The Scoop on YouthBuild Mentoring

Student Section

In the student section of the Community of Practice site, you’ll find resources and information about participating in YouthBuild mentoring, as well as tips to help make the experience a positive one!

What is a mentor?

A mentor is someone you can trust—someone who cares about you and your future, and who takes a personal stake in your success in YouthBuild and in life. YouthBuild mentors are volunteers who can work with you on developing your YouthBuild Life Plan, identifying your strengths and how to make the most of them, and dealing with any challenges you might face at school, work, or in your personal life.

Why would someone want to mentor me?

Your YouthBuild mentor is interested in you just the way you are. He or she can see the strengths you have to offer and help you figure out how to build on them. Mentors decide to share their time with young people because they know that everyone needs a helping hand on the road to success. They’re hanging out with you because they want to, not because they have to.

What's in it for me? Why would I want a mentor?

YouthBuild mentors can talk to you when you need support and can help you make good choices (and learn from your mistakes when you don’t). But they don’t judge you or hold your past against you. They are here to help you become the best person you can be. Mentors can also connect you with people and places in your community that can help you reach your goals. Most importantly, a mentor is someone you can trust. They’ve got your back.

How do I get a mentor?

Ideally, you can pick your own. If you know someone you think would be a good mentor for you, go ahead and tell your mentoring coordinator that you have someone in mind. He or she will follow up with this person to see if they can join the program.

If you don’t have anyone in mind, that’s okay too. Your program will help you find a mentor. You might take part in a group activity that helps you get to know and select possible mentors, or your program might match you with a volunteer. Sometimes the ideal mentor is someone who shares your interests and life experiences; other times it’s someone with a different background that you can learn a lot from. Your mentoring coordinator will work hard to find the best mentor for you. Either way, you’ll have a say in who you get as a mentor.

What do I do with my mentor?

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to do or say when you first meet your YouthBuild mentor. Like any other friendship, it might take a little while to feel totally relaxed together.

As you get to know your mentor better, the two of you will decide together what you want to do. It might just be hanging out and catching up. Sometimes you’ll check in about your YouthBuild Life Plan and work on parts you’re unsure about or celebrate goals you’ve met. Really, the possibilities are endless and totally up to you and your mentor. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Explore financial aid options for school
  • Go for a hike
  • Visit your mentor’s place of work
  • Tour a college or technical school campus
  • Share your favorite music
  • Get help with homework
  • Attend a community event, like a street fair or concert
  • Learn about low-cost things to do for fun in your community
  • Cook a meal with a group of other mentors and mentees
  • Shop for groceries; compare nutrition facts and prices
  • Learn something new together
  • Develop a business plan for an idea you have
  • Restore an old car
  • Work on a service project with other mentors and mentees
  • Make a music or home video to submit to a contest

How does my mentor fit into my overall YouthBuild experience?

At YouthBuild, you’ll meet lots of caring individuals—teachers, counselors, work-site supervisors, the program director, guest speakers, and others—that you can talk to and learn from. These people are your support system—helping you achieve your goals in YouthBuild.

Your YouthBuild mentor is another important part of this support system. You and your mentor will meet for at least four hours each month (occasionally at the YouthBuild site, but most often out in the community). Your mentor can help you look at your goals and challenges in new ways and provide new opportunities and supports to help you as you complete YouthBuild.

Be sure to check out this list of tips on how to get the most out of your relationship.