Who can become a mentor?
Any adult who holds at least an associate's degree, is able to meet with a student once per month in person, has their own transportation, and will make a commitment to their student through, at least, the Scholar's freshman year of college may apply to be a mentor. Mentors must be willing to attend training, submit to a criminal background check, share three personal background checks and take part in an in-person interview with our staff.
What do mentors do?
Mentors meet with their students at least once a month. Often, they chat with mentees by text or phone more regularly. They act as a resource for their mentee and the mentee’s family during the college search process, often taking students on college visits, and assisting with college readiness by encouraging a student to explore careers and cultural events. They act as sounding boards for students as they navigate high school and college, encouraging the students to challenge themselves academically, extend themselves socially, and become involved in their communities.
How do you support mentors?
First, we set clear expectations on both sides. Mentors take part in an initial training prior to being matched with a student. We then offer training for mentors at least twice a year and we work with volunteer mentor coordinators in each of the three schools who work with staff to individually support mentors and organize events throughout the year.
What are the expectations for mentors?
Mentors are expected to provide non-judgmental support to their Scholar throughout high school and into the student's first year of college. Mentors serve as advisors, not teachers, parents, college experts or policemen. Mentors are a conduit for students to learn about new opportunities and ideas.
It is important to note that Sponsor-A-Scholar is an off-site mentoring program. Mentors and mentees will need to organize their own activities after school hours or on the weekends. Mentors should coordinate with their scholars and their student's parent or guardian to determine clear boundaries regarding the kinds of activities that are appropriate.
What Should Mentors Expect from Sponsor-A-Scholar?
Sponsor-A-Scholar staff provides introductory (mandatory) training to all mentors prior to matching them with a Scholar. Staff is also available to provide guidance to mentors at any stage in the mentoring relationship either in-person or by phone. Sponsor-A-Scholar offers bi-monthly activities and events for students and mentors. We also offer ongoing trainings and feedback sessions on key topics throughout the year. Sponsor-A-Scholar sends all mentors a bi-monthly e-newsletter with information on events, important dates, scholarship opportunities and other resources.
How are students and mentors matched?
We have an application for mentors to fill out that identifies their background and interests, and each prospective mentor must pass a criminal background check and share three character references. Mentors also take part in an in-person interview, so we can adequately match them with the Scholar who they would be best suited to help. We match mentors and mentees based on the mentees’ and mentors’ shared interests. We always match Scholars and mentors based on gender.