Module 3: What is a Mentor and Roles of the Mentor and Mentee

Objectives:

  • Identify the five areas of the Mentoring Pyramid
  • Develop skills in forming open-ended and quality questions to ask of the Mentee
  • Be introduced to active listening techniques

Key Points:

A Mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective Mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the Mentee.

Today, most youth development organizations recognize the importance of a child having a caring responsible adult in their lives. For children who come from less than ideal circumstances, mentoring can be a critical ingredient towards positive youth outcomes.  Developmental psychologist and co-founder of Head Start, Urie Bronfenbrenner said it best: “Development, it turns out, occurs through this process of progressively more complex exchange between a child and somebody else – especially somebody who’s crazy about that child.”

The word Mentor comes from the character “Mentor” in Homer’s epic tale, The Odyssey. Mentor was a trusted friend of Odysseus, the king of Ithaca. When Odysseus fought in the Trojan War, Mentor served as friend and counsel to Odysseus’ son Telemachus. Riverside Webster’s II New College Dictionary 1995 defines a Mentor as “a wise and trusted teacher or counselor”. The act of mentoring is a series of ongoing and little successes.  You will be able to make a real impact through consistent and ongoing relationship building.

Checklist:

___ Review the Resources
___ Complete Activities
___ Complete the Module 3 Questions

Resources:

Activities:

  • The volunteer inventory below defines several reasons why you might volunteer to be a Mentor.
Function Description Example
Values Function The person is volunteering in order to express
or act on important values, such as humanism and helping the less fortunate
“I hear so much about the hard lives these
kids have and feel I should do what I can to help.”
Understanding Function The volunteer is seeking to learn more about
the world and/or exercise skills that are often unused
“I know I’ve lived a sheltered life, so I
want to know what these kids are dealing with.”
Enhancement Function The individual is seeking to grow and develop
psychologically through involvement in volunteering
“I get such a good feeling when I am helping
others.”
Career Function The volunteer has the goal of
gaining career-related experience through volunteering
“I’m considering getting into
education and want to see how I get along with children.”
Social Function Volunteering allows the person
to strengthen one’s social relationships
“Two of my good friends are Mentors
and say I’d be good at it.”
Protective Function The individual uses volunteering to reduce
negative feelings, such as guilt, or to address personal issues
“I want to give a child the role model I never
had growing up.”
  • Remember back to why you agreed to be a Mentor.  On a separate sheet of paper, try to identify examples for yourself that match the various functions of volunteering.  Reflecting on and identifying your reasons now will help you maintain your focus throughout your time as a Mentor.  Come back and review what you have listed when you need a reminder of why you chose to volunteer as a youth mentor.

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