors and mentees

A chance to meet and chat with your mentee

We look forward to having you join us.

Please call at ______________ ext. _________


to let us know if you can come.



'Twas the week before Winter Break,

and all through the school,

not one Academy student broke even one rule.

The classrooms were stocked

with bagels and such,

awaiting the mentors who the kids like so much.

They spoke not a word,

but went straight to their work (teacher faints),

because the upcoming Mentor Breakfast

was a fabulous perk.

And as they sealed invitations

right there at my desk,

each one told the others,

"Ally's mentor's the best. "

Their eyes, how they twinkled!

Their outlooks, how merry.

They began to show promise

we teachers see rarely.

They had set some goals

and, of course, some objective.

They saw purpose in school,

and not only electives.

And when asked what gift

would make their holidays

they replied, "We'll ask mentors

to come, if we may.

So it isn't, apparently,

tinseling trees,

but being with mentors

that brings hope to these.

– Lisa Vujovich

Come Deck our Halls!

Join us for Breakfast

_____________________________________(Date and time)

The entertainment is in its rough edge, planning stages, but it has great promise.

Unlike Santa, we can't see you when you're working, or know when you are free. So, let us know if you can come. Please RSVP at _________________________(phone)





Dear Mentor:

Happy New Year! I hope that the holidays were wonderful for you. While the end of two peaceful weeks of leisure elicits heavy sighs from the Academy teachers, it is extremely good to return to our students.

Thank you for coming to our kick-off event. What a way to begin the holiday break! The students and the staff all feel that the event was very successful, and we credit that success to all of you. You cannot know how much your time and interest mean to the students. Again, thank you.

Some of you may be wondering where to go from here. We invite you to go to lunch . ___________ (date) is our Student-Mentor Calendar Luncheon. We will be dining on yard-long sandwiches (students' choice) as students and mentors chat, match their calendars and do some planning. The afternoon also promises a mean game of Stand-up Pictionary. If you've never played, rest assured, the students will teach you.

The event will begin at __________________(time) at ____________________High School

Just follow the signs from the Main Office. Please call me as soon as possible if you cannot attend. I will arrange for your student to call you so that you can touch base and perhaps make plans over the phone.

If you have any questions, please call me at ______________(phone).

We are all looking forward to seeing you again.


Mentor Coordinator



_______________________________________ Academy

_________________________(Telephone #)

Dear__________________________________(student's name)

I would like to have you job shadow me on__________________________(date)

Please call me at _________________________to make arrangements.

(Phone number)

I cannot invite you to work with me because:

Please call me at __________________________to set up another time to get together.

(Phone number)

Specific Message:

Very truly yours,





Dear Mentors:

Our juniors have had such a wonderful time Job Shadowing you! They have learned so much, and have gained new perspective on the post-high school world, and the value of academics. Experiences like Job Shadowing offer students a meaningful view into what could be. Thank you so much for opening the adult world to your mentees.

Now it's our turn. We'd like to open the high school to all of you. During the month of ____________, you're invited to SHADOW YOUR STUDENT. Our students are really excited at the prospect of being your hosts, so come and be a student for a day. I think what you see and hear will surprise you!

Please let us know when to expect you. Academy classes meet on _____________________ so you may want to plan to attend then.

Please call to let us know when you are coming at ______________________(phone)

We look forward to hearing from you!

Very truly yours,

Mentor Coordinator


It takes an entire village to educate a child
An African Proverb




Thank you for agreeing to take part in the Job Forum at _____________________High School.

We developed the Job Forum concept because our students, while very bright, often lack the motivation to achieve all that they're capable of in school. Exposure to people who work in the "real" world motivates students to take school very seriously, as they realize that at some not too far off point they will actually apply what they've learned. As students begin to see practical applications for academics, school begins to rise on their priority lists. We want our students to start looking ahead. As teachers, we can tell them that until we're blue in the face (and we do, believe me), but it has far greater impact when it comes from somewhere beyond the cyclone boundaries of our school. That's where you come in.

We invite you to give our students a taste of post-high school reality. You will be one of eight to ten panelists, each of a different background. The forum will be organized in casual, talk show style. Your audience will be the Academy juniors. The format is as follows:


We would like you to introduce yourself, stating the basics, which, for our purposes, include the following:

  • Name:
  • Profession:
  • BRIEF statement indicating how you ended up where you are (the idea at this point is to captivate a bunch of sixteen and seventeen year olds -- not necessarily to inform).

