FORUM: How does your program prepare youth for the mentoring experience?

yb_studentsMentoring programs always place a premium on the training of mentors. After all, these are the individuals who deliver the essence of the program: a caring, meaningful relationship.

But that relationship involves two people and it seems that properly preparing young people for the mentoring experience should have just as much impact on how their time with their mentor plays out. I’m often struck by thinking back to my own childhood and visualizing what it would have been like to have a mentor—a stranger at that—thrust into my life. I know that I would have had a thousand questions and concerns (as would my mom).

So how does your program prepare youth for the mentoring experience? What does your program offer in terms of orientation, materials, and skill-building? What concepts do you emphasize? There are so many ways to approach this and I’m curious to see the diverse strategies your programs employ. For example, YouthBuild USA uses a custom Ready for Mentoring guidebook for students, along with four hours of training, while also providing parents and other adults with a separate guide to supporting the relationship.

Feel free to share your mentee training strategies in the comment section below. Tell us what makes your approach effective or unique!

[Photo courtesy of YouthBuild USA]