What to Expect at a Meeting
A schedule of session dates, with session topics outlined, is created for the school year and distributed in September. There are typically eight sessions between October and May. Sessions are held once each month on the same day of the week and at the same time and last approximately two to three hours, with the exception of field trips. Field trips vary by chapter, but chapters usually go on two field trips: a visit to a place of employment and a post-highschool educational campus visit. Those sessions may be up to five hours long including travel time.
Prior to each session, mentors will receive information detailing what is to be covered in the session. You will be shown the purpose and expected outcomes for the topic and any additional details necessary to help you understand what to expect. You will be advised if there is anything you need to do ahead of time to prepare for the session.
There is a mentor or mentor pair responsible for the organization of each session. They will present the agenda and facilitate the session. They are responsible for bringing any materials, arranging speakers, and setting up activities. If the facilitators require mentors to do anything ahead of time or help in some way, they will send their request prior to the session along with the session purpose and expected outcomes. A Facilitators Guide provides a checklist of what is required at each session. Each session also has a well-defined purpose and expected outcomes, and each session includes a mix of large group, small group, and one-on-one mentor activities. In planning session activities, consideration is given to maximizing the time the mentor and mentee spend together. During the entire session you will be engaging with your mentee, getting to know them, sharing, problem solving, and guiding them even within the group setting. Mentors are expected to dress neatly and appropriately in business casual attire, unless instructed otherwise for an activity, to set an example for mentees.
The First Meeting
The first meeting is designed to introduce the program, form the mentoring partnerships, and get acquainted. Similar to other meetings, you can expect to participate in a facilitated agenda.
Be prepared to share:
- Introduction of yourself (family, where you grew up, interests, hobbies, etc.)
- Your motivation for being a mentor
- A goal you currently have (to set an example of setting and achieving goals), within the context of Hope for Tomorrow or otherwise
Be prepared to learn about your mentee:
- Be curious about them, yet respect the degree to which they choose to share
- Learn what drew them to participate in the program
- Ask about general goals and what is important to them
- Optionally, you may explore any concerns they have about participating in the program or working with a new person
The basic way that mentors demonstrate commitment to mentees is by attending all meetings, so aim to make this a priority. Mentees are missing class and making up work on their own time to participate; mentors want to reciprocate this commitment. If you expect to miss two or more sessions in a year, consider becoming a substitute mentor or work on arranging an alternative solution with your chapter lead.
If you do have a conflict or illness, contact your chapter leader as soon as possible. He or she will make arrangements to cover your mentee during that session. You can also consider providing a note or other communication to personally connect with the mentee without being present.
If your mentee is absent, you will be asked to play a different role in the facilitation of the session or work with other mentees. Your chapter leader will provide direction.