This should take roughly three to five minutes per person.

Individual Questions

Once the audience has "met" each panelist, students will ask specific questions. These will include (but are not limited to - i.e. expect the unexpected) the following:

  • What is an average work day like for you? Describe one.
  • What did you dislike doing that you had to do in order to get where you are?
  • Name the TWO most important qualities or skills that a person must have to be successful in your field.
  • Which aspects of your job do you like the most, the very least?
  • Have you used what you learned in high school on the job?
  • What education is required for someone in your position?
  • Can you outline some related jobs in your field?
  • Did you always know what you wanted to be?
  • What is the salary range for someone in your position?

Ever said, "I wish I'd known then what I know now?” Please use this opportunity to share those gems of wisdom. The previously listed questions are intended only to guide you, and should not limit your creativity or keep you from covering what YOU believe is most important.

Interest Groups

Panelists will be paired up and will meet with groups of eight to ten students to answer more specific questions. The Academy teachers will help to facilitate this activity. We expect that it will take about fifteen to twenty minutes.


The Job Forum will begin promptly at _____________(time) on __________________ (date)

Please arrive at______________________ High School (directions enclosed) no later than_____

You will need to check in with________________________________________________

Please call me with any questions or concerns. You can reach me at school at _______________.

Last year's juniors walked away from the event more than a little bit inspired, and with a greater sense of direction. Again, thank you for choosing to be part of our program.

Very truly yours,

Mentor Coordinator



8:00 AM Student video crew meet in the video lab to prepare for filming.

8:15 AM Panelists and forum staff meet in conference room for coffee.

8:30 AM All other juniors (the studio audience) in room _____.

There are handouts to go over with students

Tell students that Channel ____ will probably be here.

Tell students to use 3x5 cards to communicate with teachers, if necessary.

8:40 AM Call room _____ and send for studio audience.

8:45 AM Call the office and send for the panelists.


Job Forum--Studio Audience Instructions

As you know, you will be GRADED for your "performance.” Remember - these people are here for you! You can determine what they talk about. How? ASK QUESTIONS!

Asking questions. Raise your hand, and when you are recognized, IMMEDIATELY stand up. Speak loudly and clearly. By the way, there is no such thing as a stupid question. (Anyone who asks four or more questions will earn an A. 3, a B, and so on.)

What do you ask? Listen to each of the panelists introduce himself/herself. When you hear someone say something that is interesting to you, ask more about it. DON'T HOLD BACK! Don't ask ordinary, dull questions. Ask what you really want to know. (I suggest using a pad of paper to jot things down as they come to you.)

Include every panelist. How would you feel if you were a panelist, and nobody asked you a single question? PLEASE-be sensitive. If you see that a panelist is being ignored, try to think of something - ANYTHING - to ask!

Here are some question ideas if you're stuck - but I'd prefer that you use your own!

  • What is an average workday like for you? Describe one.
  • What did you HATE doing that you had to do in order to get where you are?
  • Which aspects of your job do you like the very best, the very least?
  • Have you used what you learned in high school on the job?
  • What education is required for someone in your position?
  • Did you always know what you wanted to be?
  • What is the salary range for someone in your position?





Job Forum Panelists:

Thank you so much for coming to __________________High School and sharing your advice and expertise. Hopefully you could tell by the expressions on our students' faces that they were absolutely enthralled. Each one of you inspired the kids in a different and unique way. You will probably never know the depth of your influence. I'd like to give you an idea, though, so at the risk of epitomizing your old English teachers, I'll recount for you a portion of a discussion that the class had the day following the Forum. We were dissecting the following quote from J. D. Salinger's, A Catcher in the Rye:

"You know what Id like to be? “ I said, "You know that song, 'If a body catch a body comin' through the rye?' It's a poem by Robert Burns ... Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around --nobody big, I mean---except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff --I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy”.

After reading and guessing at the meaning of this quote, one student raised his hand and said, "It's gonna sound funny, but weren't the job forum people sort of like Catchers?” We waited, and another student's hand went up.

"Yeah. Like we're the kids and the future is the big scary cliff that we don't even really know we're on the edge of..." Her voice faded, and student #3 took over.

"And so they're trying to say that we need to walk carefully NOW so that we don't fall off later."

"Yeah, yeah!" was the collective reply.

I was impressed. They get smarter every day.

