Empowering Your Mentee

Strength HeartAnd Building on Strengths.

To facilitate the power of building on strengths, mentors attending last month’s Seedling’s Promise Mentor Training were given an exercise that sensitized them to the 40 Developmental Assets and allowed them to identify assets they thought were in their childhood, and to identify those that they thought were in their mentee’s life.

They were then given a picture of a frazzled family sitting in a seemingly chaotic and neglected living room.

When asked to find 10 strengths the family in the picture possessed, the task seemed challenging. But, when encouraged to look through a “strengths perspective” lens, mentors found that positives and potential assets of the family indeed emerged.

Mentors concluded that their horizons were broadened to see that each person’s and family’s array of strengths is unique, and that strengths can look different in different households.

As Seedling’s Promise mentors, we are especially aware of the potential negative effects that having an incarcerated parent may have on a child. A broken family, the risk of
living in poverty, and the likelihood of the child having experienced trauma are
just a few of the difficulties that our mentees face. Although their situation
appears dire, every child, no matter their life circumstances, possesses individual
strengths or assets. It is our job as mentors to recognize these strengths in our
mentees and build on them.

This approach, called Positive Youth Development (PYD), involves enhancing five key skills important for youth to develop, in order to become healthy, successful adults. Known as the 5 Cs of youth development, they are:

  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Connection
  • Character
  • Caring and Compassion

To learn more about incorporating the 5 Cs into your mentor visits, read Building
the Five Cs or consult Activities You and Your Mentee Can Do in A School Setting.

Click Search Institute to learn more about the 40 Developmental Assets.

~Seedling’s Promise Mentor Program Staff

 

 

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How Do I Know if My Mentee Wants Me to Continue?

Mentoring QuestionsSeptember’s Seedling’s Promise Mentoring Program’s “Question of the Month” is a good one.  Depending on the age of your mentee, it may be difficult to tell if they want you to keep mentoring them.

The truth is, Seedling’s Promise’ professional Mentor Directors have already worked hand in hand with the School Contact at your Mentee’s school and that question has been asked and answered if you are already scheduled to start your mentoring again this fall.

But helping you read the verbal and nonverbal cues is what Seedling’s Promise is all about, and this month’s Mentor Minute gives you things to look for and even questions to ask at each grade level!

Kindergarten-5th Grade

6th Grade-8th Grade

9th Grade-12th Grade

Just click on the link that covers your Mentee’s grade and get information that will help you get a great start on this year’s mentoring.

And never forget, your Mentor Director is there to help you along the way!  Contact him or her with any questions that arise and don’t miss the Seedling’s Promise Mentor Support Sessions this year.  We look forward to seeing you there!

-Seedling’s Promise Staff

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The Promise of a New School Year

Back to School KidsAs school starts each fall, we see everywhere the symbolism of beginning and renewal. It’s no accident that the term “a clean slate”, referring to a schoolboy’s tablet for chalk writing, is so common in our vocabulary.

What does the arrival of September mean for a Seedling’s Promise mentee?

For many, it means the return to a healthy and predictable routine, the guarantee of a regular breakfast and a hot lunch, re-connection with friends, and the surety of a mentor’s weekly visit. For most, it also means a new teacher (or several) and new expectations. For 30% or more of our mentees, it even means learning to navigate a new school because the family has moved or chosen a different school option, or because the student is undergoing the big change of entering middle school or high school.

How can a mentor help? Continue reading

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Zaira’s Story – A Mentee’s Journey

This year, at the Seedling Foundation Annual Mentor Appreciation Luncheon, our keynote speaker was one of our own.

Zaira Garcia joined the Seedling’s Promise Program when it began, and was one of the first 8th grade Seedling College Scholarship winners in 2007.  She was a tiny girl, as she walked across the stage of Webb Middle School to receive her $5,000 college scholarship promise and her classmates gave the winners a standing ovation.

Her Mentor, Margo Dover, and the Seedling’s Promise Program became part of Zaira’s life and transformed it in many ways over the years.  But, you see, we don’t have to tell you her story…she does it herself, right here.

Zaira's Story

Click on the image to laugh, shed a tear, and understand the magic of mentoring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Zaira:

Zaira Garcia is a former Seedling’s Promise mentored student and current University of Texas at Austin undergraduate. She recently spoke at Seedling’s Annual Mentor Appreciation Event, about how her Seedling mentor impacted her life.

“We would meet once a week during my lunch hour and that was enough to help me cope with the loneliness I had become accustomed to…Having someone show up for you is a huge, huge deal…Thirty minutes once a week goes a long way for someone; someone who might get lost in the system, or someone who knows nothing about how important they are… (It) is enough to make a difference.”

Zaira’s message affirms that in just a few minutes each week, Seedling mentors make a significant and life-changing impact on a child’s life. This past school year, Seedling Foundation matched over 550 Central Texas school children with a caring, committed mentor.

This summer, we hope to recruit an additional 200 volunteers to match with both current and new children in the program. Will you help by becoming a mentor or making a donation to help us recruit and train new mentors?

We can’t do it without your support.

~Seedling’s Promise Staff

 

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Why I Give – One Donor’s Story

Amber TowersDonor Spotlight: Amber Towers

Amber Towers felt compelled to become a mentor as soon as she learned about the mission of the Seedling Foundation. Her first mentoring experience would introduce her to Errin, a 7th grader whom she would mentor throughout middle school and high school. Towers also had the unusual experience of being asked to serve as a foster parent for Errin when she was 16 years old, and Errin lived with Amber for two years.

Errin has since graduated and is working, going to school, and living on her own in an apartment she shares with a friend.

Towers said, “I’ve seen first-hand how just showing up once a week can truly change a child’s life. I saw how the program changed Errin. I saw how receiving a Seedling scholarship changed Errin. I know that she would not be in college now if it wasn’t for the scholarship and support she received from Seedling.” Continue reading

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