RCMC provides direct services to youth mentor  programs throughout Riverside County by:  hosting a web site and mentor information hotline, hosting an annual mentor recognition event, providing training and technical assistance and encouraging member best practices.

Best Practices

10 Best Practices for Sustaining

a Successful Mentor Program

 

 

1. A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND A LONG RANGE PLAN THAT INCLUDES:
    • Who, What, Where, When, Why and How activities will be performed.
    • Input from originators, staff, funders, potential volunteers, and participants.
    • Assessment of community need.
    • Realistic, attainable, and easy-to-understand operational plan.
    • Goals, objectives, and timelines for all aspects of the plan.
    • Funding and resourced development plan.

2. A RECRUITMENT PLAN FOR BOTH MENTORS AND MENTEES THAT INCLUDES:
    • Strategies that portray accurate expectations and benefits.
    • Year round marketing and public relations.
    • Targeted outreach based on participants' needs.
    • Volunteer opportunities beyond mentoring.

3. AN ORIENTATION FOR MENTORS AND MENTEES THAT INCLUDES:
    • Program overview.
    • Description of eligibility, screening process, and suitability requirements.
    • Level of commitment expected (time, energy, and flexibility).
    • Expectations and restrictions (accountability).
    • Benefits and rewards they can expect.
    • A separate focus for potential mentors and participants.
    • A summary of program policies & procedures for mentors

 

4. ELIGIBILITY SCREENING FOR MENTORS AND MENTEES THAT INCLUDES:
    • An application process and review.
    • Face-to-face interview.
   • Reference checks from mentors which must include finger printing and  criminal record checks where legally permissible. (May also include character references, child abuse registry check, and driving record checks).
    • Suitability criteria that relate to the program statement of purpose and needs of the target population. Could include some or all of the following: personality profile; skills identification; gender; age; language and racial requirements; level of education; career interest; motivation for volunteering; and academic standing.
    • Successful completion of pre-match training and orientation.

5. A READINESS AND TRAINING CURRICULUM FOR ALL MENTORS AND MENTEES THAT INCLUDES:
    • Trained staff.
    • Orientation to program and resource network, including information and referral, other supportive services, and schools.
    • Skill development as appropriate.
    • Cultural/heritage sensitivity and appreciation training.
    • Guidelines for participants on how to get the most out of the mentoring relationship.
    • Do's and don'ts of relationship management.
    • Job and role descriptions.
    • Confidentiality and liability information.
    • Crisis management/problem solving resources.
    • Ongoing sessions as necessary.

6. A MATCHING STRATEGY THAT INCLUDES:
    • A link with the program's statement of purpose.
    • A commitment to consistency.
    • A grounding in the program's eligibility criteria.
    • A rationale for the selection of this particular matching strategy from the wide range of available models.
    • Appropriate criteria for matches, including some or all of the following: gender; age; language; requirements; availability; needs; interests; preferences of volunteer and participant; life experience; temperament.
    • Signed statements of understanding that both parties agree to the conditions of the match and the mentoring relationship.
    • The program may have pre-match social activities between mentor and mentees.
    • Team building activities to reduce the anxiety of the first meeting.

7. A MONITORING PROCESS THAT INCLUDES:
    • Consistent scheduled meetings with staff, mentors, and mentees.
    • A tracking system for ongoing assessment.
    • Written records.
    • Input from family, community partners, and significant others.
    • A process for managing grievances, praise, rematching, interpersonal problem solving, and premature relationship closure.

8. A SUPPORT, RECOGNITION AND RETENTION COMPONENT THAT MAY INCLUDE:
    • A formal kick-off event.
    • Ongoing peer support groups for volunteers, participants, and others.
    • Ongoing training and development.
    • Relevant issue discussion and information dissemination.
    • Networking with appropriate organizations.
    • Social gatherings of different groups as needed.
    • Annual recognition and appreciation event.
    • Newsletters or other mailings to mentors, mentees, supporters and funders.

9. CLOSURE STEPS THAT INCLUDE:
    • Private and confidential exit interviews to de-brief the mentoring relationship between:
    • Participants and staff.
    • Mentor and staff.
    • Mentor and mentee without staff.
    • Clearly stated policy for future contacts.
    • Assistance for participating in defining next steps for achieving personal goals.

10. A EVALUATION PROCESS BASED ON:
    • Outcome analysis of program and relationship.
    • Program criteria and statement of purpose.
    • Information needs of board, funders, community partners, and other supporters of the program.