Last night LAMP had a mentor meeting/training where mentors were encouraged to share how their matches are going. Each mentor was asked to share one struggle and one reward they find in mentoring. All of the mentors beamed with excitement as they talked about the rewards they find in spending time with their mentee! Every mentor who spoke, noted how polite their mentee is(fantastic!)! Many noted their struggles were with thinking of things to do, or how to encourage their mentee to spend less time with technology. The group brainstormed ideas of how to integrate community service projects or simple acts of kindness into their time with their mentee. Here are some of the highlights we discussed:
- Use Pinterest to find new things to do. You can view LAMP’s postings that are designed for mentors by clicking here! (You can find school tips, craft projects, recipes, how to make invisible ink, texting abbreviations, and TONS more!)
- Volunteer together (bell ringing, nursing home, churches, etc).
- 15 potentially Free gift ideas you can make together or for each other. Examples: make cookies, burn a cd, create a recipe book, crochet or knit, or my favorite – Encouragement jar. Fill a glass jar with multiple small slips of paper that include reasons why you love or appreciate that person. When they are discouraged they can pull out a source of encouragement and remember they are loved. You can also switch the theme to a jar of jokes, activities to do together, or conversation starters!
- Random Acts of kindness: tape coins on a vending machine, hand out balloons to children shopping, take rolls of pennies and drop them all over a playground for kids to find! Give small gifts or cards to the mailman, dentist, eye doctor, waiter, police officers etc. Bring a bag of dog food to the animal shelter.
- Give a small gift to someone who you struggle to get along with! We have a match that does this each year-AWESOME!
- Share a handful of M&M’s and use each color as a theme to discuss. Yellow: share something about school, Green: ask a question to the other person about family, etc.
- Cut open glow necklaces and pour into bubbles container and blow bubbles in the dark. Better yet, blow glowing bubbles outside when it is cold and they freeze! Use this recipe I found on Pinterest to make your own glowing liquid and place in a spray bottle for decorating a snowman!
- Use tooth picks and mini marshmellows or dots to build with.
Matches (mentor/mentee matches) can end after reaching their two year anniversary as scheduled, when someone unexpectedly moves, the child turns eighteen years old, or numerous other reasons. Ending matches and saying goodbye, can be very overwhelming and emotional for those who have connected and built a long-term relationship. How can we prepare our youth to leave a match feeling positive about their future, confident they have the skills to handle challenging situations, and ready to deal with their emotions more independently? Have you started preparing your mentee for what will happen the day your match ends? Have you and your mentee talked about what kinds of emotions they may experience after ending a match? Have you shared with each other how you might deal with those emotions in a positive way? Do you have a plan for saying goodbye? Have you agreed on a way to keep communication open down the road (sending birthday cards, mailing letters during the holidays, etc)? Have you shared with each other the ways you will cherish your memories of your time together? Does your mentee know that you will always be there for them-even if you are miles apart? Help strengthen your match, and help your mentee build life long skills by discussing your futures together today.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you chose. -Dr. Seuss
One of our youth asked a great question during his recent match. He noted that we have training and tips for mentors and parents, but what about the kids? Excellent point! Our mentors and parents have lots of questions and worries about how mentoring works, and so do the kids. The Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota has some great tips and a fun video for youth. Take a peek at the info below!
http://youtu.be/lo80WeS82C4Preparing for Your Mentoring Relationship
Need a little insight on how to set goals with your mentee? First of all remember that you need only one or two short term goals (obtainable in one month or so) and one or two long term goals (6 months or more). Keep your goals simple, specific, obtainable, and most of all -FUN!
Short term example: finish reading the book “x” together before the end of the month
Long term example: visit all parks within the city limits before winter
You can go to the link below to help get ideas flowing: