Be A Mentor
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Why Should I Be A Mentor?
- To provide youth with a POSITIVE, growth-inducing relationship
- Be a SOLUTION to the problem
- Move youth from risk to RESILIENCY
- Have a DIRECT impact on your local community
- Make a DIFFERENCE in the life of someone in need
Building Futures provides the most comprehensive training of any mentoring program in the Bay Area, preparing mentors to work successfully with at-risk youth by developing relationship-building skills, exploring issues facing at-risk youth, and strategies to handle difficult situations. Thorough ongoing support is provided by the coordinator who is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern.
Mentor trainings are offered monthly at YMCA locations throughout the Bay Area. The first training is an orientation and a chance to see if it feels like a good fit for you. If you are interested in attending please let us know and we will contact you about the next steps and send you a full application. We look forward to you joining our diverse and dynamic team!
- Paraprofessional Mentor Training
- 1-3 hours each week with child (flexible – scheduled by mentor and child)
- 1 year commitment
- Optional Mentor support group meeting once each month with program coordinator
- Desire to work with at-risk youth
- No prior felony convictions
- Must be at least 23 years old
1. Can I take my mentee to my home? No. Mentees are not allowed into mentors’ houses.
2. Can I take my mentee’s siblings or friends on an outing with us? No. Only youth screened by the program may spend time with mentors on outings. Matches may occasionally pair up with each other but the focus of the program is the one-on-one relationship.
3. Can I spend time with my mentee at his/her house/apartment? No. Unless special arrangements are made (e.g. mentee’s birthday, family meeting, etc.) & parents/guardians are home. We encourage matches to explore and enjoy the community. Check with Coordinator first.
4. Can I bring my significant other on an outing with us? No. Unless other adult (e.g. another mentor) is fingerprinted with the YMCA and cleared as a volunteer.
5. What about overnights i.e. camping, sleepover, babysitting...? No. These activities are not allowed.
6. Do I give the family my home number and address? Give the best number to reach you at but not an address. You want to be available while still having appropriate boundaries.
7. How should I contact the family? Phone? Should I IM, email, or text my mentee? Call Parent/guardian cell or home number to make arrangements. Try not to email mentee unless you also CC Parents & Coordinator. No IM. Text –depends on mentee’s age & family involvement. Check with Coordinator.
8. Can I be friends with my mentee on Facebook? No. This blurs the mentor-mentee boundary and can be detrimental to the relationship.
9. Should I run errands for my mentee’s family? No. Set boundaries early and clarify what your role is as a mentor. Your main focus is helping your mentee, not doing chores for the family.
10. What if my mentee’s parent/guardian says he/she is grounded and I’m not allowed to pick him/her up this week? Is that ok? No. This should be explained during the match meeting. The mentoring relationship shouldn’t be used as a consequence.
11. Does the mentee’s parent/guardian need to be home when I drop them off? Is it ok to drop the mentee off with anyone other than parents/guardians? Yes. Only drop mentee off with people the family has identified as safe, and only at the agreed upon locations such as home or school.
12. What about public transportation? Can I put a mentee on BART or CALTRAIN to go home? Mentee can take public transportation to meet mentor because the parent/guardian was responsible for them last. However, mentor can not put them back on public transportation to go home because the mentor is not guaranteed they will get home safely. Whoever hands them off last is responsible. Also depends on the age of the mentee. Match may take public transportation together for outings.
13. How much personal information do I give the family? Only what is in the mentee’s best interest to know. Avoid disclosing information about controversial issues like sex history or drug/alcohol use.
14. I’m gay, is that a problem for the program? Will this be information that is disclosed to the family? Not a problem for the program but may need to disclose to mentee’s family depending on situation.
15. How do I handle money issues? Asking family to send money, buying gifts, etc.? All money spent during outings is the responsibility of the mentor unless the family offers to help with cost. It is not required to do activities that cost money. Set limits & give options (e.g.”We can only spend $20, but you pick how…T-shirt or ticket to the aquarium”). It is helpful to avoid setting a president at the beginning that you will always bring things or buy things.
16. How available are the program coordinators? What constitutes an emergency? Should I call the program coordinator at home? Who else can I call when I can’t reach him/her? Staff is available for consultation/emergencies/check in’s 24-7. Call your coordinator first, otherwise use other contact numbers’s given out in training.
17. Is it ok to have old beer cans, alcohol bottles, or cigarette packs in my car when my mentee is with me? Is it ok to smell like cigarettes or smoke when I am with my mentee? No.
18. What if my mentee discloses abuse while we are on an outing? Call the Coordinator. If you are concerned about immediate danger, call the Coordinator before dropping off the mentee. You will also be taught how to report to appropriate agencies during the training.
19. What if I change my mind and decide not to be a mentor either during the training or during the match? Call the Coordinator to discuss your concerns. It is FAR better for the child if you decide it’s not the right time for you to be a mentor before you are matched.
20. Do we really have to terminate after a year? Not necessarily. One year is the minimum requirement for being a mentor. If all parties want to continue and it would be in the best interest of the child, an extension may be granted.