The Youth Mentoring Network


The mentoring role


"Do not look at the wrinkles on our faces, think of the wisdom in our heads." Mentor, One Tree Hill 

Mentors are caring individuals who move alongside young people to encourage them to reach their unique potential. These young people feel unconditionally cared for and valued in structured and trusting relationships, while their lives gain meaning and purpose.

Mentoring is not about saving or rescuing young people, nor about 'fixing' their families, prescribing ways they should live or behave, funding their lifestyle or trying to be a 'cool peer'.

The following 2 minute youtube clip from the Dream Mentoring Programme is a great little snapshot of depicting the mentoring role.  youtube clip

Youth Mentoring Resources - fun activities to bring to your mentoring sessions

When you are stuck for an idea on what to do with your mentee (young person) at your next meeting then this repository of activities is a great place to start. It covers a wide range of areas including: communication; relationship building; positive attitude and identity; culture and diversity and academic support. Thank you to the University of Auckland, the Great Potentials Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation for making this repository of activities freely available for everyone to use in their mentoring sessions.

Click on the following link to access these activities:

Mentoring Based on Resiliency

People often focus on the risk factors when working with students who are discouraged or from an adverse environment. In contrast, resiliency building is based on the belief that all young people have strengths and can act on them.

Mentors who adopt a "resiliency perspective" focus on nurturing and strengthening "protective factors". These are the essential elements of resiliency building, and they can mitigate negative and stressful experiences and enable young people to overcome adversity. They transcend ethnicity, cultural difference and socio-economic class and make a profound impact on the lives of young people who grow up under adverse conditions. They are about meeting the basic human needs for caring, belonging, respect and self-determination.

Source: From material in Peters & Thurlow 2002

Protective Factors that Enable Resliency

Relationships Able to form positive relationships
Service Gives self in service to others and/or a cause
Life Skills Uses skills including good decision-making, assertiveness and conflict resolution
Humour Has a good sense of humour
Perceptiveness Has insight into understanding people and situations
Independence Able to distance from unhealthy people and situations
Positive View of personal future Confident of ability to achieve goals
Flexibility Able to adjust to change and cope with situations
Love of learning Has capacity for, and connection to, learning
Self-motivation Has internal initiative and positive motivation
Competence Is "good at something"
Self-worth Has feelings of self-worth and confidence
Spirituality Has personal faith in something greater
Perserverance Keeps on despite difficulty/not giving up
Creativity Expresses through artistic endeavour