50 Ways to be a Great Mentor in a Post-Pandemic Global Community

The following suggestions are adapted from ’50 Ways to Be a Great Mentor and Support Mentoring in Texas’, from the OneStar Foundation. They reinforce key aspects of establishing effective mentoring programs.

1. Become a mentor – a trusted friend and guide.
2. Commit to at least one year with your mentee.
3. Ask your friends to become mentors.
4. Enlist your co-workers as mentors.
5. Ask your employer to give all employees one paid hour a week to mentor.
6. Demonstrate to your mentee that you are consistent, dependable, and trustworthy.
7. Consistently act in ways that are ethical to earn the trust of your mentee.
8. Know the mission of your mentoring program.
9. Always follow the guidelines of your mentoring program.
10. Seek out shared opportunities to enhance the knowledge and skills of your mentee.
11. Value the diverse economic, cultural, and religious traits of your mentee.
12. Maintain regular contact with your mentoring program staff to ensure effective mentoring practices.
13. Have fun with your mentee as you learn together – mentoring should not be all work and no play.
14. Do not criticize the program staff in front of your mentee.
15. Do less talking and more listening so your mentee can share their thoughts.
16. Do not make inappropriate remarks about your mentee’s family.
17. Be a positive role model in both word and deed.
18. Never engage in inappropriate physical contact with your mentee.
19. Maintain a cheerful and positive attitude with your mentee.
20. Participate in National Mentoring Month (January), where relevant.
21. Support community efforts to encourage volunteerism.
22. Never violate the law or organizational codes of conduct.
23. Expect a personal interview by your mentoring provider organization to understand what is expected of you.
24. Be able to cite statistics about the positive impact of mentoring.
25. Put mentoring information on the bulletin board at your office, church, or school.
26. Take your mentee to your office.
27. Help your mentee fill out financial aid forms when necessary.
28. Help your mentee complete a C.V. or Resume.
29. Keep conversations confidential between you and your mentee.
30. Be an advisor, not a preacher.
31. Be a sympathetic listener, not a psychologist.
32. Be a friend, not a surrogate parent.
33. Talk to a teacher or counselor or program staff member if your mentee has problems you cannot help with.
34. Refrain from profanity or other inappropriate speech.
35. Know that you must authorize a background check for criminal history before you become a mentor.
36. Know that your driving record might be scrutinized.
37. Know that “thank you” may come in the form of a hug or a smile instead of words.
38. Work on the computer with your mentee to sharpen technology skills.
39. Read a story to your mentee to expand his/her knowledge of literature.
40. Play games such as basketball or chess with your mentee.
41. Sing songs or play music with your mentee.
42. Do math problems or science projects with your mentee.
43. Take walks and talk with your mentee.
44. Have lunch with your mentee.
45. Celebrate your mentee’s birthday with a card.
46. Build something with your mentee.
47. Take pictures throughout the year and keep them in a photo album.
48. Write stories or keep a journal with your mentee.
49. Encourage mentoring provider organizations to enroll in a mentor training course.
50. Enjoy the satisfaction of making a difference in the life of a child.

Adapted from 50 Ways to Be a Great Mentor

How to build meaningful relationships with youth

My latest book, published in September 2021, shares how my teachers, coaches and mentors who guided me through a recovery from cancer journey as a young boy taught me so much, so I eventually became a teacher and youth mentor program developer, as well as a mentor trainer. CHOICES: Encouraging Youth to Achieve Greatness is loaded with strategies, tips and offers a proven framework to guide youth to reach their potential. It is also available on Amazon and Kindle.