Please enjoy the students' letters (Unedited, by the way. The "middle man" was eliminated by majority vote.).

Thank you again for your time and inspiration. I hope that you'll consider participating in the Forum next year. We would love to have you visit again.

Very truly yours,

Mentor Coordinator




Students will:

Identify two possible career choices.

Identify entry level, technical level, and professional level positions in these two career areas. Identify two post-secondary institutions that offer programs for each of these career areas

  • Entrance Requirements
  • How apply for admission, due dates for applications
  • Testing Dates for admission, placement tests
  • Scores required on SAT or ACT for admission
  • Cost of education at this institution
  • Living arrangements possible
  • Transportation
  • Environment of school: size of school, extra curricular opportunities, private, religious, public school, commuter or residential school, etc.
  • Environment of the geographical area: climate, things to do, work opportunities, is family there, etc.

Create a plan for each of these career areas that will achieve student goals.

Research scholarship and financial possibilities.



Students and mentors should go over the following questions together:

  1. What are some aspects about your personality that should be considered when choosing a career area for yourself?
  2. What are the factors that you consider important when choosing a career (i.e., money, time, education, job functions, geographic location, etc.)?
  3. Choose three occupational areas of interest
  4. Identify the factors that made these areas interesting to you (i.e., you like working with people, you like a fast pace, you like managing finances and records, you like to draw, you like the technology, etc.)
  5. What level of employment is your ultimate career goal? Where do you want to be when you are at the top of your career?
  6. What level of employment is your first career goal (i.e., do you want to first aim towards a beginning or technical level job and continue your education while you work? Or do you want to complete your education first and enter your career at a higher level?)
  7. How many years of education and how much expense are you and your family willing and/or able to contribute towards your education- Will you need a job?
  8. At this point, do a realistic evaluation of your own ability and willingness to proceed with the plan you have formulated thus far. If you have any doubts, go back and start at the beginning to determine where you might need to alter your answers and your plan.
  9. Choose two careers that meet all of the parameters that you have determined are important to you and explain why you chose them- These will be the careers for which we research colleges and scholarships and apply for entrance in the fall. Please discuss this in depth with your family before making this selection.



Dear Mentors,

This year, your input suggested that you wished to focus this year's mentor program on trips to colleges, universities, and various career-related sites. It was also decided that rather than group specific mentors with specific students, we would have a somewhat less restrictive relationship this year -- all students would belong to all mentors, and visa versa. Mentors and students sign up to attend the scheduled events. On the date of each trip, each mentor will be assigned a group of students to mentor through the experience and be available for questions, point of view, friendship, and just to enjoy the experience with the students. This decision was made for several reasons:

  • All students will have an opportunity to benefit from the nurturing and expertise of all mentors. Their individual, unique personalities, goals, and needs will be better served by access to such a variety of adults and resources.
  • All mentors will have an opportunity to enjoy relating to all students. In the matching-up that we have done in the past, we have tried to link interests, hobbies, background, etc., but it is by no means perfect. We are well aware that sometimes the relationship just doesn't work. Hopefully, specific mentoring relationships will develop, but they will develop by choice and not by assignment.
  • While we all try to attend all meetings, priorities sometimes take precedence. With this arrangement, individual students and mentors will not feel rejected or angry due to a no-show. There is a role for all persons, but the role exists only if you are there and for that day.
  • Focusing on trips to places of interest is a fun way to meet the immediate needs and interests of the students and to foster a mentoring relationship in a non-threatening, enjoyable way.
  • The legal requirements for a one-on-one or even a several-on-one volunteer relationship with students are becoming overwhelming. The mentors at the September meeting decided that those requirements might just be a bit much for our current and prospective mentors.

The following is a beginning list of field trip sites and dates. If you have additional trips that you would like us to consider, please let me know. We will be providing school buses for all of these events -- not exactly limo quality or comfort, but they do get us there at a reasonable cost.

Please call and let me know which trips you are able to attend. I look forward to a great year!


Mentor Coordinator



E-mail mentoring has become one alternative to the face-to-face model that has been the prevalent format in most programs. E-mail mentoring provides an alternative to programs that are having great difficulty recruiting mentors due to a lack of industry in the local community or for other reasons.

Students can be given access to specific e-mail addresses to be accessed through a school computer lab that has been specially formatted for this purpose. Mentors can send E-mail messages to this computer lab address to be accessed when Academy students are scheduled for that lab.

