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Once youíve made the commitment to be a mentor you want to make sure that the relationship works.  Here are some tips for getting off on the right foot and keeping it that way.

Introduce Yourself : To begin establishing a mentoring relationship, you may want to give your mentee some information about yourself, such as:

  • What the mentee should call you.
  • Why you decided to be mentor.
  • Some information about your career history. 
  • The URL of your personal homepage, or to your employer's site .  
  • Information about your hobbies and interests
  • A brief description of your job, how you spend your time there, projects or research you are currently working on.
  • Information about your educational background 

Establish Regular Contact:  Mentoring pairs who maintain regular contact do the best. Not every contact needs to be lengthy. Consistency of contact is most important.  So, decide on a schedule and then make it a top priority to stick to it.  Try to set aside a specific time to at least touch base each week.  Schedule lengthier blocks of time less often for planned activities.

Set Expectations:  Talk with your mentee about what he or she hopes to get out of the relationship.  Be realistic about your time as you begin to set goals.  You may want to communicate with your mentee about your busy schedule, any times you will be out of town, and when you will have limited access to email. 

Plan Fun Activities that Help you Bond:  Some Examples are:

  • Go ice skating or roller skating

  • Take in a high school basketball game

  • Do a woodcrafting project together like building a birdhouse or a doll house.

  • Visit a local cider mill

  • Check local parks and recreation departments for activities Ė fall walks in autumn to look at the colors, sledding in the winter

  • Go for a bike ride

  • Have a picnic

  • Bake cookies or learn to make an apple pie from scratch (pick the apples at the cider mill!)

  • Share your own school experiences.

  • Fly a kite

  • Help your mentee look for an after school job

  • Go to the zoo

  • Take in a community play

  • Go to a free outdoor concert

  • Discuss dream jobs Ė talk about what it takes to reach that dream

  • Help your mentee set some goals for the school year.  What do they hope to accomplish?  How can you help?

  • Do some volunteer work together

Re-evaluate As You Go:  If you have set some goals together, is there any progress being made towards reaching them?  If not, what needs to change?  Are you meeting often enough or too much?  Are activities fun and rewarding?

Renegotiate:  Be flexible.  If things need to change, change them.  Donít take it personally if the mentoring partnership isnít perfect right away.  Just keep communication open and keep working until you find a blend of activities and work that meets the needs of both the mentee and mentor.

And most of all - Have fun and learn from each other!



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