Resources for Mentors who are mentoring scholars with special circumstances (homelessness, foster children, children of incarcerated parents)

The National Institute of Corrections is a center of learning, innovation, and leadership that shapes and advances effective correctional practice and public policy. 

Basic terms with definitions on children of incarcerated parents

National Center for Homeless Education Brochure  – includes homeless definition and educational rights for homeless students under the McKinney-Vento Act 

“Homestretch” a full length documentary following the lives of three homeless teens in Chicago – free with an Amazon Prime membership

Additional financial info for youth experiencing homelessness 

Foster Youth mentoring basics

This resource from Youth Collaboratory provides a toolkit of training to work with youth in the foster care system 

Research based mentoring approach for youth in foster care 

The Importance of a Support Network and How to Build One

Use this activity with your mentee to help Map Your Support Network with him or her to take a look at their network and understand they do not have to go at it alone.

According to this article young people are more likely to graduate if they have access to an anchoring relationship and a web of supportive relationships. 

This video highlights the importance of networking for student success.

How to be an Exceptional Mentor

Click 7 Ways to Be a Mentor to see how you can become the best mentor you can be for your mentee.

Measuring the impact of mentoring across diverse youth

Ongoing Training for Mentors
See Page 21 for Mentor/Mentee Communication Tips and
Page 30 for Ten Hints for Helping Someone in Crisis

Know Thyself – Knowing Thyself 
This virtual training provides a foundational look at race and privilege as it relates to the mentoring relationship. The training will give mentors and mentoring programs some processes and tools that allow for reflection into potential biases that may limit success of the mentoring relationship for boys and young men of color.

6 Tips for Mentors

College Readiness Reminders

A guide of college preparatory activities by season and grade level

What You Can and Can't Control

Sometimes when a person is stressed or feeling angry about being out of control of different parts of their life it can help to take some time to reflect on the reality of what you can and can’t control.  Then, the task is to focus on what you can, and let the rest of it not bother you so much.   Here’s a simple document for a high schooler to take a look at. 

Building Trust with Your Mentee

This guide provides mentors with 10 simple rules for being a successful mentor.  

This article provides 8 quick ways to build trust with your mentee.

This resource identifies ways to build trust, effectively communicate and problem solve with your mentee.

Examining Experiences and Purpose

Probably as a general rule, we all move through life too quickly.  We buzz from this event to that one.  Flip out to get this project done so that we can start the next one.  Get frenzied about meeting the next deadline while also hoping nobody calls us out on the fact that we’ve missed their deadline.  Then, maybe we get the well-deserved opportunity for some mindless pass time for a little rest- a video game, TV time, maybe a long nap.  We don’t often take a whole lot of time to consider what it is that we are up to and whether or not where we are headed is something that we like all that much.  Making sense of our experiences and taking a long, deep look at what we do is a serious part of being successful and happy.

It would be good to spend some of your mentoring time getting your student to reflect.  Following is a method for deeper reflection to draw meaning out of the experiences of the day.  Ideally, one would get into the habit of doing this daily, but doing this on occasion is certainly better than not doing it at all.  It is a purposeful process- probably like what some people do when writing in a journal or diary.  It can be approached very thoroughly, or very casually.

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE THAT LIFE IS BIG.  Consider for a few minutes that the world is a big place, and although we can live inside our own little heads and feel so isolated or unique, we’re not alone and lots of people make it through life happily and successfully all the time.  Ultimately, the point at this time is to relax.  Set worries to the side for a few minutes and just unwind.  Perspective.
  2. FIND REASONS TO BE GRATEFUL FROM TODAY.  There’s always something- friendships, nice weather, the cold glass of milk with cookies.  Even rough interactions with people, sad events, and challenges can be reasons to be grateful.  They strengthen us despite the stress, they teach us a lesson despite being uncomfortable.
  3. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR EMOTIONS.   Sometimes we legitimately try to hide the way we very naturally react to life.  Hide fear, suppress sadness.  You can hide them from others, but you’ve got to acknowledge them for yourself at least.  No bad emotions- they just are.  Pay attention to them.
  4. RECALL ONE PARTICULAR MOMENT OF THE DAY.  If you spend a few minutes on each step of this process, by the time you get here, to #4, there’s likely going to be a moment that rises to the top for some significant reason- good, bad, happy sad- whatever.  Think deeply about it for a while.
  5. THINK ABOUT TOMORROW.  This isn’t really about intensely reviewing plans and agendas, and making lists of stuff to accomplish.  In this reflection exercise, it’s more setting an attitude for good things tomorrow- being a little better, doing one or two things that help you get a little closer to your goals, thinking about doing something for someone else beyond yourself.  At least it is about setting yourself up with a positive mindset and can-accomplish attitude rather than feeling overwhelmed, fearful or even neutral.
    Additional Resources:
    The Mentor’s Guide to Youth Purpose:  The Art of Helping a Young Person Find Meaning, a Sense of Self, and Ways of Giving Back to Their World
    In this Ted Talk, Mentoring Specialist, Shawn Blanchard, discusses the science of mentoring.