Students and Mentors should meet, one-on-one, at least three times during the school year. There should be a matching event, a mid-year event, and a closing event. Without the person to person contact, the relationship loses its reality and value. This also gives the mentor coordinator an opportunity to help launch and maintain a positive relationship.

Screening mentors is just as important, if not more so, with e-mail mentoring as with the traditional person-to-person mentoring. At least when the mentors are present, the mentor coordinator and teachers can view the interactions. With e-mail mentoring, there is little or no control over the communication content. Therefore, follow-up with students and mentors is essential. Parental involvement is also wise.

It should be stressed that this is not the mentor program format of choice, but if an in-person one-on-one mentoring program is not possible, e-mail mentoring provides students with an alternative that meets some of the objectives of the mentoring experience.



This form is for documentation and follow-up, to be processed by Mentor Coordinator.



Home Address______________________________________________

Home Phone________________________________________________

Brief description of services to be performed:

Participation in the Mentor Program which may include field trips to sites of interest, assistance with school-related projects, career related research, attending conferences and other career-related events with students, and other events as planned in the Mentor Program.

Staff contact: __________________________________________________

________TB test submitted. Valid through __________________________

________DMV report and "Volunteer Use of Vehicle" form submitted (if required)

________Vehicle Inspection completed. Date_____________ (if required)

________________________________ ____________________
Principal's Approval Date





________Fingerprint Card Submitted

________ Background Check Completed

Note: Volunteers may not provide services until this form is completed and on file in the principal's office.



Volunteer Information Form

Must be completed to show basic mentor data and mentor program activities:

Fingerprinting Information

Please arrange to have your fingerprinting at:

Address: __________________________________

Times: ____________________________________

Cost: _____________________________________

Please bring Photo ID.

Bring fingerprint card to Mentor Program Coordinator to be sent to the Department of Justice for background check.

Driving Record: Volunteers who will be driving students will please provide:

DMV printout of your driving record. The cost is usually $5.00.


Complete "Volunteer use of Vehicle form".

Provide proof of insurance (card or policy).


Automobiles must be inspected for safety. The district will provide this inspection.

Tuberculosis Clearance:

Volunteers must provide proof of TB clearance. The TB test must be within 60 days of volunteering. Once the test is completed, it is valid for four years.

Other Clearances:

A comprehensive listing of known sex-offenders will be checked.


Volunteer Use of Vehicle on School Business

School___________________________________ Date_____________________

The high school district recognizes the importance of out of classroom learning experience and encourages educational study trips. The district will continue to make every effort to provide transportation whenever possible, but there are times when vehicles and/or personnel are not available. At these times, we do ask volunteers to help provide transportation.

Name of Driver: ______________________________________________________

Registered Owner of Automobile: ____________________________________

Auto Insured by (Company): ____________________________________________

Minimum Liability Insurance

Bodily Injury - $50,000/$100,000 yes____ no____ amt.____

Property Damage - $25,000 yes____ no____ amt.____

Medical - $2,000 per person yes____ no____ amt.____

Drivers License #: ____________________expiration date______________

Make/Model of Vehicle: _________________license no.________________






Telephone No.


Proof of Insurance Provided: Date: __________________

Vehicle Inspection by Mechanic: Date: ____________ Inspected by: ___________



It's 8:00 a.m.

The bell just rang. Your locker's jammed. And your hair looks funny .

Remember what high school was like?

It hasn't become any easier. In fact, students today are struggling more than ever. Our schools can no longer afford counselors, so students are left, in essence, to fend for themselves. Sure, answers to questions about careers and colleges are available to students, but some of them don't know which questions to ask. And rarely do they see the relevance of what's being taught in their classrooms. As our public education system is granted less and less money, more and more of it is spent “policing” students - i.e. forcing them to stay on a campus where they don't want to be. So there they are, often without the support of a stable family, in a system that seems a shambles, learning things that seem useless and irrelevant ... it's no wonder they so often ask, “What's the point?”

________________High School's__________________ Academy program has set out to illustrate “the point.” Our goal is to show students real world applications for what they learn in school. We want to send them into the post high school world PREPARED -- sharp, marketable, and directed. The first step is to make them believe that they can. An essential component is a professional role model. We call them mentors. And that's where you come in.

