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Resources for Potential and Current Mentors

For Potential Mentors:

Are you ready to become a mentor in your community?  Please visit our "Become a Mentor" webpage to search our interactive map of certified mentoring programs to find an opportunity in your region.  We also encourage you to complete our online Become a Mentor form.  Once submitted, staff members at the Iowa Mentoring Partnership will directly refer your contact information to the certified mentoring programs in your community.  You can also search for certified mentoring programs by county in our online directory of programs. 

Why Mentoring?

Benefits of mentoring to the mentee: 

  • Increases student academic success
  • Improves interpersonal relationships with peers, teachers and family
  • Experience greater self-confidence, self-esteem and motivation to succeed
  • Reduces risk that young people will begin using illegal drugs and alcohol
  • Reduces risk that young people will skip school

Benefits of mentoring to the mentor:

  • Increases community involvement
  • Realize they can have a positive impact in the life of a young person
  • Make a new friend
  • Gain new knowledge of youth

Tips for becoming a successful mentor:

  • Be a friend, but do not be afraid to exercise authority, if needed 
  • Define the time that you plan to spend with your mentee and  do not feel obligated to spend more time than you planned
  • Communicate regularly with the parents of your mentee.  Always let them know, in advance, your plans for the day and if necessary, be sure to obtain their permission for specific activities
  • Have modest expectations - do not focus upon changing your mentee's life; feel successful if you can make the child feel a little better about him/herself.  Concentrate on these small successes, instead of expecting a miraculous change
  • Do not give up too soon.  Some children and youth take a while to warm up to new adults, but hang in there and continue to meet consistently with your mentee.  Once the child understand that you are there to stay, he or she might start to respond

For Current Mentors:

Congratulations!  By volunteering as a mentor in your community, you have taken an important step toward becoming a positive role model in the life of one of our youngest Iowans in need.  The time that you spend with your mentee also serves as an important investment in his or her future.  While mentoring does not always garner immediate results, we hope you will remember to celebrate even the smallest signs of success with your mentee.  While it might not always feel like it, you are making a difference!

Signs of success:

  • More smiles
  • Improved eye contact and appearance 
  • More participation in the classroom and improved interaction with peers
  • Increased consideration of others
  • Decreased hostility
  • Increased enthusiasm toward upcoming mentoring meetings 
  • Less time in the principal's office or detention
  • Improved grades or attitude toward school
  • Increased confidence and/or expression of thoughts and feelings

Recognize small (but important!) signs of success

  • An enthusiastic greeting from your mentee
  • A ready smile
  • A growing investment in the relationship (i.e. helping plan upcoming mentoring meetings)
  • An introduction to your mentee's friends or teachers

Activity Suggestions for Mentors and Mentees:

  • Make a greeting, get-well or holiday card to give to share with family members or to donate to a local nursing home or community center
  • Complete a "Getting to Know You" Survey: http://www.mentormap.org/tools/documents/GettingtoKnowYou.pdf
  • Ask your mentee what she is looking forward to most during the school year and to describe the one thing she most wants to accomplish. Tell her what you want to accomplish during the same period
  • With older mentees, try sharing more mature reading materials like newspapers, magazines and chapter books.  Readingaloud increases listening comprehension and vocabulary skills.  Ask your mentee's teacher or school librarian to suggest books and magazines that are appropriate for his or her age group
  • Create an  imaginary time capsule.  What would each of you want future generations to know?  Pick a place to bury or hide the time capsule and decide when it should be opened
  • If your mentee is new to the school, talk about what is different and what is the same.  Share your own experiences with new schools and settings
  • Research and talk about famous people who used their abilities to get ahead
  • Ask about the career goal of your student. What do they hope to be and how did they make that choice? Tell your student about your work and how you reached your position
  • Bring a card or a small cake to celebrate your student's birthday.
  • Read for information.  Read maps, graphs, charts and recipes together or consider learning how to read a bus schedule
  • Initiate a discussion about dream vacations.  Describe your dream vacation and ask your student to do the same
  • Teach a skill such as sewing, embroidery, painting, model building or wood working
  • Play games like chess, dominoes, cards and SCRABBLE
  • Take turns reading aloud with your mentee.  Remember that literacy is more than just being able to read and write. It is the ability to understand and communicate information and ideas by others and to others clearly and to form thoughts using reason and analysis
  • Build or buy a kite with your mentee and then learn to fly it together
  • Research political positions and candidates who will be on the ballot during upcoming elections.  Talk with older mentees about the importance of voting and describe your experiences
  • Play learning and literacy games on a computer 
  • Play a musical instrument or talk about your favorite types of music.
  • Exchange photos of family, house, or pets.
  • For older students, help them study for their driver's license, review job opportunities in the want ads, or fill out college applications together.

*Source: "GRIP Mentoring Program" mentor handbook and "Youth Works" website.  Please visit www.yss.ames.ia.us and http://www.youthfriends.org for more information.

"Preparing My Mentor For Me:" 

Dr. Weinberger, often referred to as, "Dr. Mentor" has written a book that she hopes will better prepare mentors to enter a mentoring relationship.  We encourage both new and established mentors to take a moment to browse through the links below for helpful tips and information.

The Power of Word of Mouth:

Research suggests that 96% of mentors would recommend mentoring to others - if you are one of these people - please ask your friends, co-workers and family members to get involved with a mentoring program in their area.

We consistently hear that the best method to recruit new mentors is to ask current mentors to spread the word to their friends and family.  Tell a friend about the great experience you're having as a mentor.  Share with him or her what you have learned, how you have grown and the way you and your mentee have overcome challenges.  Then, invite them to become part of this great experience!

Iowa Mentoring Partnership | 200 E. Grand Ave. | Des Moines, IA 50309 | (515) 242-4772
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