The planning process is essential to developing effective programs that will best serve your students and have the greatest impact on the school community. Keep in mind that you do not need to take on this process alone. Engage mentoring champions and stakeholders from your school and community such as teachers, administration, student groups, support staff, parents, counsellors and community partners in the process. If you are partnering with another school, be sure to include staff from the partner school.
There is flexibility and variation in how schools run teen mentoring programs and the design will depend on the purpose and intended outcomes of the program as well as the strengths and needs of the youth you intend to serve.
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Program Mission Statement
The mission statement is a general, concise statement outlining the purpose of the teen mentoring program. You may choose to create your own, or adopt the following: The teen mentoring program will engage students in creating a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe community through the development of positive mentoring relationships.
Program Goals & Outcomes
Once you have chosen your mission statement, you can then develop the goals and intended outcomes needed to achieve your program’s mission. The program’s goals and outcomes describe the intended purpose and expected results of teen mentoring activities and establish the foundation for evaluation and assessment. Teen mentoring programs are flexible tools for achieving important goals. The program’s goals are ultimately achieved through the establishment of trusting, mutually beneficial developmental relationships between mentors and mentees.
Program goals are broad, general statements of what the mentoring program intends to accomplish. They may be tied to the broader goals of the school community, a school project or initiative, and/or broader initiatives related to mental health; bullying and relational aggression; high school completion; inclusion and diversity; making smooth transitions between schools; and positive youth development. The following documents may be useful in developing appropriate goals and outcomes for your program.
- 40 Developmental Assets (Search Institute)
- Family and Community Support Services Outcomes Model
- Alberta Education Act
- Alberta Health Services: The Comprehensive School Health Approach
- The Heart of the Matter: Character and Citizenship Education in Alberta Schools
- Benefits of Teen Mentoring
For each goal, you will need a series of outcomes. Outcomes are the benefits or changes for individuals, families, communities or populations during or after participating in the teen mentoring program. They may involve a change in knowledge, attitude, values, skills, behaviour, condition, or status14. Teen mentoring programs have multiple levels of outcomes and benefits for mentors, mentees and the school community. It is encouraged to develop outcomes that are more immediate, measurable and short-term to focus your program and create the foundation for evaluation and assessment. School-based mentoring works best when focused on such goals as increasing connectedness, improving youth self-esteem and self-efficacy, and encouraging students to grow personally and academically5.
Use Step 1: Tool A – Goals, Outcomes, and Evaluation Plan to plan your program’s goals and outcomes, as well as determine how you will measure these changes.
Example Program Goals, Outcomes, and Evaluation Plan:
Logic Model Template
A logic model is a helpful tool for establishing a visual representation of the framework for your teen mentoring program to ensure that the program’s structure and activities align with its desired outcomes. For example, if your school establishes a teen mentoring program to increase a sense of belonging and connectedness to the school environment, there must be a rationale behind that goal, and program practices that will lead to that outcome5. A logic model helps to establish how the mentoring program will be designed to achieve specific outcomes for the students and the school community and will drive the evaluation process. Be sure that your logic model is as specific as possible5.
Step 1: Tool C – Logic Model Template is an example of a tool that can be used to develop a logic model for your teen mentoring program.
Logic Model Sample
For more information, see the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide
Adapted from Alberta Mentoring Partnership. (2006). Framework for building mentoring relationships in schools; Garringer, M. (2010). Lessons learned: Planning a school-based mentoring program. Education Northwest, 1, (4); and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. (2004). Logic Model Development Guide: Using logic models to bring together planning, evaluation, and action. Retrieved from http://www.wkkf.org/resource-directory/resource/2006/02/wk-kellogg-foundation-logic-model-development-guide.
Examples of program Logic Models:
- Logic Model for GirlPOWER!
- United Way of Central Jersey Community Investment
- YouthBuild Mentoring Logic Model
A logic model that has enough specific information on the activities planned, services provided, and expected outcomes, can drive the evaluation process by clearly identifying the items your program needs to evaluate and their measures5. The Evaluation Forms for mentors and mentees will help you to evaluate the effectiveness of your program. These can be adapted to your program’s specific goals and objectives.
As your teen mentoring program grows and develops based on what you learn through the evaluation process, so does the program logic model.
Teen mentoring is most effective when the program is highly structured1. Consider the following details:
- How many mentors and mentees can the program support? This number should reflect the amount of time your program can devote to the recruitment, screening, training and monitoring process.
- How long will the program last? Mentors and mentees need to know from the outset the length of the commitment they are making and how long they can expect the relationship to last. The program can be short-term or long-term (e.g. semester or year-long program). Longer program durations have been associated with stronger effects15. It is recommended that teen mentoring relationships engage in at least ten planned meetings to have a positive impact3.
- When and how often will the mentors meet with their mentees? The success of mentoring lies in mentors and mentees developing close friendships and meetings should happen regularly for these relationships to develop. It is helpful to set a time each week that mentors and mentors can schedule into their weekly timetable.
- Where will the mentors and mentees meet? Matches primarily meet at the school site, in full view of school staff. They often have access to school resources, such as the library, cafeteria, and gymnasium7. If mentors and mentees are recruited from different schools, mentoring sessions can take place at the mentees’ school or the mentees can be transported to the mentors’ school7.
- What will be the nature of the mentoring sessions? What types of activities will the matches do when they meet? The Match Meetings and Activities section of this toolkit has helpful ideas and resources.
- Will students receive credits or volunteer hours for their involvement? Programs can include volunteer mentors as part of a class, team, or club commitment. Alberta Education Career and Technology (CTS) mentoring courses provide the opportunity for students to participate in mentoring programs with structured learning and course credit opportunities, as well as the ongoing support and guidance of a supervising teacher. The University of Alberta also offers distance education online modules EDPY 397: Mentoring Children & Adolescents open to students who are not enrolled in a university program.
- Who will oversee the program? Who will be engaged as advisors and staff? What will be their roles and responsibilities? The Monitoring and Support section of this toolkit provides important considerations and a sample Teen Mentoring Program Staff Job Description.
- What resources will be required to deliver the program? What will it cost to run the program? What is the program’s budget? School-based teen mentoring programs require fewer financial resources than community-based mentoring programs because staff can take advantage of existing resources and the school infrastructure. Some examples of costs may include marketing and recruitment materials, training supplies, food, handouts, transportation costs; and activity supplies such as games and craft materials. Determine ahead of time what costs are required and where the funding will come from.
- Is there any community involvement in the program? Provide a list of partners and how they will be involved.