We are looking for professionals who remember what high school was like. We are looking for people who care about the future. All that is required is openness, interest, and one or two flexibly scheduled hours a month. Ever said, “If I'd only known then what I know now?” This is your opportunity to share those gems of wisdom. There are _____ wonderful juniors in our Academy who anxiously await their mentors. We welcome you to be among them.

INTERESTED? Please come to a BRIEF informational meeting




On (date)_________________at (time)________________


Questions? Call_______________________________


(Phone #)____________________



The mentor program is designed to generate enthusiasm among students, teachers, and industry volunteers alike. Employees at local industries are paired with 11th grade students for a relationship that has two primary purposes:

  • To give the students a professional role model and a “friend in the industry” whom they can approach for information and guidance concerning their career paths.
  • To give industry employees an understanding of what goes on in the academy and a chance to contribute to the educational program.

Typical activities for mentors are as follows:

  • Touring the student's school and learning about the Academy
  • Touring the mentor's company, introducing the student to co-workers, showing him/her typical work areas and jobs, inviting the student to special company activities (such as presentations, picnics, sports activities)
  • Engaging in a Community Service Project together
  • Researching post-secondary education opportunities
  • Discussing potential careers
  • Working on a project together (science experiments, research, etc.)
  • Visiting another site of interest, such as another company, a jobs fair, a technical show, or a local college
  • Working on a subject area in which the student is having difficulty (tutoring is not a required activity, but an option if activity interests both parties)
  • Discussing basic features of work, such as punctuality, reliability, dress, speech, attitude, getting along with co-workers and supervisors
  • Preparing students for interviews for summer jobs, and maintaining contact to discuss problems that may arise on the job

The academy will provide mentors with an orientation to the program, an explanation of the mentor selection criteria and the mentor-student match-up, information on what mentors can expect of the program and vice versa, and activities that might be popular with students and mentors. In addition, we will schedule several fun events throughout the year for mentors, students, staff, and parents.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact: _____________________________



______________________________Mentor Program

_______________________________High School

Name: ________________________________________________________________________

Title: _________________________________________________________________________

Company Name & Address: ______________________________________________________




Phone/Fax: ________________________________ Email: _________________________

Home Address: _________________________________________________________________




Home Telephone: _______________________________________________________________

Please note to which address you wish to have mail sent.

Education: _____________________________________________________________________



Hobbies/Interests: ______________________________________________________________




Any additional information you would like to add: _____________________________________




Thank you for participating in our program!



____________________________Mentor Program

_______________________________High School



I understand that it will be necessary for the__________________________ Academy of

___________________High School to investigate my background. I hereby give my consent for this information exchange and authorize the release of any information requested by the Academy.

I understand that the agencies to be contacted may include employers, courts, police, social services, and any other person or agencies with which I have had contact.


Signature of mentor






Name _____________________________________________Male Female ______

Home phone: _____________________________Work phone: ________________________

1. What were your favorite subjects in school?




2. What were your least favorite subjects in school?




3. Do you know any foreign language? yes no

if yes, which ones: _________________________________________________________

speak ________write________

4. What are your interests, hobbies, and/or sports activities?





5. Which days are you most available to spend time with a student?

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

6. Any student preferences? (e.g. ethnicity, interests, career focus, other)





7. To help us match you to a student, please supply the following information about yourself:

Music: I play:


I listen to:


Artistic: what areas?


Athletic: I play:


I watch:


8. Describe your current job responsibilites:






9. List current and past work experience:





10. What inspired you to become a mentor?







Name _____________________________________________Male _____Female_____

Home phone: _____________________________Other phone: _____________________

1. What are your favorite subjects in school?




2. What are your least favorite subjects in school?




3. Do you know, or are you learning a foreign language? yes______ no______

if yes, which ones: _________________________________________________________

speak______ write_______


4. What are your interests, hobbies, and/or sports activities?





5. Which days are you most available to spend time with a mentor?

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

6. Any preferences? (e.g. ethnicity, interests, career focus, other)





7. To help us match you to a mentor, please supply the following information about yourself.

Music: I play:


I listen to:


Artistic: what areas?


Athletic: I play:


I watch:


8. Describe your current activities outside of classes (job, babysitting, church, volunteer work, clubs, etc.):






9. What are you considering as a career for yourself?





10. What inspired you to enter the academy?








Reviewer Recommendation:

Weekly phone contact ____ Job Shadow _____School Shadow _____Tutoring in_______

School Project (describe)____________________________________________________

Monthly meetings ______ College Preparation______ Home visit _____ E-mail________

Social Activity (describe)____________________________________________________

Other (specify): ___________________________________________________________



Action Taken (mentor/mentee/teacher contacts, training, counseling, referrals).

