Mentors

Benefits to being a mentor

The mentee isn’t the only one benefitting in mentoring relationships.  Mentors benefit as well.  Here some of the benefits:

  • Share their expertise
  • Reminders of where you’ve come from
  • Opportunities to influence and/or make a difference in a young person’s life
  • Personal growth and development
  • Opportunities to reflect on what it means to be successful
  • A captive, attentive audience

Skills

Lois Zachary, in her book: The Mentor’s Guide posits that effective mentors have certain skills.  They are:

  • Building and maintaining relationships
  • Coaching
  • Communicating
  • Encouraging
  • Facilitating
  • Goal Setting
  • Guiding
  • Managing conflict
  • Problem solving
  • Providing and receiving feedback
  • Reflecting

 

Which of these skills do you have?

Resources and Support

SC utilizes 3 main resources for mentors:

1) Big Questions Worthy Dreams by Sharon Daloz Parks – provides the philosophical basis of the work we do

2) The Mentor’s Guide by Lois Zachary – provides the basics of mentoring – self-paced workbook with a lot of personal reflection.

3) A Sacred Voice is Calling by John Neafsey – our basic resource on vocation.

A primary role of the director is to provide support for the mentors.

Mentoring Commitment to SC

In our attempt to create a mentoring community for the Scholars of Scholastic Connections there are minimally three ways we do this:

1) Buddy system pairing a continuing Scholar with a new Scholar – Scholars benefit from connecting with others within the program, sharing what they’re working on with their Mentors and sharing who they are with each other

2) Mentoring pairs – Mentor and Scholar – the most important component of Scholastic Connections work happens in the mentoring pairs between the Mentor and Scholar.

3) Large group gatherings – coming together to reflect on the work we are about.  Scholars benefit from input from their peers, their own Mentors and have access to other SC Mentors.  Mentors benefit from input from and support of other Mentors, opportunities to interact with their Scholar in a controlled, structured way and opportunities to interact with Scholars other than their own.

Estimated time commitment for the academic year = 40 hours and includes:

Orientation and Resources - Mentors are provided with minimally 2 resources:  Big Questions Worthy Dreams by Sharon Daloz Parks (the philosophical basis of our SC work) and The Mentor’s Guide by Lois Zachary (the practical guide and “how to” for Mentors).  A 2-hour orientation for Mentors is scheduled in late August.

One-on-Ones with the Scholar - minimally 5 per semester.  For trust to be established within the relationship it is important for there to be face to face meetings where each person in the relationship has an opportunity to share who they are and learn some things about each other.  Best practices suggest there needs to be frequent, consistent contact to start with.  In addition to the face-to-face meetings, checking in via email, texting and phone calls is appropriate and highly recommended.

Large group gatherings - 2-4 per semester.  Two are more “work” related, the others more “fun” related where we partake in some type of cultural activity.  Again this provides the group the opportunity to come together to get to know each other, to reflect on and share specific aspects of our work.

Celebratory events - 3 per year.  The Gala Dinner and Kick-off in the fall, a Holiday pot luck gathering in December and a year end Graduation Recognition celebration acknowledging the success of Scholars who are completing their undergraduate work and recognizing the work of their mentors.

Assessments/Evaluations/Check-ins - I check-in frequently with the Mentors (and Scholars) to see how things are going.  At the end of the year I ask each participant to do 2 evaluations: 1) program evaluation and 2) evaluation of their partner.  The evaluations that Mentors do of their Scholars serve as the “Letter of Recommendation” for the Scholar’s Renewal Application and serve as feedback for the Scholar.  Program evaluations are used to assess program effectiveness and restructuring.