Mentor tools and Tips

January Mentor Training Tip

Video Tip: “Don’t be a Helicopter” Click Here for a quick video.

  • Mentorship is not meant to be mistake-free as life can not be mistake-free. As mentors, our job is to help students try, fail, learn and try again. Watch the above video and soak it up.

Bonus: The Zombie Apocalypse Game

DISCLAIMER: Know your audience! Some people will dive into an odd game like this while others could care less.

How to play this game?
Here is an example, but know that the scenario can be easily modified. Let’s say I’m hanging out with one of my 1:5 mentees. I simply bring up a scenario by saying something like, “Okay, we’re in Old Town Pasadena and a Zombie Apocalypse breaks out in Downtown L.A. These are the slow, “Walking Dead” type of zombies. So, where do we go? What do we grab to take with us? Who do we bring along?” And then let the conversation be free flowing.

Why play this game? - Let me give you three reasons: (1) Playing fun, and sometimes silly games can be a great way to bond. (2) A game such as this allows you to work together as a team, which helps to build trust. (3) It can be very insightful in discovering what and who matters most to a person.

The Purpose of Mentor Training:

We want to welcome you to the privilege of being selected as a part of your student’s 1:5 Circle of Care. Village Christian School is committed to equipping and training all mentors as you take on the honor of guiding your student through this journey of adolescence. We recognize being a mentor is a blessing, but not always easy; therefore, we commit to equipping you with tools and tips as you engage with your student. These periodic updates are one of the ways in which we plan to help. If you have any questions or want more information, feel free to contact me.

George Ratchford
Spiritual Life Director

1:5 Mentor Tools & Tips

Tip #1: The Power in a Note of Gratitude
Click Here to read more about the research behind the power of an encouraging note. Then, before moving on to your next task, write a note to your student and send it via text, letter or email. Don’t let the moment pass as it may be exactly what he/she needs.

Tip #2: Involvement, Sharing-Faith & Openness
In the Spring of 2016 we partnered with Fuller Thrive Center to conduct a survey of over 350 VCS high school students. Using the Positive Youth Development (PYD) score we were able to determine to key findings that are essential for mentors:

  1. Students scored higher on the PYD Confidence scale when they had a mentor regularly involved in their life.

  2. Students scored higher on the PYD Connection scale when their mentors where highly involved, shared their faith, and approached the mentoring relationship with openness.

In other words, our research has shown that being regularly involved in a student’s life, taking time to share your faith, and having an openness to what they are dealing with increases a student’s ability to be socially Connected and live with Confidence.

Practical Application:

  • Involvement (small ways and Big Ways): As mentioned earlier, sending notes of encouragement and love can be a powerful gesture. It reminds a person that they are know and someone believes in them. A bigger step is to show up at his/her game, performance, or show. Maybe set up a time to take them to a movie or grab some ice cream.

  • Share-Faith. Adolescents do not like to be “preached” at, but they want to talk about faith and real life. Make sure to ask good questions, share about Jesus, and talk through ways to live a better life.

  • Openness: Students consistently reported an aversion to mentors who were not open to their questions and real life challenges. Be a mentor that listens carefully. Try to look at what they are saying from their perspective, and then, with empathy, responds in love.

Bonus: (Try this during a car ride to break the ice.)

20 Questions is a classic game that has been played for ages. To play 20 Questions, one person thinks of an object and the others playing can ask 20 questions (typically with only a Yes or No response) in an effort to guess what it is.

Our prayer is that Christ is able to work in and through these mentor relationships. May real change happen; change that positively affects the course of each student’s life for the better.


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