Teen Mentoring Toolkit
Tools for planning, implementing and evaluating a quality school or community-based teen mentoring Initiative
“Students are entitled to welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respect diversity and nurture a sense of belonging and a positive sense of self.” Education Act.
Mentoring relationships change over time and may end for a variety of reasons that are both predictable and unpredictable: a match may not get along, a participant may drop out of the program, life circumstances may make it difficult to continue the commitment, or the initiative ends. Matches that end prematurely can result in negative outcomes for mentees, such as increases in problem behaviours. These outcomes are especially associated with matches that end abruptly or unexpectedly, as matches lacking appropriate closure can lead to youth feeling rejected and bad about themselves. Good practice is to make mentors and mentees aware from the beginning that matches have a beginning, middle and end. Discussing the importance of formally closing a match and asking for staff support if they are struggling to maintain their match throughout the program can be included as part of the in-person mentor and mentee training. In K-9 or k-12 schools match closure may be different. Students may decide to continue meeting outside of the more formal initiative. This needs to be a discussion between the students and expectations need to be clearly defined so there is no confusion or disappointment. Depending on the age of the students, schools may need to get permission from parents/caregivers. When mentors and mentees are unsure of how to manage difficult situations, some opt to abandon the relationship. It is important matches receive support from staff when difficulties arise to support them through these situations to prevent premature closure.
Whether planned or unplanned, closure is a common part of the match and needs to be handled appropriately. It is important to have an intentional closure process with the goal of ending the relationship positively and provide opportunities for learning. Further detail can be found in Step 8: Tool A - Guidelines for Effective Closure of a Match.
The concept of closure in Indigenous communities can be different. For more information – Additional Resources.
Tips for Closing a Match:
- Staff can identify and clarify the reasons for closure with both the mentor and mentee in a constructive way that promotes learning from the experience.
- Encourage the mentor and mentee to share their feelings about ending the relationship.
- Mentors and mentees can discuss any successes and accomplishments in the match and speak honestly about their experience with one another.
- Matches can participate in a special activity for their last meeting. One idea is to hold a ‘graduation night’ which allow mentees to have a sense of closure with both the mentor and the program.
“We acknowledge that we are on and support Mentoring for Youth in the traditional territories across Alberta of the many First Nations from Treaty 6,7,& 8, the Métis of the 8 Alberta Settlements, and Inuit people whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries.”