- What is mentoring? Mentoring is typically understood as a process through which an older experienced guide eases a younger person’s transition to adulthood through a relationship which provides support and challenge. Its origins come from the Greek play Odyssey, where a young Telemakhos is educated by Odysseus’ wise friend Mentor. In this sense it is a developmental relationship in which the young person is inducted into the world of adulthood.
- What does a mentor do? As a pair, mentor and mentee work through a curriculum designed and structured by the Mentortogether team. Mentors work on improving mentees’ language skills, developing mentees’ life skills, and helping them pursue their academic and career goals. As a non – parental adult, mentors are not perceived as authority figures, thereby creating a positive environment for youth to be themselves and grow into strong adults.
- Does mentoring require specific skills? Mentoring broadly requires one to develop a friendship that can serve as a good support system for the mentee. However, while mentoring under privileged kids, a few things need to be highlighted. A mentor should be able to manage emotions and respond with empathy. The relationship should also be democratic; there must be equal participation from the mentor and the mentee. During the course of the relationship, attempts should be made to facilitate discussions rather than leading them; this enables the mentees to open up and feel secure in the space provided to them by the mentor.
- How long can/does the mentor-mentee relationship last? Our programs are designed to be of 12-18 month duration. We strongly encourage pairs to continue their relationships even after the formal program period.
- What is the ideal time commitment for a mentor? A mentor should be able to meet his/her mentee at least twice a month; this minimum frequency brings some stability and security to the relationship. We recommend each meeting lasts at least 2-3 hours.
- Is there any financial expense on the part of the mentor? Travelling to meet the mentee is the only expense to be borne by the mentor.
- How old are the mentees? The mentees in our programs are in the age range of 14-21 years.
- What backgrounds do the mentees come from? Mentortogether identifies youth for formal mentoring if their natural environments do not offer any opportunities to find such support figures.
- I don’t have much experience with kids; would I be a good role model? There is no specific experience required to be a mentor. One just needs to have an open mind and an interest in discovering potential in people.
- Do I receive any support from Mentortogether should I choose to be a mentor? Mentortogether provides substantial support right from the moment the mentors are selected. Mentors are inducted into the mentoring process; they are also provided with ideas for a curriculum, activities. MentorTogether also teams up with various organizations to set up workshops. Additionally, the mentors are required to maintain meeting logs and review their meetings with program managers.
- Is Mentortogether a recognized organization? Mentortogether is a registered not-for-profit organisation (No. 372/09-10). We are also registered under Section 12AA and under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
- How are the various projects of Mentortogether funded? Each project is funded via fundraising efforts with individuals and groups/foundation. Our current funders include IBM, Mahindra, Starbucks and SAP AG. If you’re interested in contributing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is the usual scale of programs at Mentortogether? Mentor Together has worked with 140 youth to date, in mentee cohorts that are typically 20-30 in size.
- Is there any other way to contribute to MentorTogether apart from being a mentor? Sure! We’re always looking for volunteers to help us out with the ground efforts. Additionally if you represent, or know any organization that would like to partner with us in order to conduct workshops or run a similar mentoring program elsewhere, please contact us at email@example.com
In the Mysore Mentortogether project, our mentees are girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, residing at a Government Home in Mysore. Some of the situations under which the girls enter the Home are:
-Families no longer being able to support their children financially
-Children from single parent backgrounds
-Neglected or abused children.
We are one of the 20 global recipients of the 2011-2012 YouthAction Net Fellowships , awarded through a competitive process by the International Youth Foundation, USA.
Mentortogether has also been represented on an international platform in various conferences, like the StartingBloc Boston 2010 conference and the Salzburg Trilogue 2009 in Austria.