Helping your Student Learn Adaptability

This month, we are focusing on how mentors can help students make a healthy transition to adulthood. In our culture today, it is not uncommon for students to graduate from high school with little direction (or motivation) to grow into healthy adults. Culturally, we have even created a new name for 18-29 year old’s who fit this description. We call them emerging adults. As mentors, we have a unique opportunity to come alongside our students and help them grow towards becoming a healthy adult.

In the last two Mentoring Minutes, we talked about the importance of helping students find their purpose and plan for their future.

A third way that we can help students make a healthy transition from high school graduate to healthy adult is to help them learn how to adapt to the changes and challenges that are often a part of life after high school. So, what does learning how to adapt mean? It means learning how to be flexible. It means having the ability to try new ways of doing things when the current ways aren’t working or are no longer effective. As mentors, we can start helping our students learn how to adapt by sharing stories of changes and challenges that we’ve experienced, guiding our students to resources that will help them navigate the changes and obstacles they encounter while still in high school, and by modeling it ourselves.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach

Helping your Student Plan their Future

This month, we are focusing on how mentors can help students make a healthy transition to adulthood. In our culture today, it is not uncommon for students to graduate from high school with little direction (or motivation) to grow into healthy adults. Culturally, we have even created a new name for 18-29 year old’s who fit this description. We call them emerging adults. As mentors, we have a unique opportunity to come alongside our students and help them grow towards becoming a healthy adult. Last week, we talked about the importance of helping them find their purpose.

A second way that we can help students make a healthy transition from high school graduate to healthy adult is to help them in the process of planning for the future. Sometimes what keeps students from making the leap from teenager to thriving adult is a lack of planning and long-term perspective. Without planning and perspective, many students remain stuck in the “in-between” space of high school graduate and fully-independent adult. On the other hand, students who have learned and seen the value of planning from caring adults (like parents, teachers, and mentors) are better able to set priorities and goals that help them achieve their long-term goals. As mentors, we can help our students plan for the future by talking through different options with them, looking for resources that will help them take next steps, and giving them some long-term perspective from our own experience.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach

June 8th Mentoring Insight – Help your student find THEIR purpose.

Helping your Student Find their Purpose

This month, we are focusing on how mentors can help students make a healthy transition to adulthood. In our culture today, it is not uncommon for students to graduate from high school with little direction (or motivation) to grow into healthy adults. Culturally, we have even created a new name for 18-29 year old’s who fit this description. We call them emerging adults.

So, how can we help students make a healthy transition from high school graduate to healthy adult? One of the biggest ways we can do that as mentors is to help them find their purpose. As students work toward goals, the ones with a sense of purpose are better able to adapt to the challenges of the transition to adult roles. At a time in our society when wages are low and a sense of economic despair lingers, it is important for students to see that their actions have some greater purpose. As mentors, we can help our students find their purpose by asking good questions, listening well, and encouraging them as they start thinking about life after high school.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach

Mentoring is an investment in our community both for today and the future

With the summer month’s continuing and school-based mentoring programs like Be the One on pause, this is a great time for you to continue learning and growing as a mentor! Over the next couple of months, we will continue to use the Mentoring Minute to provide training and encouragement for you. Our hope is that when the new school year starts in September you will be rested and ready to continue investing in your students.

Remember…the time that you put into mentoring is an investment in our community both for today and the future. Think about it…the student you are mentoring today could grow up to become a mentor like you in the future. So, let’s make the most of our time this summer by becoming better mentors. The present and future of our communities depend on it.

This month’s topic: helping students make a healthy transition to adulthood.

Check back next Monday for the first tip on how to help your student grow towards becoming a healthy adult.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach

This week’s tip: build trust.

This month, the Mentoring Minute is focusing on ways that you can build a strong mentoring relationship with your student. Last week, we encouraged you to be friendly. Students in general are not likely to automatically trust a new mentor. In fact, in many cases, they may perceive you to be just another authority figure in their life and start the relationship from a position of distrust. Being friendly is one way that you can change the perception that your student may have of you as you mentor them.

This week’s tip: build trust.

