Become a Mentor2019-09-20T11:25:49-04:00
BECOME A MENTOR

Mentoring relationships are at the heart of our mission.

Mentors are Memory-keepers:
Sharing memories through the frequent changes that mark youths’ experience in foster care.

Mentors are Friends:
Consistent adults spending time with a young person just because they are invested in that youth, not because it’s their job.

Mentors are Stability:
Offering consistency, a sense of belonging, and emotional support.

Values that Make a Great Mentor

youth-focused

Mentors make the young person’s needs the first priority in the relationship.

trauma-informed

Mentors apply the trauma-informed skills learned during Silver Lining Mentoring’s training.

strengths-based

Mentors focus on the potential, inherent good and independence of young people, rather than focusing on deficits.

warm friendly patient

Mentors offer consistent friendship in a patient way.

cultural-responsive-justice-focused

Mentors strive for cultural awareness and offer social justice allyship with youth who may identify as youth of color, LGBTQ+, living with a disability, or are a different socioeconomic status.

open-willing-to-learn

Mentors are eager to learn, receive feedback and seek support from Silver Lining Mentoring.

self-aware

Mentors reflect on their own actions in order to strengthen the relationship.
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Q&A with Mentor Natalie

justin-natalie

How did it feel to meet Justin for the first time?

I first met Justin during our initial Learn and Earn session. All of the mentors and youth leaders were sitting in a circle after our group introductions, and Mobile began calling out names of matches to stand up and begin our first one-on-one meetings. I remember feeling nervous, and so many questions ran through my mind: Would he like me? Would I be a good mentor? Would we have anything to talk about, anything in common? When we began talking I realized that there was nothing to worry about. We may have different interests, different life stories, and different goals, but it was evident from our first conversation that we share a set of core values, and a way of seeing the world. Since the moment we sat down that evening, I haven’t thought of those questions again.

What were your concerns about being a mentor?

I think I was concerned that I wouldn’t be cool enough to be Justin’s mentor! Better said, I was concerned about being able to walk the line between being a friend and being a role model; sometimes they have conflicting aims. When I was a teenager, the people I looked up to as my mentors were people who I wanted to become, but who weren’t afraid to give me guidance when I needed it. Luckily for me, Justin has made it so easy to be a good mentor. He has an amazing gift for becoming friends with just about anyone, and is never afraid to ask for advice.

What excited you most about being a mentor?

Throughout my life I have been lucky to have had some amazing mentors to guide me through tough professional decisions, personal dilemmas, and daily life challenges. It’s invaluable to have someone there to act as a sounding board when you aren’t sure what to do, or when you know exactly what to do but need a little encouragement. I was so excited to have the chance to fill that role for a young person, particularly because there are so many tough decisions at that age. You’re figuring out who you are, and who you want to be, and sometimes it’s nice to have someone to talk to whose sole purpose is to support you and to be there for you, with no other angle. It’s such a privilege to be a mentor, and I am especially lucky to be a mentor to someone as driven, caring, and selfless as Justin.

Can you describe your transition meeting?

During our transition meeting, we met with our wonderful coordinator, Julie, to discuss transitioning from our Learn and Earn (L&E) relationship into a community-based relationship. Fortunately, Justin and I had already spent twelve weeks together during L&E and had gotten to know each other a little bit, so we knew what we each wanted from community-based mentoring. Julie led us in a frank discussion of expectations and rules, as well as our schedules and time constraints (Justin and I will both be heading to school this fall!) and we set up our first meeting for the following week at a coffee shop.

How do you connect with your program coordinator for support?

Julie has been incredibly accessible and helpful as our program coordinator. Whenever I have a question or concern, I send Julie an email or pick up the phone and she is there to offer guidance and support.

Mentors are age 21+ and make a commitment to spend at least eight hours per month with their mentee for a minimum of one year. Mentors come from all walks of life – SLM is always looking for new mentors from all backgrounds and identities. Additionally, Silver Lining is committed to identifying mentors who share qualities with youth in our programs, including mentors of color, those who identify as LGBTQ, male mentors, and mentors with personal experience in foster care.

Mentors and youth can begin their relationship in Community Based Mentoring, the Learn & Earn program, or in the Build-a-Match program. Throughout the match relationship, a dedicated Silver Lining Mentoring staff member with Master’s-level training provides ongoing support to both the mentor and the youth. Read our Mentor FAQs here.

The first step to becoming a mentor is signing up to attend an information session.

Making a Match: The Process of Becoming a Mentor

Jessica-Freeman_Chelsea

SUCCESS STORY

Jessica F. and Chelsea

“Chelsea and I have been in our match relationship for almost two years. Ever since our first match at Learn and Earn, Chelsea and I discovered something funny that we both have in common. We both love food and free events. Something which makes our mentorship unique is our willingness to be open with each other. What makes our mentorship successful is our willingness, enthusiasm, being open, and positive attitudes. All of the secret ingredients for a simple but yet perfect mentorship.” – Jessica F.

Jessica and Chelsea

SUCCESS STORY

Jessica F. & Chelsea

“Chelsea and I have been in our match relationship for almost two years. Ever since our first match at Learn and Earn, Chelsea and I discovered something funny that we both have in common. We both love food and free events. Something which makes our mentorship unique is our willingness to be open with each other. What makes our mentorship successful is our willingness, enthusiasm, being open, and positive attitudes. All of the secret ingredients for a simple but yet perfect mentorship.” – Jessica F.

Sign up to attend an information session