How to Become a Mentor
Once you have expressed an interest to a program, you will be contacted by program staff and asked to complete a written application. Information such as interest, hobbies, availability, preferences, etc., may be asked to assist in the matching process.
After an application is received and reviewed, potential volunteers will be asked to participate in an interview with one or more staff members from the mentoring program.
In order to ensure the safety of children in mentoring programs, background checks are essential. Background checks are performed by the program, and could include checking a potential volunteers criminal background history, driving record, references, the sex offender registry, the child abuse registry, etc. Each program has their own method of performing background checks. As a potential mentor, you may be asked to provide references, your driver’s license number, your social security number, or these checks may be done using your fingerprints. All information obtained from you will remain confidential (e.g., your social security number will not be shared).
- Orientation and Training
Once the interview and background checks are complete, and the potential volunteer has been accepted into the program, staff will begin the process of incorporating the volunteer into group programming scheduled by REACH staff. During this process, the program will provide each volunteer with training and support materials. Trained staff or volunteers from the program will conduct these sessions. The length and scope of this orientation and training process will vary depending on the program. Generally, the orientation will outline the program and include information to clarify expectations, time commitment, and program benefits or rewards to all those involved. The training will offer more in-depth information on issues such as program policies and rules, roles and responsibilities, relationship building, age-appropriate activities, problem-solving skills, boundary setting, communication skills, etc. In addition, programs may offer ongoing training opportunities for volunteers as needed.
- Ongoing Support
As you start attending group activities on a regular basis, you may have questions or come across issues that need attention. Each program has a process for monitoring and supporting our volunteers. This will include ongoing communication between program staff, volunteers, and youth to ensure that everything is going well and to address any issues the volunteer or youth may have. In addition, programs will seek to support and recognize volunteers in various ways, including recognition or appreciation activities, ongoing support, information on community activities, or structured events or social gatherings for volunteers to attend. As always, staff from the individual program is available to address any concerns or questions you may have throughout the entire time you are a volunteer with the REACH Mentoring Program.