CICAD mentoring Youths in Turkana County
Why Youth Mentorship
i. Mentorship is important not just for the youths but everyone needs a mentor. A mentor is a role model, a role model is someone who positive and want to make a difference in the community. A role model for youths must endeavor to understand the individual nature of the youths in their learning, thinking in their gifting, emotions the behavior and activities
ii. Mentoring provides an alternative for youth whose parents are unable to fulfill a mentoring role, and serves as an additional resource for youth whose parents are engaged in their lives. Mentoring is particularly effective for youth who have environmental risk factors, such as poverty. A mentor is uniquely positioned to help a young person navigate school, life transitions, work, or career training.
iii. Learning about mentorship must help you to you identify, to get into, and to practice within that space where mentoring is optimal, where teaching is optimal and where learning is optimal. The optimal mentoring space is a safe space for youth to learn and grow together. It is a space where youth can fail forward, and it is a space that provides a sense of belonging, clear relationship boundaries, and agreed upon expectations and goals.
iv. Remember, you are mentoring the next generation of leaders, they want to, and they seek to look up to leaders.
What to consider when mentoring
i. Mentoring is a form of leadership, and like leaders, mentors are influencers. Be mindful that your influences do not affect the Youth, but rather you influence the child to influence others in a positive manner.
ii. Mentoring is a process. Mentors need patience.
iii. Mentor on the small things and the big things, those you mentor will remember those small teachings later when they’re facing big challenges.
iv. Mentors are navigators. Mentors show the way. Youth are dependent on mentors for direction, so you need to make sure you chart a good course.
v. Mentors are servant leaders. Servant leaders share power, they put the needs of others first, they help people develop and perform as highly as possible. The best mentors do this.
vi. When mentoring youth, it’s about the person, not the product or the project. It is about opening the doors of possibility.
vii. Integrity needs to fill a mentoring relationship. Remember, corrupted and deceitful people mentor youth all of the time for nefarious purposes, and like positive mentors, they are committed to a purpose and they influence people to achieve that purpose.
viii. The values of a servant leader are the same as the values of a mentor, integrity, humility, respect, and telling the truth.
ix. Mentors are committed to a purpose and they influence mentees to achieve the same purpose through well determined expectations and an overall goal to impact the community in a positive manner, today, and for the future.
Creating a plan for mentoring youth.
i. Mentoring youth is both an art and a science. The science is the knowledge; the art is the performance. Both require a lot of practice.
ii. Youth need explicit teaching. Teach rules explicitly, allow the youths to fail because no learning happen with trying and sometimes failing. The most important things in the lives of the youths must be taught explicitly.
iii. Understand that youth think differently, and solve problems differently, and perceive information differently than adults. Your pedagogical approach must put that into consideration
iv. It is essential to build trust with youth for an effective mentor program. Trust is the foundation of all relationships, therefore trust is a foundation of mentoring.
v. A mentor builds trust by relationship building, a commitment to the mentee and the program, and through servant leadership practices. Trust and broken trust are internalized, it may be internalized as a specific event or it may be internalized as a generalized event.
vi. Building trust requires listening and valuing the ideas of the people you mentor. A mentor must be trusted, must not communicate out of emotions, must be purposeful in whatever he/she does.
vii. There is no mentor without followers and there are not followers without trust
Qualities of effective mentors
i. Instructional qualities mean that mentors must know their stuff.
ii. Interpersonal qualities mean mentors must study soft skills. These are the relational skills, things like fairness, listening, tolerance, caring, kindness, and being approachable.
iii. Ethical qualities mean that mentors must know and practice right from wrong. Trust from the entire community comes through your ethical qualities.
Procedure for mentorship
i. As a mentor, you should establish a safe environment. It is important that protocols are in place to protect yourself, the youth, the family, and the community.
ii. Have well-designed procedures in place and be structured.
iii. Have clearly defined and articulated goals and expectations.
iv. Include a level of flexibility to accommodate diversity of the youth, including age, gender, family dynamic, economic hardship, religion, ethnicity, and traditions.
v. Incorporate activities that facilitate relationship building.
vi. Support and involve parents and families, help them be advocates for their children and the mentoring program.
vii. Coordinate with other services and supports as needed. Especially know your social services, your youth services and school services. Don’t forget about local businesses and local government agencies, where applicable.
viii. Monitor the program often to make improvements. And every mentor should have their own mentor, someone to hold them accountable and provide insight.
Why mentoring relationships fail. The top reasons include:
i. Mentor or mentee abandonment,
ii. Perceived lack of mentee motivation
iii. Unfulfilled expectations,
iv. Deficiencies in mentor relational skills, including the inability to bridge cultural divides,
v. Funding interference,
vi. Inadequate agency support.
Youth internalize everything a mentor does, your energy, your love, caring, compassion, and how you handle difficult situations, but also negative actions. They soak up your excitement to learn, your excitement to impact, your hope and your optimism. Be purposeful in your excitement, in your intonation, and in your passion, and be authentic in your leadership.