Teen mentoring programs require regular staff monitoring and support. Matches that are monitored are more satisfying and successful, and lead to more positive youth outcomes9. When teen mentoring programs are not adequately supported by adult guidance and supervision, programs will be less effective and have the capacity to do as much harm as good because mentors have a greater opportunity to model and encourage age-inappropriate, unconventional, risk-taking behaviours to their mentees3. A staff member should be designated to take the lead in implementing and supervising the teen mentoring program. Step 7: Tool A – Teen Mentoring Program Staff Job Description (Sample) outlines common responsibilities of this role.
Monitoring and supervision should focus on ensuring:
- Match participants are safe.
- Match participants are following program rules and guidelines.
- Match participants are attending on a regular basis.
- Mentors are providing appropriate role modeling.
- Match participants are satisfied with their relationship.
- Problems and challenges are addressed as they arise.
- Matches are engaging in positive, constructive and appropriate activities.
Tips for monitoring teen mentoring matches:
- Regularly observe match meetings.
- Balance providing support with allowing matches to practice problem-solving, conflict-resolution and communication skills with one another4.
- Clearly define and reinforce ground rules and program expectations as needed.
- Check in with mentors and mentees on a regular basis. Meetings do not need to be lengthy but should provide opportunities for sharing of thoughts and ideas and to proactively address any concerns. Step 7: Tool B – Match Monitoring Questions (Sample) can be used as a guideline.
- Keep documentation or notes of any observations, match monitoring meetings or contacts.
- Be available in person or by e-mail as needed and let mentors and mentees know they can contact staff whenever necessary.
- Have mentors and/ or mentees fill out a match activity log or journal, such as Step 7: Tool C – Teen Mentoring Journal, to explain how they spent their time.
- Speak with teachers and school staff who observe matches or interact with the students for any feedback or observations.
- By implementing a mentoring CTS course it is ensured that students will receive ongoing training and support.
It is important that students understand their participation and time makes a difference in the school community. Recognition activities help students understand the impact they have had, foster feelings of success and accomplishment, reinforce their connections to what they have accomplished, allow students to share their accomplishments with others, support the retention of volunteers and adds visibility to the program to recruit new students24. Recognition events may increase student self-esteem, self-efficacy, and social status, and facilitate the development of one’s identity as a helping, caring individual9. Activities may include:
- Newsletter highlighting the program and activities
- Newspaper articles
- School assembly recognition
- Pizza party
- Appreciation breakfast
- Public presentations
- Off campus trips
- Regularly saying ‘thank you’