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Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion
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Mentor Meet Up: Being a Spark Champion


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  • 1. Helping Your Mentee Find Their Spark and Becoming a Spark Champion<br />
  • 2. Introductions<br />Name<br />Age of Mentee<br />How long have you been matched?<br />Image from pandazhang on flikr.<br />
  • 3. Recall your childhood dreams…<br />What about that dream inspired you?<br />Who fostered that dream?<br />What did they do?<br />What would you have wanted?<br />
  • 4. Spark!<br />Spark is a special quality, skill, or interest that lights us up and that we are passionate about.<br />A spark comes from inside of us, and when we express it, it gives us joy and energy. <br />Image from shtev21 on flkr.<br />
  • 5. The 10 Most Common Sparks Among Teens in the US<br />Creative Arts<br />Athletics<br />Learning (e.g., languages, science, history)<br />Reading<br />Helping, serving<br />Spirituality, religion<br />Nature, ecology, environment<br />Living a quality life (e.g., joy, tolerance, caring)<br />Animal welfare<br />Leading<br />Sources:;<br />Peter Benson (2008),Sparks: How parents can ignite the hidden strengths of teenagers<br />
  • 6. Discovering your mentee’s spark<br />Watch for what most engages your mentee’s attention.<br />Focus on what your mentee is excited about, rather than on what you think they should be interested in. <br />Talk with (not at) your mentee about her/his interests. Listen, don’t lecture!<br />Create a safe space. Ask open-ended, non-judgmental questions about your mentee’s interests.<br />
  • 7. Conversation Starters"You're Really Good at This!"<br />Finding the Right Moment:Catch a young person doing well, and then say something about it. <br />Questions, Probes, and Ideas:<br /> “You really seem to be a natural at this.” <br /> “Have you ever thought about how this talent could be something you do for a living as an adult?” <br /> “Is this really fun for you?” <br /> “Have you always been good at this or did you have to learn it?” <br /> “What do you like about this activity?” <br /> “Do you have any goals around this activity? Is there anything I can do to help?” <br /> “I love seeing you do well and enjoying it.” <br />Follow-Through:No matter what the talent or skill, young people can do great things with it. Point out these possibilities to the young person and help him pursue his interests throughout his life.<br />
  • 8. Conversation Starters"This Seems to Make You Happy"<br />Finding the Right Moment:The key to this conversation starter is finding a moment where the young person shows a sustained interest and happiness. <br />Questions, Probes, and Ideas:<br /> “What does it feel like when you’re doing this activity?” <br /> “How did you become so motivated?” <br /> “Do any of your friends like doing this, too?” <br /> “Let’s figure out a way for you to do more of this!” <br /> “Would you teach me a little about it so I can share in the fun or understand you better?” <br /> “What are the things you like about it?” <br /> “How does a person move to the next level doing this?” <br /> “Is there anything else that makes you feel this way?” <br />Follow-Through:Check in with the young person a few days or a week later and see if she’s pursued her interests further. <br />
  • 9. Conversation Starters"Have You Ever Thought of . . . ?"<br />Finding the Right Moment:This is a question for a quiet time, while you’re traveling, sitting on a bench at the park, taking a break from a bike ride, or laying on a hillside. It might also work well right after you hear the young person heave a sigh of boredom.<br />Questions, Probes, and Ideas:<br /> “What’s the coolest job you’ve ever heard of?” <br /> “I know someone who spends every workday taking care of elephants at an elephant sanctuary!” <br /> “Do you ever wish you were an inventor? An undersea diver? A scientist making a medical breakthrough?”<br /> What would it be like to learn the folk dances of Sweden or the folk songs of Bali? <br /> “Have you ever heard of people having a life list?” (Explain about it being a list of really interesting goals and things to do during one’s life, then share one from your list.) <br />Follow-Through:Make an agreement to take some steps toward meeting some life-list goals! Use a search engine to search for the term “life list” and visit some of the sites that come up to see if you like the ideas there. <br />Source:<br />
  • 10. Become a Spark Champion<br />It’s great when young people explore and identify their sparks. But they also need caring adults to support them in their spark discovery and development. The Search Institute asked hundreds of young people what kind of support they would find helpful, and here is what they said:<br />
  • 11. <ul><li>Encourage me
  • 12. Talk with me and give me new ideas
  • 13. Provide what I need: transportation, money, or equipment
  • 14. Go to my shows
  • 15. Arrange for music lessons
  • 16. Teach me stuff about computers
  • 17. Show me how to build things and figure things out
  • 18. Listen to me talk about my spark
  • 19. Coach me
  • 20. Give me rides
  • 21. Go to my games
  • 22. Discuss fashion and go shopping
  • 23. Love me
  • 24. Introduce me to caring adults who can help me with my spark
  • 25. Get supplies for me
  • 26. Help me practice or train
  • 27. Help me make appointments
  • 28. Challenge me
  • 29. Remind me to be positive and optimistic
  • 30. Help me get to the library, zoo, or museum
  • 31. Tell me your stories
  • 32. Read my stories and poetry
  • 33. Teach me new ways to draw
  • 34. Go with me into nature
  • 35. Show me how you work on your spark
  • 36. Help me figure out what to do next
  • 37. Tell me to keep going and not quit
  • 38. Show me people can be really happy about their jobs
  • 39. Spend time with me
  • 40. Help me not to be bored
  • 41. Push me to do and be my best
  • 42. Give me useful criticism
  • 43. Give me advice on how to improve</li></li></ul><li>“Sparks Matter” Video<br /><br />
  • 44. Reflection<br />Have you noticed any particular activity ignite a spark in your mentee?<br />In what ways have you (or will you) champion for that spark?<br />Any Questions?<br />
  • 45. Resources<br />Sparks information from the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota:<br />At 15 website, allowing mentors and mentees to discover sparks together:<br />Sparks information from the Search Institute: <br />More resources on thriving from the Search Institute:<br />