Contact teacher for follow up with student__________

Contact mentor to discuss recommendations___________

Contact mentor coordinator for information____________

Meet with mentor, student, and teacher to plan activities/address issues______________

Rematch mentor/student________________

Other or describe above in detail: (specify):




Follow Up (further actions needed, recommendations implemented, improvements made):




Reviewer Initials: __________________ Date: ______________Follow-up date: _________



Mentor: ____________________________Job Title:_________________________


Student: __________________________Class: ________________________

Date: ____________________________

As a mentor my goal is: __________________________________________________________


As a mentee my goal is: __________________________________________________________


Our goals for working together this year are: ________________________________________________________________



At the completion of the school year, __________________________________will be able to:

Do: __________________________________________________________________


Know: __________________________________________________________________


Be More Aware Of: ____________________________________________________________


Some specific activities to accomplish these goals are: __________________________________


We will measure these results by: __________________________________________________


We will meet on ________________to evaluate our progress toward these goals.


We will call each other on _______________ at ____________ for ______________
  Day of the Week   Time   Times per month




Planning Your Mentorship:

You have goals for this experience, so perhaps the student mentee does, too. They may be quite different. The challenge is for you and the student to plan an experience that reaches both sets of goals.

Mentorship activities can be flexible, but they are more successful when mentors and mentees have something to work on together; it gives them more direction. Completing the student/mentor contract gives you a tangible focus for the relationship.

Examples of goals for mentees are:

  • Learn specific skills. Example: "I want to know how to write a business letter, or how to use the main branch of the public library."
  • Gain an overview of careers. Example: "I want to learn more about careers in business education, science, engineering, health, law, banking, law enforcement, social services, television, theater, military, and/or accounting.” “I would like to gain an understanding of what an accountant or engineer does day-to-day and what skills and training are required."
  • Improved personal growth. Example: "I hope to become more comfortable in communication with adults.” “I will improve my study habits; will complete all homework and turn it in on time, will spend time reading for an hour and not watch TV…”

Examples of goals for mentors are:

  • Help the mentee grow/learn in specified ways. Example: Help the mentee gain confidence in his/her abilities. Teach the mentee about mentor's work or work in another field.
  • Help mentee to explore the career field of their interest
  • Introduce mentee to post-secondary education options
  • Help mentee explore scholarship and financial aid options for college
  • Help mentee qualify for a better paying job or a job in the career focus area
  • Assist mentee to improve in specific learning or study skills
  • Introduce mentee to new cultural experiences

Measurements might include:

  • Mentee improves his/her grades due to learning and study skills we addressed
  • Mentee can make informed career decisions based on research and knowledge about career options
  • Mentee engages in two or three job interviews and feels more confident with each one
  • Mentee attends a ballet, opera, and museum event with mentor this year


MENTOR ACTIVITY REPORT: (month/year) _______________________________

Mentor name: ____________________________ Phone: ___________________

Student: _________________________________

Instructions: Please complete this Activity Report within ten working days and return to the Academy Mentor Coordinator. This information will be used to monitor mentor-mentee relationships, provide assistance and plan program activities. If you have any questions please call ______________________.

Issues of a confidential nature should not be addressed on this form. Please contact the Mentor Coordinator at _____________for information and/or assistance.

Number of Phone Contacts: Week 1______ Week 2______ Week 3______ Week 4______

Number of Personal Contacts: Week 1_____ Week 2______ Week 3______ Week 4______

Total number of hours spent this month on mentoring activities: ________________

1. Please describe any activities you and your mentee have been involved in this month (i.e.; school projects, tutoring, field trips, college preparation, job and school shadowing, home visits, parent conferences, social activities, goal setting, etc.).






2. Please describe any significant accomplishments made by your mentee this month (i.e., improved grades, school attendance, time management skills, improved attitude, self-esteem and confidence, increased communication with adults and/or willingness to accept responsibility, new experiences and challenges).





3. Please describe any issues, problems or questions you would like assistance with (communicating with your mentee, tutoring strategies, confronting negative behaviors, assistance with career development, building self-confidence.).






4. Please provide any additional comments or suggestions: