By Victoria Murray
As a Senior Program Coordinator at Silver Lining Mentoring I am often asked what it’s like to be a part of the SLM programming team and what we do in our roles. While no day is the same (which makes it great) I wanted to provide a window into a day in the life of my role at SLM.
9am-10:30am: Match Support Emails – One of the best parts of my role is that I get to work closely with mentors to support their relationship with their mentee. I’m in contact with mentors via email and phone to talk through questions, hear updates, and provide insight and guidance on supporting their mentee. I’m also in communication with mentee’s caregivers and guardians (parents, DCF workers, and clinicians, etc.) to pass along important updates in the mentee’s life such as a young person dealing with moving and how to contact their mentee at their new residence.
10:30am – 11:30am: Camping Trip Preparation – Each year SLM travels to a YMCA camp on Cape Cod for a fun weekend of camping! We have the opportunity to go rock climbing, swimming, make s’mores around a campfire, and build connection. The trip, which is free for matches who attend, occurs each August. Today, I’m connecting over the phone with our YMCA liaison to review our itinerary, activities, and potential schedule. This is an opportunity to review our 2017 trip and learn from things that worked well and things we’d like to change for the following year. One of my favorite parts of the camping trip is seeing mentors and mentees trying new activities together and having great conversations over our meals together.
11:30am – 12pm: Scheduled phone call with a mentor preparing for a match meeting –SLM match meetings are when a mentee and mentor meet for the first time. Typically, they held at a youth’s residence. In addition to the mentor and mentee, we invite the youth’s guardian and caregiver so that everyone can meet and be a part of talking through questions and expectations about the match moving forward. SLM facilitates a fun “getting to know you” activity where we designate time to help the mentee and mentor learn about each other in a way that is comfortable and supportive.
12pm – 12:30pm: Lunch – An aspect of SLM’s work culture that I appreciate, is the emphasis on SLM staff being able to connect with each other through authentic ways. One of my favorite ways to do this is to make time to connect with colleagues over food!
12:30-1:30 Programming Meeting – SLM’s programming team comes together weekly to identify important updates, news, and events happening for our Community-Based and Leaders programs. It’s a great opportunity for our program team members to share things like new Learn and Earn cohorts that will be starting, important changes that we may need to make to our upcoming mentor training and application process, as well as news about our next community group event. It’s also a space where team members can bring back thought leadership from workshops, trainings, and “teach back” to the team to help us stay current and grow.
1:30-2pm: Mentee Referrals: Part of my role at SLM is to oversee referrals for SLM’s
Community-based mentoring program and answer questions about our referral process and criteria. Today, I receive a call from a DCF worker who is interested in learning more about SLM and how to submit an application for a young person whom they work with.
2:00pm – 3:00pm: Mentor Training Preparation: Mentor training at SLM is an 8-hour training that is offered once a month for folks coming through the mentor application process. We are constantly working to refine our training and improve it based on feedback and needs of the groups. My colleague and I meet to prepare for our next mentor training, review any changes or new materials we are thinking of adding.
3:00 – 3:30pm CBM Team Meeting: Mentee Waitlist Review: The CBM team comes together to review the list of young people who are waiting for a mentor. We spend time reviewing each mentee and what they are looking for in a potential mentor and who might be a good fit. The matching process at SLM is youth driven, meaning, we are intentional in matching youth with mentors who reflect the qualities and identities that are important to them. For example, one mentee may identify as talkative and laid back and is looking for a mentor who shares their passion for comic books and is part of the LGBTQ initiative at SLM. Another mentee may identify as serious and quiet and is looking for a mentor who can be someone they can count on to do fun activities in their community with. We discuss the individual needs of the youth and identify any potential matches.
3:30pm – 4:30pm: Youth support and Resource Brokering: A mentee who is 22 years old stops by the SLM office because they were in the neighborhood after a job interview. We start chatting and they mention some concerns they have around their current housing situation and being able to afford their rent long-term. We spend time exploring these concerns together and researching resources that they are interested in. We identify a local housing organization and the young person makes a plan to call them for an appointment for additional support. Before they head home, the young person and I make a plan to connect in a few days after their housing appointment.
4:30pm – 5pm: This is my opportunity to review and respond to any emails before the end of the day and make a plan for the rest of the week!
I hope you enjoyed seeing what a typical day for me at Silver Lining Mentoring might look like!