If you take a few things away from this module, let it be these simple messages:
- For a mentoring relationship to be strong and successful, you and your mentee need to feel good about the match and about yourselves.
- Remember – both you and your mentee were motivated to enter into this mentoring relationship. Acknowledging those motivations, and assessing how well the experience is meeting both your and your mentee's needs and goals, is critical to sustaining a healthy relationship. Also, keep in mind that motivations to start and then to continue the relationship may differ, so it is worth reassessing what you and your mentee hope to take from the relationship.
- How you and your mentee decide what to do together is more important than the activity itself. Collaborate, to the extent possible. Use information that you learn about each other − your interests, family experiences, backgrounds, goals, etc. − to decide, collaboratively, what you will do, discuss, and focus on together.
- As with every important relationship, balance is key. Try to balance fun activities and teachable moments in your match. Listen closely, be present, and at the same time, try to be future-focused to help prepare your mentee for the road ahead.
- A poor match or early closure can have adverse effects on a young person. On the other hand, a well-structured and supported match can result in excellent outcomes for you and your mentee. No matter how your match is progressing, a successful closure is critical. It will emphasize the relationship's positive aspects, important learnings, and acquired skills, as well as the opportunity for strong future relationships.
- Keep in close contact with your program staff and your site-based liaison. They are experienced, and have learned lessons about what helps matches get stronger and last longer. Benefit from their wisdom to help you and your mentee get the most out of your match.
- For community based matches in which you have contact with your mentee’s parent/guardian, keep a strong and positive dialogue. Together you can ensure the match is fun and supportive for the young person.
- Consistently checking in on your motivation, expectations, and approach to your mentoring relationship will lead to a strong, lasting, and positive bond between you and your mentee. A well-formulated, supported, and child-focused match can have far-reaching positive benefits for both you and your mentee.