7j. MATCH CLOSURE

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MENTORING YOUTH IN / FROM CARE

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Closure

Mentoring relationships can end for a wide range of reasons that are both predictable (e.g. conclusion of the academic year program) and unpredictable (e.g. moving). Closure may also occur as a result of interpersonal or practical challenges that result in the mentor losing interest or motivation to sustain the mentoring relationship. Regardless of why the mentoring relationship is ending, mentoring program staff should always try to ensure the relationship ends on a positive note for all involved, but particularly for the youth. The closure process provides for an opportunity to reflect on the outcomes of the mentoring relationship and an opportunity for match participants to discuss their experiences in the relationship. Additionally, the process provides for an opportunity for program staff to evaluate how the mentee and mentor participated in the mentoring relationship. Finally, the closure process provides the mentee with a model of the behaviour and processes to bring a relationship to a healthy and appropriate close.

Current mentoring research, has clearly indicated that poor match endings can undo all the benefits gained by a child from a mentoring relationship…and in some cases, even be harmful. Therefore, it is essential to fully integrate a match closure process as part of service delivery with the goal of a positive match closure for all parties, especially the child/youth. It is essential to provide structure, support and coaching to mentors, mentees and guardians to normalize match closure. The closure process should ensure that mentoring program staff invest just as significantly in positive match closures as they invest in making quality matches.