Once you have laid the groundwork for a mentoring relationship that’s less about being formal and more about being friendly, it’s essential that you build trust. So, what does building trust look like in a mentoring relationship? It means being an active listener. Active listening is not just hearing what you’re student is saying, it’s communicating back to them what you heard in a two-way conversation so that they know that you are really listening. It also means empathizing with them. Showing genuine care in the midst of their big challenges or even everyday struggles goes a long way in building relational equity with your student. Finally, you can build trust by being an advocate for them. If your student sees you as an ally, they are more likely to trust you and seek you out for help and advice when they need it.

Check back next month for more ways that you can learn and grow as a mentor!

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach

Thank you so, so much for giving that time to me…

A mentor reached out to me recently and wanted to send a card of encouragement to her previous student. When I delivered the card to the student, she immediately asked to email a response to her mentor.

She shared how well things were going and how she was looking forward to her upcoming graduation. And she wrote: “I want to thank you so, so much for giving that time to me, to talk to me. I am more than grateful for you. You are a big part of my life.”

When the mentor saw her message, she wrote back: “This email made me cry!!! Happy Tears!!! Wow. Just wow. So glad to hear from her! That girl is on her way”

–Lisa Reynolds–Lynden High School Mentor Coordinator

New Mentor Orientation and Training – Fall 2019

Thursday, Sept 19th 8:30-10:30 am at Lynden High School
Wednesday, Sept 25th 9:00-11:00 am at Lynden High School
Tuesday, Oct 8th 12:00 noon-2:00 pm at Lynden Middle School
Friday, Oct 18th 9:00-11:00 am at Lynden Middle School

This is the required two-hour orientation and training for brand new mentors. There are identical sessions, being offered at different times and locations to try to accommodate people.

This week’s tip: be friendly.

This month, the Mentoring Minute is focusing on ways that you can build a strong mentoring relationship with your student. Last week, we encouraged you to avoid being overly formal in your relationship with your student. Mentoring relationships are generally more effective when students see their mentor more as a trusted, caring friend and less like another parent or teacher in their life.

This week’s tip: be friendly.

As a mentor, it’s hard to reach the status of a trusted, caring friend if you’re not friendly. So, what does being friendly look like in a mentoring relationship? It means things like laughing and having fun with your student. It means cheering your student on. It means being impartial, and not automatically taking the parental view when they share things with you. It means showing your student genuine respect as you listen to them.

Remember too that building trust with your student takes time. Even when you do all that you can to be friendly and caring, it may take longer than you think it should for trust to be built in your relationship. The truth is your trust as a mentor is earned, and not automatically assumed or given.

Check back next Monday for another tip on how to build a strong mentoring relationship with your student.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach

Doing what they Love

A newly matched mentor wanted to do something with her student that she enjoyed. Together we brainstormed some ideas and finally determined that baking was a passion of the mentee. So, on one given day the three of us utilized the staff room oven and baked some cookies for the mentee to share with her friends. This was a huge success and brought the mentee and mentor closer together.

Quality People Becoming Quality Mentors
A mentor was in my mentor pool and her name was written down on my mentor board. One day my son saw her name and got really excited. He told me that he had interacted with this person on occasion and then he told me, “Wow, if she was my mentor, I would definitely join the program.” It shows you the quality of mentors we receive for our program.

Mentoring is for Everyone
A student came to me wanting a mentor and I took some time to interview them. I learned that the potential mentee was an excellent student, had a very stable home life, and was well liked at school. In fact, the student did not mention any troubles at all. The student simply said they wanted “a positive person willing to listen.”

-Brian Clemmer, Lynden Middle School Mentor Coordinator

This week’s tip: avoid being overly formal.

This month, the Mentoring Minute is focusing on ways that you can build a strong mentoring relationship with your student. Recently, a major review of studies done on the effectiveness of adult and youth relationships in counseling and mentoring shared several tips for building strong relationships with students.

This week’s tip: avoid being overly formal.

Students are not necessarily looking for another parental voice in their life, or another teacher or counselor checking in on how they are doing. All of these roles are important in their life, but a mentor’s role is different…and less formal. Your role is to listen. Your role is to empathize. Your role is to encourage. Your role is to guide. As you continue to build a relationship with your student, be careful not to bring the level of formality that some of these other important relationships often require. But, focus instead on the role of being a trusted, caring friend.

Check back next Monday for another tip on how to build a strong mentoring relationship with your student.

-Jason Matthews, BTO Mentor Coach