WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
We’re so excited to be partnering with you in ministry and to have your valuable experiences and insights to pour into the lives of our teens.
In this training page you’ll find a review of what it means to be a mentor here at M3P, what a typical day looks like, some expectations we have of you in a mentorship role, and some practical tips for every day ministry. We’ll also have some videos coming up soon to make your training experience run even more smoothly. To get started learning about your role here at MYTHIRDPLACE, scroll down.
A MENTOR IS...
an experienced and trusted adviser who is consistent and committed to personally engaging, knowing, and loving teens.
A MENTOR IS NOT...
a homie to hang out with, a tutor to provide homework help, or a babysitter to monitor behavior and safety.
What are some of the expectations, procedures, and resources that are important for mentors to know?
- ESSENTIAL SKILLS
- STUDENTS RULES
- WHAT TO DO IF...
-Be present–make sure you’re engaging teens
-Don’t work on homework during programming
-Limit cell phone use (don’t text others while you’re engaging teens)
REPRESENT CHRIST AND MYTHIRDPLACE WELL
Mentors are expected to make decisions both inside and outside of MYTHIRDPLACE which represent Christ and the organization well. Mentors should be aware that their life sets the example for the students they are leading.
-Avoid being alone with a teen of the opposite sex in order to protect our staff, volunteers, students, and ministry. If you need to have a one-on-one conversation with any student, be in sight of others.
-Stay in the “mentor” role – you are not their friend. Make sure you monitor this well both in face-to-face interactions and on social media. They should not speak to you and have the same expectations of you as they do with their friends.
Volunteers will dress appropriately, especially when interacting with students (Nothing too short, explicit writing on shirts, etc).
Mentorship/Discipleship is intentional. Therefore our staff and volunteers are expected to be mindful, loving, practical, and spirit led, in all they say and do.
-Volunteers at MYTHIRDPLACE may receive service hour credit for their time if needed. You will earn one service credit for each hour that you serve during a semester, up to 30 service credits.
-As an adult working with teens, you are required by law to report any suspicion of child abuse (physical, sexual, neglect).
-If you are in a conversation with a teen and you think they may begin to open up about abuse, try to pause them and clarify that you are required to report abuse.
-If you have a suspicion of abuse, notify a staff person. We will sit with you as you make the call to the appropriate authorities.
Mentorship/Discipleship is consistent, and we need volunteers that are devoted to building authentic relationships with our teens. Your attendance is extremely important not only to our staff, but to our teens as well.
Mentors are expected to be present for at least 2 consecutive hours a week. This means that you should be present from at least 3pm-5pm, or 4pm to 6pm, one day a week.
Volunteers will communicate tardiness or absence a week ahead or as soon as possible! If you must be absent, you are required to find a replacement from among MYTHIRDPLACE mentors.
Show up 10 minutes before your scheduled time. If you cannot make it, find a replacement.
Sign in when you arrive and sign out when you leave.
You will be evaluated by both yourself and by staff on how well you have been able to perform the role of a mentor to teens. Evaluation is a chance for personal growth, where you can assess areas that you’ve done well and grown, and areas where you can still stand to learn and improve.
The mentor role is not for everybody. If you are not fulfilling the role well, we may ask you to step down.
Mentors at MYTHIRPLACE are expected to be engaging teens in meaningful and intentional relationships. As such, mentors will:
1) Engage the Now: Providing a place where our teens can feel loved and welcomed is paramount. Engage and welcome the teens as they are–their needs, their desires, and their struggles.
2) Engage the School: School is a large part of the development of these young people, and therefore we should be there to counsel them through it. Their interactions with peers, teachers, and coaches are impactful. Thus, our engagement with them should be equally impactful.
3) Engage the Home: As your relationships with teens grow, ask them about their home life. The family is often nearest to the hearts of our teens, so conversation about them involves trust and vulnerability. This must be earned. Earn the right to engage our teens about their mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters.
Remember, you are not a tutor. While you may also tutor teens, a mentor will engage their teens in a more intentional, relational, and committed way.
You are also not a babysitter. You are empowered to encourage, lead, learn from, hold accountable, and call out, teens when you deem appropriate.
- Cultural awareness
- Grace (for yourself and others)
- Empathy–be empathetic, but don’t take it home with you
- “How do I de-escalate this situation?”
- Be calm even when students are not
- Thick skin
- Realize that they are kids. Don’t take it personally if (when) a teen is rude.
One of the ways you receive support as mentors is through training. In addition to the resources and guidelines already on this page, we will be posting training videos and going over how to respond to various situations that you might run across with teens.
In addition to general support, Jaime Winslow, our Program Support Specialist, will be available to meet with you individually and provide any support you may need. To contact Jaime, you can email her at Jaime@MYTHIRDPLACE.org.
-No teens in the hallway. Teens should stay in the same room the whole time unless moved by a mentor to another room.
-Teens may not ride their skateboards, bikes, scooters, etc. in the courtyard.
-Cell phones/iPods may be used during the first hour for music only. If students are distracted by or distracting others with device, ask them to put it away. If they continue to abuse the privilege of using their device, take it away. Cell phones and iPods should not be used during Agora Hour or Flex Time.
