Module 4: Characteristics of a Mentor

Watch the YouTube video below, which describe the characteristics of a successful mentor of the Youth ChalleNGe Program, and then complete the readings and activities that follow.


  • List characteristics of successful mentors
  • Review testimony from others that define characteristics of quality mentors

Key Points:

Let’s take a look at the following characteristics of successful mentors:

  1. High level of attunement in their personal relationships
  2. Belief that they are capable of filling the mentor role (self-efficacy)
  3. Realistic expectations about the relationship, the experience, and the impact they can have on youth
  4. The ability to problem solve and seek out support from the Program, to overcome difficulties and avoid ending the Match
  5. Having a youth-centered focus — the ability to relate to youth at their level
  6. An awareness of their own personal biases and cultural competency
  7. The ability to reflect their own motivations, actions, and contributions to the relationship

The research has demonstrated that youth in high-quality relationships improve academic performance, reduce the likelihood of dropping out, decrease incidence of high risk behaviors—substance abuse, carrying a weapon, unsafe sex and violence, and supports young people in their development – academic, emotional and social.


___ Review the Resources
___ Complete Activities
___ Complete the Module 4 Training Questions


  • PDF – “Mentoring Works” by Jonathan Alter: In the article “Mentoring Works” by Jonathan Alter, “mentoring is not the solution to the problems of the next generation. Parenting comes first. But even good parents often need some help.”
  • PDF – “Getting to the Gold” by Annetta Miller: According the the article “Getting to the Gold” by Annetta Miller, goals and activities are at the heart of the mentoring relationship. The key is to pay attention to the Mentee’s needs and interests.


  • Continuing the activity from Training Module 3, fill-in the last column with your own reasons about why you decided to become a volunteer mentor with ChalleNGe.  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 choose to volunteer as a youth Mentor.
Function Description Your Own Reasons
Values Function: The person is volunteering in order to express or act on important values, such as humanism and helping the less fortunate.
Understanding Function: The volunteer is seeking to learn more about the world and/or exercise skills that are often unused.
Enhancement Function: The individual is seeking to learn more about the world and/or exercise skills that are often unused.
Career Function: The volunteer has the goal of gaining career-related experience through volunteering.
Social Function: Volunteering allows the person to strengthen one’s social relationships.
Protective Function: The individual uses volunteering to reduce negative feelings, such as guilt, or to address personal address.

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