For Mentoring Sessions
mentors meet with their mentees without any preconceived
plans and let the mentees concerns shape the sessions. They
may consider possible topics of conversation or select some
materials to use. Still others may thoroughly per pare in
advance, by planning each activity. Whether a mentor plans
carefully or responds spontaneously, it is helpful to b
familiar with possible activities he or she can use during
the mentoring sessions.
following are suggestions for mentor/mentee activities.
Current mentors contributed many of these ideas for activities.
Choose activities that are appropriate for the age of the
the mentee to keep a record of meetings. Ask the
child to keep a journal and ask the child to write down
his or her thoughts each day after meeting together. Stress
that this is confidential unless he or she wants to share
it. Girls will probably be more amenable to this than boys
since it is similar to keeping a diary. Reluctant boys might
at least be willing to record the dates of the meetings
with their mentors; the lengthening number of entries becomes
a concrete record of the commitment to them. Writing about
eh time together, even if sporadic, will help mentees develop
reflection skills. It will also be useful to them near the
end of the mentoring relationship to se the changes that
have occurred. Mentees may come to value the notebook as
symbol of friendship.
the mentee be the expert. Discover something the
mentee is knowledgeable about and let him or her be the
teacher. One woman mentor brought a computer football game
for her male mentee to play. He explained the rules of the
game and the types of plays to her. Another mentor had a
Muslim mentee. He encouraged his mentee to teach him about
his religion and share the significance of Muslim religious
holidays as they occurred during the school year. When the
mentee has the opportunity to be the expert, and the mentor
shows genuine interest, the mentees sense of competence
and self-worth may blossom.
on skills the mentee would like to improve. One
student, who had been hired by a fast food restaurant, was
uneasy about her ability to count change. The mentor brought
paper and coins and practiced with her until she felt capable
of managing this aspect of her job. She also helped her
mentee study for her driving for her driving permit. Mentors
might also show mentees how to balance a checkbook or savings
a current event from a newspaper or magazine article with
the mentee. Encourage the student to express his
or her own opinion about it.
magazines that would appeal to the interests of the mentee
Sports magazines (such as Sports Illustrated), fashion magazines
( like Seventeen), magazines of specific ethnic groups (such
as Ebony) are possibilities. Look through them together
and talk about some of the articles and photographs.
cultural traditions. Differing traditions can be
fertile ground for conversation and better understanding
of one another. Mentors can explain some of the special
aspects of their heritage and encourage mentees to share
a creative way to deal with an area of concern in the mentee's
life. A student suffered the loss of a treasured
dog during a crisis in his life a number of years previously.
He still felt sadness about the loss. His mentor helped
him make a simple drawing of his dog and carve it out of
wood. He received credit for the completed project in his
mutual interests to share. One mentor discovered
her mentee writes poetry, as she does. They share poetry
with each other. Adolescent poetry often reveals the internal
struggles and concerns of young people and can provide new
avenues of conversation.
the mentee develop decisions making skills.
One mentor had her mentee write in a column all the positives
that could result from a particular decision and in another
column all the negatives. Putting these on paper helped
the mentee clarify the issue, sort out the possible consequences
of this decision and evaluate whether it would be a wise
a pictorial life journey. Show the mountain tops
and the valleys, the special events and the meaningful persons
along the way. Use symbols of rain, lightning bolts or sunshine,
happy or sad faces, or different colors for different emotions.
Then continue the journey into the future. What is on the
road ahead? When both the mentor and mentee create and share
their journeys, trust and understanding are built. All that
is needed is a little creativity.
the discovery of five new words a week. The words
mentors have to learn might be you jargon or slang that
the mentee can define for them.
the mentee in organizing school work and developing study
schedules. One mentor showed his mentee how to
use a business planner to help organize his time. The student
now carries it with him.
class with the mentee. Important insights are gained
when a mentor experiences the classroom firsthand. Ask the
mentee and teacher permission to attend class with him or
- Do something
active with the mentee. Although gymnasiums are
usually in use during the school day, mentors and mentees
could walk the track, shoot baskets outside court, throw
football or toss a Frisbee.
something special to share. Perhaps something special
like a hobby or an interesting object. Bring something that
has particular meaning such as a treasured item from a grandparent.
Share the story behind it. Ask the mentee to also bring
something that is of particular interest or significance
to him or her. These make excellent entrances to conversation.
keep the mentee accountable for attendance and work completed
(if this has been a problem). Ask each week if
he or she missed any school or did not complete school work.
Explore the reasons for the absence of incomplete work,
help develop goals for the following week and review progress
each week. However, be sure this is done in a friendly,
helpful way. Mentors are not teachers or parents, but supportive
of a Mentor