Prayer and faith preparation - begin meetings and focus the participant on the value and need for regular prayer and faith development. It is crucial to work on a plan based on God that begins to focus the family on development of moral values that may have not been learned or applied so far in their life.
Mentors need to be sure to 1. limit themselves to the time they want to commit, 2. schedule a regular time, place, and method for relationship, and 3. focus on their specific part of the team / participant mutual plan for success during that quality, regular relationship time.
Mentors and / or the congregation need to decide ahead of time under what conditions to supply monetary support, if there is to be any provided by the team or congregation. The effort is a plan to work toward self-reliance not a replacement for public aid.
For the protection of everyone involved, mentors could submit a background check.
Mentors need to understand that they need to be most like a craftsman and the participant like an apprentice. Mentors need to become “master craftsmen for God” - meaning open to change and development of skills that lead participants to reach for strength in God.
Critical to early success is to help the participant get a handle on financial issues and then determine the level of financial training needed to help the participant move forward toward plan implementation.
Project HOPE explains the commitment to God, the team, and the effort to mentors as well as participants. This is a voluntary commitment
The only directive outside confidentiality deals with any kind of abuse. If a mentor is a “mandated reporter” or social work professional, abuse must be reported. Team members with questions or concerns about suspected abuse should contact Project HOPE staff or congregation leaders or pastors.
Set ground rules for both mentors and participants to contact each other, i.e. when, where, how often, what may constitute an emergency, etc. No one wants to be overloaded with calls mutual respect is expected but boundaries also need to be established to build respect for each other.
Participants are usually very weak in the skills it takes to: 1. Find jobs - they may need to be urged to go to The Career Center to have a good resume made, take a test that determines job skills, aptitudes, and
2. Maintaining employment, which means necessary discussion about working hard, how to handle extra stress at work or very busy times on the job that require extra effort, when and how to quit (if this is ever necessary) with discussion about the urgency of finding a replacement job before leaving and giving fair notice to the employer; and
3. anticipating the need for alternate plans for things like daycare in case of illness, transportation problems, etc. It would be very useful to everyone, including the employer, for mentors to follow up on the progress of participants on the job. Very few employers have mentoring programs; but they do understand the value of mentoring to their business - fewer problems between workers, quicker and more successful training, longevity of employees, etc
The Mentoring Lifecycle - It’s Good! Project HOPE recommends spending time on the web site www.mentoring.org to familiarize and refresh yourself on mentoring techniques, to look for answers to apparent problems, and to look for new techniques and recommendations for being a successful mentor for your participant. Please remember this is not a faith-based site; so statements that you should avoid “preaching”, if you are looking into improving communications, does not mean that you should not talk about faith, morality, responsibility, etc. Project HOPE staff are always available for any questions mentors have along the way. We want this to become a congregation’s ministry so mentoring will be easily passed on to succeeding members and generations.
Most mentoring information lists similar stages of the mentoring process:
1. Birth or initial stage - takes listening skill, patience, focus on basic needs, like God, for instance, and building the trust needed to develop a good relationship.
2. Engagement - takes
urging the participant to
develop their plan for success
and then helping to break the
plan down into as small
increments as possible so the
participant can focus on just a
few major things and experience
quick success. Most participants
are overwhelmed with problems
to the point of not having focused on dealing with anything for a while.
3. Sustaining the relationship - requires pushing and urging the participant to keep focused on God and their plan (since some people fear success) by continuing to focus on progress toward the goals in each area of the plan and calling the participant to higher and higher levels of dignity and responsibility. This call corresponds beautifully with our call to continue to grow our relationship with God. Some people tend to “slack off” when they see any success where there has been none at all!
4. Transition - Unexpectedly this can be the point that causes the most trouble because many participants think that once they have graduated they don’t need advice from anyone any longer. We all know this is not true, especially when it comes to connecting with God and fellowship with a congregation! Transition takes some preparation so the participant continues to plan for life, keeps in contact with God growing in faith, and can really handle making life’s decisions on their own. There needs to be a gradual move toward self-reliance and some discussion about what it will take to maintain the successes experienced during the mentoring.
Dealing with OBSTACLES! One major part of mentoring is to recognize obstacles and know what you can handle so you are always ready to refer participants to others for the professional help they may need in overcoming their obstacle. We would not think of doing heart surgery, if we were not a trained heart surgeon; and, similarly, Project HOPE does not expect mentors to be able to handle everything tossed your way! Check with your congregation to see if you may have a professional able and willing to provide the professional service needed or call Project HOPE and we can help find professionals. As the mentoring progresses you need to move your participant toward finding more and more of their own solutions to overcoming obstacles they face. If the relationship stalls or seems to be going nowhere, please call Project HOPE, as we will get involved and re-assess the participants commitment. Project HOPE will take care of ending any mentoring relationships that need to end. Please remember that about 10% of mentored participants we have experienced do disconnect for various reasons.
RELATIONSHIPS, RELATIONSHIPS, RELATIONSHIPS . . . FOCUS ON GOD!!!!!!!! MOVE TOWARD DIGNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!