Thank you for your interest in becoming a mentor! Your commitment can make a big difference in a young person’s life and be a rewarding experience for you as well. Finding a mentoring program you’re excited about and comfortable with can require some time and thought. The following steps will guide you through the process:
Guidelines for Volunteers
Step 1: Decide which type of mentoring is best for you. Consider the time commitment, age of youth, location and setting that you would prefer.
Step 2: Search our database and contact your local community’s volunteer office or school system to find programs to fit your needs and interests.
Step 3: You are offering to make a substantial commitment of your time. Be thorough in investigating your options before you choose the program that best suits your needs. We suggest calling or emailing at least three programs for more information. Talk to the staff about their specific application and screening procedures and what type of training and support they offer to their volunteers. Don’t be discouraged if a program isn’t a good fit. There are many more youth needing mentors than there are volunteers, so keep looking.
Step 4: Complete an application for your chosen program. After submitting the application you can expect to go through a screening process that will include an interview and background check, then you will receive training before you are matched and ready to meet your mentee. Be patient as this process may take several months. Mentoring programs seek to ensure the quality of their matches and are concerned with the well-being and safety of both the children and volunteers. Just remember, becoming a mentor is well worth the effort, so be persistent in your efforts to complete the process.
Questions for Programs: To assist you in your search, here is a list of questions you may wish to explore with the mentoring programs that interest you.
- What are the program’s goals and objectives?
- What are the specific requirements of a mentor in your program, such as the length of commitment, number of hours per week/month and types of activities expected?
- What are your screening procedures for mentors?
- How are youth selected for your program?
- What ongoing supervision, training and support do mentors receive from your program?
- Is there a designated person at the program who can help me when I have concerns about mentoring or my mentee? How available is that person?
- What are the program’s policies for interacting with the mentee’s parents, teachers or counselors?
- What are your program’s policies about bringing the mentee to my home? Allowing the mentee to ride in my car? Involving my family or friends with the mentee?
- What factors do you consider in matching mentors and mentees?
- Will it cost me anything to be a mentor in your program?
(Courtesy of Virginia Mentoring Partnership)