Build a Community of Mentors Consider offering informal gatherings where mentors can interact with each other to share ideas and approaches and offer solutions to challenges they face. These gatherings help build a community of mentors within the program, offering opportunities for mentors to network, problem-solve together, and socialize.
- Mentors who work with Aboriginal youth must have an appreciation for the knowledge of Aboriginal language, culture, history, values, heritage, spiritual beliefs and the social context (Klinck et al., 2005; Schissel & Fedec, 2001). Canadian research suggests that mentors of Aboriginal youth should be Aboriginal and that the programs should include the youth’s family, if possible and, traditional values and culture.
- Supplement in-person presentations with readings from the many online and print materials available on youth issues. Provide mentors with a comprehensive training manual that covers all information provided during training as well as information on community resources.
- Offer on-going training opportunities (perhaps on a monthly basis) on a variety of topics to add to the knowledge base of mentors and to help address difficulties as they arise in the mentoring relationship. These sessions can also allow mentors to share experiences and ask questions. (See match support section for further information).
- Once mentors are matched they require even more training and support as they begin to deal with real-life situations. Training sessions should be designed to provide more in-depth information about particular topics. Training content should be driven in part by the interests and concerns of mentors, and often include an outside expert as the presenter.
Other topics/presentations from other community programs and services to add to the knowledge base of mentors:
- First aid training
- Addictions and mental health services
- Attachment issues
- Online safety
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Cross cultural communication
- Power and privilege: anti oppression
- Suicide prevention
- Resources available to youth as they age out of care
- Resources and support for LGBT2SQ youth who have come out or are questioning.
- Conquering conflict: effective communication in times of conflict
- Gang awareness training
- Helping mentors overcome frustrations and disappointments
- Labeling youth who are in care: what the labels mean, and how labels impact them
- Adolescent brain development
- Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Mentors know that there is a circle of knowledge and support available to both their mentee and themselves.