WHAT IS A MENTOR?
A mentor is an adult who is willing to listen, give support and spend quality time with a youth in the community. By spending time with a youth on a regular basis, you are able to work with the youth to develop their self-esteem, positive attitude, and socially appropriate behavior.
WHY SHOULD I BECOME A MENTOR?
The youth in today’s society are in need of positive role models in their lives. Mentoring Programs throughout the country have been proven to be an effective way to positively connect with youth. By becoming a Mentor, you can help a young person become successful, productive member of society.
The Mentoring Program requires careful evaluation to recruit mentors that are going to have the commitment it takes to have a successful program. Commitment is the one thing that is stressed the most with the mentors. They need to understand that the children depend on them and they look forward to the time they spend together.
The recruitment of mentors comes from all over the community. There are volunteers from different organizations in the community. For example, local churches, the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Truman State University.
Most youth that are involved in the Mentoring Program are referred from the Children’s Division of Juvenile Officers. There are also referrals from Mark Twain Behavioral Health and from different schools in the community. Some of the youth are involved with the Juvenile Office while some of them are just in need of a positive role model.
The process of matching a mentor with a youth first involves an application by the mentor. The mentor provides medical information, along with proof of automobile insurance and completes a consent for a background check to be performed. Once the background check comes back with no concerns, the mentor must complete a personal interview. This interview helps to get to know the mentor and helps to learn more about their hobbies and interest. The youth also completes the same kind of interview process. A mentor is matched with a youth by their interest and what they have in common. This helps the matches to be more successful.
After the youth and mentor are matched the first initial meeting is scheduled. The first meeting is between the mentor, the youth, and the project coordinator. The project coordinator makes sure the match is positive and that they get along well. Most of the time the first meeting is at the youth’s place of residence. This way the parents or guardians can also meet the mentor. From that meeting on, it is up to the mentor and the youth to make their own meeting schedule. Once per month, evaluation forms are sent to the mentors to keep track of how often they are meeting and how the visits are going.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A MENTOR?
- Opening Your Heart
- Reaching Out to Others