Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.
Note:While most of the organizations implementing this core concept will likely run on-site mentoring programs, the standards can also apply to organizations that allow mentors and mentees to meet off-site.
Examples: Although expectations can vary based on program type, many organizations ask mentors to agree in writing to meet with mentees at least one hour per week, or for several hours once or twice a month, for at least a year (i.e. school or calendar year, depending on program type and schedule).
The mentor screening process is completed before a prospective mentor serves children and youth in any capacity, and includes:
a written application;
a face-to-face interview; and
reference checks, including both personal and professional references, when possible.
Note:As addressed in HR 2.03, the organization should also conduct fingerprint-based state and federal criminal history record checks, child abuse and neglect registry checks, and sex offender registry checks. If mentors have opportunities to transport mentees the organization should also review their driving records, as referenced in ASE 4.02.
In order to determine a prospective mentor’s suitability, the mentor screening process includes an assessment of:
whether the prospective mentor’s personal qualities will facilitate the development of a trust-based relationship centered on the mentee; and
whether the prospective mentor has the time and availability needed to establish and maintain a strong mentoring relationship.
Mentors receive orientation and training that address:
the philosophy of both the program and its mentoring component;
the responsibilities of the mentor to the organization and the mentee;
the responsibilities of the organization to the mentor;
relationship development, including the importance of building trust;
establishing appropriate boundaries and setting limits;
child and youth development, including any special strengths and needs of the population served;
diversity and cultural awareness; and
realistic expectations for the relationship.
At least two hours of in-person, pre-match training should be provided.
The organization considers the characteristics of mentors and mentees when making matches.
Examples: Characteristics that may be relevant to consider when making matches include language spoken, interests, age, gender identity and expression, background, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual identity, sexual orientation, special needs, personality and temperament, strengths, and/or the expressed preferences of the mentor, mentee, and the mentee’s parent or guardian. Logistical issues, such as availability to meet at the same time, can also be relevant to consider.
Mentors, mentees, and mentees’ parents or legal guardians provide written, informed consent to:
the proposed match; and
the rules and requirements of the mentoring initiative.
In an effort to facilitate the development of a successful mentoring relationship, the organization:
arranges, and ensures personnel are available during, the initial match meeting; and
ensures that mentoring meetings are frequent enough, and continue long enough, to meet the objectives of the relationship.
Personnel monitor the appropriateness and effectiveness of the match by checking in with mentors, mentees, and mentees’ parents or legal guardians at least:
bi-weekly, during the first month of mentoring; and
once a month, thereafter.
Personnel should use these check-ins to learn about the activities that occurred during match meetings, the quality of the mentoring relationship, and the impact of the mentoring relationship on both the mentee and mentor, as well as to make sure that the mentoring relationship does not present any safety issues. More frequent monitoring will likely be necessary if a match is considered to be in jeopardy of premature closing. Organizations that have trouble obtaining input from parents or legal guardians may seek input from other involved adults, such as teachers or other school-day personnel.
The organization maintains a record of the date, duration, and activities completed at each mentoring meeting.
regularly assess matches to determine if they should be continued or closed; and
provide ongoing support and assistance to facilitate relationship development and address challenges, as needed.
Examples: In addition to regular feedback and support from personnel, ongoing assistance can include access to resources such as specialized publications, experienced mentors, or additional training opportunities.
When it is necessary to close a match, personnel:
ensure that the relationship ends in a planned, constructive manner;
meet with mentors to discuss the reasons for, and their feelings about, the closure of the match;
meet with mentees and their families to discuss the reasons for, and their feelings about, the closure of the match;
review rules regarding post-closure contact with all parties, including mentors, mentees, and the families of mentees; and
offer the possibility of re-matching, as appropriate.
Closure procedures should also address situations where one party (i.e. the mentor, mentee, or family of the mentee) is unwilling or unable to engage in the closure process. While it may be hard for some organizations to engage family members, it will be especially important to involve the mentee’s family if the match is determined to be unsuitable or inappropriate, as opposed to when a match is designed to end at a specific time (e.g., at the end of the school year).
Examples: It may be necessary to close a match for a variety of reasons including, for example, if the mentor or mentee relocates, if the match is determined to be unsuitable or inappropriate, or if the match is designed to end at a specific time, such as when the school year ends.