Welcome to the third week of our focus on “growth” words for the month of October! So far, we have highlighted the importance of time and care in our mentoring relationships. As mentors, when we are intentional with our time, we build up relational equity with our students. And, when we communicate that we care, our students are more likely to feel seen, heard, and valued. As we understand the need for time and care in mentoring, it puts us in a better position to help our students grow into healthy adults.

The ways we help our students through mentoring will look different depending on their individual needs and support systems. As a mentor, you may need to take on different roles for your student in order to give them the help that they need.

For example, you may need to be an advocate for your student, and go with them to talk to the Mentor Coordinator, a teacher or other school staff. This role may be one way that you can help your student learn valuable inter-personal relationship skills that are vital in adulthood.

Or, you may need to be a facilitator for you student, helping them see their strengths and areas of interest and then walking alongside them as they explore where those lead (vocationally, etc.).

Finally, you may find that one of the best ways you can help your student is to be a cheerleader for them. Some of our students have a negative mindset on auto-pilot. As mentors, we can help change that mindset by being encouragers, bringing hope, and helping our students see that they are valued.

As you spend time with your student and communicate to them that you care, it might be helpful to think back to when you were a teenager and remember how your mentors helped you.

—Jason Matthews, Mentor Coach