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.


Recruiting the right mentors and mentees is key to success. School-based teen mentoring initiatives have a constant supply of potential mentors and mentees to draw from. This section focuses on building a recruitment strategy to attract those students best suited to become successful teen mentors and those students who will benefit most from the program as mentees.


Recruiting Mentors

The first step in recruiting mentors is to establish criteria for the youth you want to attract. Develop a Teen Mentor Job Description that outlines the position, time commitment, responsibilities, and benefits, as well as the eligibility criteria, qualifications and attributes that mentors should have to be effective in their role. Step 2: Tool A –Teen Mentor Job Description (Sample) provides an example. In establishing your Teen Mentor Job. Description, consider the following details as part of the eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria is the minimum and preferred criteria necessary for a student to become a mentor.


  • Age and/or grade. Evidence suggests that high school students are more prepared to use good judgement, maintain boundaries, and be a “wise and trusted friend” than middle school or junior high students and that there are larger positive effects for participants when the pair attend different schools. Furthermore, the benefits of mentoring programs on middle and elementary school-aged mentors are smaller than the benefits for high-school aged mentors. However, with support, middle school/junior high students can be successful and benefit from a mentoring experience. It is recommended that there is an age difference of at least two years and/ or two grades between the mentor and the mentee to increase the opportunity for mentors to take a leadership role in the match and be seen as more experienced role models.
  • Availability. It will be necessary that mentors can fully commit to the program which will involve a specific number of hours per month for a specific amount of time (ex. 1 hour/ week for a full school year). The eligibility criteria may also include that mentors complete the screening process, and are available to attend orientation and training session(s). You can help ensure students follow through with their commitments by choosing youth who are not overcommitted to other programs or activities. If looking at whole class mentoring, providing an alternate activity such as a project around an area of interest would be an option.
  • Desired skills, characteristics and attributes. You may choose to recruit students with a desire to help others, consistent attendance, passing grades, and a level of school connectedness, amongst other skills and strengths. Some characteristics of a successful mentor include: caring, patient, flexible, good listener, stable, can provide leadership, reliable, responsible, committed, nonjudgmental, open-minded, accepts differences, will keep information confidential, likes children, and has a good sense of humour .
  • Prerequisite courses. It may be required that students are registered in or have completed a class, course or credit (ex. CTS Mentoring Courses).
  • AMP Teen Mentoring in Schools Webinar: Mentor Recruitment

Tips for Recruiting Mentors:

  • When starting a new teen mentoring initiative, you may choose to start slowly and be selective for the first year to establish the reputation of the program and to ensure it is manageable.
  • Offer mentoring as part of a leadership or CTS course so that mentors can receive credits for their time. It maybe important that youth voluntarily choose to participate in mentoring programs or classes as the use of ‘mandatory mentors’ can limit the gains for mentees. 
  • Get the word out early in the school year to recruit students before they become too busy with other leadership and extracurricular opportunities. A major challenge with engaging teen mentors can be competing demands in their lives that cause scheduling conflicts.
  • Try to involve teen mentors before their final year of school. Younger students are more likely to carry over their match into subsequent years.
  • Ask teachers and counsellors to refer or nominate students who would be effective teen mentors. Share information at staff meetings to let everyone know about these opportunities.
  • Promote teen mentoring at meetings for student organizations, clubs and groups.
  • Connect personally with potential mentors. Set up booths at school events, speak to classes, and/or provide an information session for interested students. Keep the presentation brief and entertaining and have application forms available after the session. Step 2: Tool B - Teen Mentor Application and Parent/ Guardian Permission Form (Sample) can be adapted for your program and made available during the recruitment phase.
  • Support existing Teen Mentors to recruit their friends. Encourage them to share with their peers the reasons they got involved in the program and what they enjoyed about the experience. Give them pamphlets to share with their friends. Word of mouth is often the best strategy.
  • Use common, accessible and strength-based language in all of your recruitment materials.
  • Recruit students who represent a diverse range of abilities, interests, cultures, and qualities. Students with a variety of experiences can empathize with their peers and treat them more as equals. Research shows that students with high academic achievement are not always the best mentors. Consider the ‘unlikely leaders’ as well. Those who may not see themselves as having something to offer often make excellent mentors.
  • Use a marketing campaign using posters, brochures, announcements, newsletters and other available advertising formats at your school.


Recruiting Mentees

It is important to set mentee eligibility criteria that aligns with your initiatives goals and objectives. Who are the targeted mentees? How old are they? Which students will benefit most from this opportunity? Will they be recruited from within your school or a partnering school? Will they be nominated individually or as a class? Other factors to consider for mentee selection are availability, scheduling, and student strengths and needs.

Tips for Recruiting Mentees:

  • Solicit nominations from teachers, counsellors, administrators, parents/ guardians and support staff.
  • Create opportunities for youth to self-nominate by advertising the initiatives.
  • Emphasize the benefits for mentees to get them excited about participating.
  • Recruit a cross-section of youth that represent a wide range of abilities, skills, interests, and experiences to reduce stigma and to reach a wide range of students.
  • Prepare a mentee nomination package including an overview of the initiative; nomination and/or application
    forms; parent/guardian permission forms; and any other information. The following sample documents can be adapted and provided to potential mentees, parents/guardians, and teachers:



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“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.”