Staying Virtually Connected: Closure
Keeping Relationships Strong: Closing Relationships During COVID-19
Facilitate bringing the match to closure in a way that affirms the contributions of the mentor and mentee, and offers them an opportunity to prepare for the closure and assess the experience.
- A normal stage in the mentoring relationship
- Organization supported
- Affirms the contribution of the mentor and mentee
- Proper notice of timing and reason for closure
Timing of closure right now is likely to be unexpected, but can still be structured.
Creating Positive Closure
- Provide clarity of the nature of the ending - share what you know about the status of the program, what is going to happen moving forward etc.
- Allow young person to express their feelings about the situation
(loss, anger, frustration, gratitude, confusion, joy . . .)
- Allow the young person to express their thoughts/memories about the relationship - their mentor
- Provide a positive/strength based message about the young person or the relationship (this is what I have enjoyed about you - this is how I have seen you grow, the best thing about being with you is - this is what I liked doing)
- Make this a time for growth - life skills
- Follow - Up - share something
VERY IMPORTANT - IF MENTOR IS UNAVAILABLE to participate in a final session with a mentee it is important that program staff/match support specialist takes on this role.
Program staff can allow young people to share about their time in the mentor program, and share some of their thoughts of their mentor. Match support specialists can review their notes and highlight strengths and positive comments that the mentee had shared with the staff. Each component of the Creating a Positive Closure above is important and needs to be addressed with a staff person if a mentor is unavailable.
Make sure your program has engaged family/caregivers prior to any contact that is different than had been taking place in the relationship. Ensure that family/caregivers are comfortable and on board with this type of closure. This may mean explaining the need and understanding the limits of the contact.
Strategies for Virtual Closure
Ways to provide virtual closure
Ways to celebrate the relationship
- Contact can be made with or without match support specialist - assess what is appropriate for your site - you can use three way calling or have all three parties on other platforms
- Offer a template for these conversations to help mentor cover all the important elements of the “good-bye”
- Use Google phone number for anonymity - this way mentors can call without disclosing personal information
- Use video platforms: Google hangout/meet, zoom, FaceTime, Facebook video
- Mentors can send video messages to the program and the program can forward them or post them on platform the student may using for school or within the program
- Send letters directly to mentees or via program
- Mentors send emails via program and forwarded on to mentees
- Thank yous
- Create souvenir of the relationship like a virtual album or presentation
- Virtual end of the year celebration
Resources for Closure Meetings
There are several online platforms that help folks stay connected. Your program may opt to use one of the few below or another platform to facilitate virtual closure. Be considerate of access needs and provide options that work for many.
Google Meet E-mentoring Supplement