Mentoring Tips

BE PATIENT: Building trust takes time. A young person may not show it at first, but your help may be just what is needed. Be persistent.

PRAISE IS POWER: A word of praise in a critical world works miracles in the life of a student.

SET BOUNDARIES: Most mentoring relationships develop and flourish without problems. Occasionally, however, something comes up. Mentors have an important role, but this doesn't include replacing family or social service professionals. A mentor can help guide a young person to the appropriate source for additional help.

TRY TO UNDERSTAND A STUDENT'S VIEWPOINT: Even if you don't share his or her point of view, trying to appreciate it shows you care.

CELEBRATE DIFFERENCES: Experienced mentors report that working with a young person from a different background broadened their own horizons and deepened their understanding of other people and cultures. Sometimes it is the differences that make the difference.

BE HONEST: Kids know adults aren't perfect. If you make mistakes, admit it. Say you're sorry. It's a skill a student may only learn from you.

BE THERE: Just the sound of your concerned voice can make a big difference in the life of a sttudent.

BE POSITIVE: Ask yourself, "What encouragement can I give if my young friend disappoints himself or herself?" Mentors are in the business of helping young people make the most of their lives. Allow the student to make a few "growing" mistakes when they learn new things.

BELIEVE: Many students in our communities struggle with self-esteem. Your faith in them can be the greatest gift you can give.