The Blavin Scholars program is so much more than just a college scholarship program. Our initiative includes a network of additional support resources for students including housing, room supplies, academic guidance, and mentorship. Assisting these students in various ways is critical to help ensure their success, and mentoring is probably one of the most critical components.
Being a mentor for youth who have aged out of foster care can drastically change their outcomes. And these older kids often feel especially alone without family or other connections. Faced with an overwhelming array of decisions to make once they age out, a mentor can make all the difference, but what makes a good mentor? We really like the five elements described in this article Five Keys for Effective Mentoring.
This article lists these five key elements:
- That there are any “right” ways to set up a mentoring relationship
- The mentors need to commit for the long-term
- Properly match mentees with mentors
- Recruiting, training and supporting your mentor network
- Starting small
For us, #2 is probably one of the most important of these five elements – committing for the long-term. Foster care youth have often had a long history of no one sticking around. From their family of origin to multiple foster families, these kids have typically moved around a lot and have failed to make lasting connections with an adult. Being a good mentor means making the personal commitment to stay with that youth for the long haul to show them they can count on you. That one element could be the difference between their future success and failure.