Stability and Consistency
What the research says:
Mentor stability and consistency are key elements required to building a trusting mentoring relationship. The reliable involvement of a non-parental adult in the life of a young person is linked with many positive outcomes. Likewise, unstable and/or inconsistent involvement can often lead to unwanted feelings of distance, resentment and insignificance and may result in damaging early match closure.
Is the applicant stable? Now and for the foreseeable future? Does the applicant understand the need for match support and supervision? Do job changes seem reasonable and fairly planned? Does it seem like the applicant will have time to participate in the program? Interviewer should have an understanding of any health-related concerns that would impede the applicant’s ability to fulfill the volunteer commitment in terms of length of time as well as consistent contact. Concerns would be recurring physical ailments or chronic debilitating conditions, an inability or unwillingness to discuss health concerns (beyond appropriate hesitancy), recurring mental illnesses, or recent unresolved emotional issues. Interviewer should have a clear understanding of the applicant’s stability and ability to be a consistent presence in the life of the youth.
include frequent short-term employment, a history of conflict at work, quitting jobs often, expressed difficulty with authority, employment responsibilities inconsistent with education, extensive unsupervised access to children, volunteer experience only or primarily with children, lack of follow-through, inability to see how change may impact a mentoring relationship, more concerned with self than others, not enough time, and lack of insight.
Attitudes Toward Youth and Matching Considerations
What the research says:
Some preliminary research suggests that an individual’s attitude towards youth in their community is related to their quality as a mentor. A positive attitude, generally, towards youth and their experiences, challenges and strengths can be reflective of their ability to be a positive mentor.
Interviewer should be able to get a sense of the applicant’s personality in terms of ability to get along with others and deal positively with frustration, anger and difficult experiences. Interviewer should also have a good sense of an appropriate match relationship, as well as an understanding of the applicant’s attitude towards children and youth, including attitude toward youth and family vulnerability specific to youth involved in the child welfare system, and experiences related to children.
may include social isolation, a combative stance towards others, overdependence, over-compliance, lack of direction, and an inability to deal with strong emotions. Additional concerns may include a lack of experience or understanding of children, harsh or unrealistic attitudes about children, expecting unquestioning respect and compliance from a child, idealizing children, desiring to be matched with a specific child or a specific profile (e.g. wanting to be matched with a “quiet” child or a child who has been abused previously), having extensive involvement with kids and wanting more, wanting to change a child, seeking unlimited contact with child, wanting to take on a parental role, wanting to be the only male in a child’s life and expecting the child to be overly grateful to them for spending time with them; actively promoting discrimination.