The Youth Mentoring Network

For Programmes

Mentoring essentials


A pre-training face-to-face interview between programme staff and mentors sends a message to the latter that they are valued members of the programme who will be supported throughout the mentoring journey.

Affirming mentors both publicly and privately is vitally important for the retention of volunteer adult mentors. This can take the form of a telephone call, a text message, an email or an article in a newsletter or community newspaper.

Youth mentoring programmes can nominate mentors (with their permission) for specific community awards or ask them to share experiences in a public forum.

Highlights of mentoring relationships can be featured on websites or, in a business partnership with a youth mentoring organisation, on the particular company's intranet or bulletin board.

Programme staff can give surprise recognition rewards at ongoing training and supervision gatherings e.g., petrol, entertainment or meal vouchers.

Programmes can plan annual breakfasts, lunches, dinners or other fun activities, such as Scavenger Hunts with major sponsored prizes for mentors and young people to celebrate and recognise the contributions of mentors.

Certificates can be presented to mentors and young people when specific goals are achieved or their relationship has continued for a specific period of time e.g., 9 months, 12 months etc.

Weekly email tips and words of encouragement can be sent to all mentors, helping them to feel valued members of the mentoring community, at the same time increasing their mentoring skill levels.

Birthday greetings and letters or cards of appreciation from programme staff to mentors and young people will always be appreciated.

A letter to a mentor's employer acknowledging and affirming the mentor's contribution to the programme is a powerful way to recognise and retain mentors.

All recognition should be genuine and honest, acknowledging specific contributions of individual mentors wherever possible.

Programme staff are encouraged to ensure that mentors have access to programme policies and procedures, emergency contact numbers, as well as relevant books, articles and other resources which might enhance the mentoring relationship.

Programme staff should also openly acknowledge and value feedback from all involved in the mentoring journey, a positive way to recognise and retain mentors.

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