Empowering Your Mentee

Strength HeartAnd Building on Strengths.

To facilitate the power of building on strengths, mentors attending last month’s Seedling 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 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 Mentor Program Staff

This entry was posted in Children in Poverty, Children of Incarcerated Parents, Mentoring, Mentoring Metrics, Site-Based Mentoring and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s