-Bathroom chicken: Students may only leave the room to go to the bathroom if they take the chicken with them. If the chicken is not available, this means another student is going to the bathroom, and whoever is next needs to wait until the chicken is returned.
-Respect: teens should respect adults at all times. This includes listening and not speaking or messing around while another person is speaking. This also means they are listening when a mentor asks them to do something.
-Language: teens should refrain from using profanity as well as language that is harmful in some way toward others (within reason).
-If student behavior escalates, consult with Program Director
WHAT TO DO IF…
-Recognize you are in a power struggle
A TYPICAL DAY AT MYTHIRDPLACE
What can you expect during a typical day as a mentor? Our Regular Programming Days are Mon -Thurs and broken down into three distinct hours.
- 1. STUDY HALL
- 2. AGORA HOUR
- 3. FLEX TIME
1. STUDY HALL
WHAT IS STUDY HALL?
For our first hour from 3pm-4pm, we are in Study Hall. During Study Hall we provide a quiet environment, homework assistance, computers, and other resources to support our teens with their school work. During this time, mentors are expected to maintain a quiet, studious environment for the teens.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Study hall is a time for the teens to complete homework in a quiet environment before we go into our Agora Hour.
During this time, teens will arrive every few minutes. When they arrive, please make sure that they have signed in and that they take a seat at a table.
Study Hall is not the time for mentors to do homework. Mentors should be focused on maintaining a quiet, studious environment for teens, and helping teens with homework when needed.
STUDY HALL RULES
-Only high schoolers may sit on the couches. Middle schoolers must be sitting at a table. However, all are expected to be working on homework.
-During this time, teens are allowed to use iPods or other devices to listen to music. If you can hear their music, it is too loud. If you find that they are distracted by or distracting others with their devices (watching videos, texting, etc.), you should first tell them to put away their device. If they continue to use it as a distraction, take it away.
-If teens do not have homework, they are required to read a book or write a paper on a topic related to MYTHIRDPLACE, such as “What is your ideal ‘third’ place?” or “If you could make MYTHIRDPLACE better, what would you do?”
-Whispering conversations during study hall are fine, but use discernment to know when teens are becoming too loud or are too distracted from homework.
-Students may use laptops to work on their homework, but may not use them for leisure if they do not have homework. Playing academic games is fine as long as other students do not need to use the laptop for homework.
2. AGORA HOUR
WHAT IS AGORA HOUR?
The Agora hour is after Study Hall. This time is intentionally programmed to engage in deeper conversations with our teens. The topics range from culture, food, and the bible, to sex, drugs, and leadership. Sometimes we will exercise, and other times we will pray for each other. The Agora hour is designated to talk about life together and create community.
AGORA HOUR RULES
-No cell phones
-No being disruptive. Teens should be participating or watching quietly
WHAT ARE SOME GOALS FOR MENTORS AND STUDENTS AT THIS HOUR?
During the Agora hour we will participate as a group in engaging and challenging conversations with our teens. We will all come together in one room, pray, and talk about life. Because the nature of these conversations is deeper than most, you as a mentor will have the role of facilitating and even leading some of these conversations.
WHAT DO MENTORS EXPERIENCE DURING THIS HOUR?
Because of the transition from Study Hall to Agora Hour, there may be some unsettling involved with collecting all the teens in one room. In the case that a teen needs to leave early, they must verify with a volunteer as well as a staff member. We do not want teens leaving early while their parents are under the impression that they are staying the full session.
As a mentor, we would love for your input in many of the conversations. Be open to sharing stories about yourself, because if you are modeling vulnerability, the teens will recognize it. You may also be called upon to facilitate small group conversations.
3. FLEX TIME
WHAT IS FLEX TIME?
Flex Time is a time for fun! Though some teens might still be working on homework, the majority will be interacting with each other. This is a great time for teens to simply hang out and enjoy each other, it is also a great opportunity for volunteers to interact with the teens.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF TEENS AT THIS TIME?
Teens are expected to be themselves! If they are finished with their homework, this is the time to have fun and connect with mentors and peers.
Teens working on homework will be in the small room. All other teens will be in the big room or out back.
No teens should be running through the halls or rooms.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF MENTORS AT THIS TIME?
A mentor will engage teens in a more intentional, relational, and committed way. You are a mentor, not a babysitter! You are empowered to encourage, lead, learn from, hold accountable, and call out, teens when you deem appropriate. A mentor’s goal should be to connect with the student and always appear approachable in order to facilitate the communication that must occur during mentoring hours. Mentoring is a two-way street in which both parties benefit. MYTHIRDPLACE is family. This is the best time to develop that.
Working with youth is always an adventure and is many times chaotic. As a result volunteers and staff will appropriately place themselves throughout the room. (You should ALWAYS have teens around you). This is a time to engage our teens, peer mentors are secondary.
This is your chance to mentor young men and women! Our volunteers will engage in conversation that will instill trust, empowerment, and accountability in our teens.
As a result our conversation and interaction with the teens will be appropriate. Thus, we will be wise to strive to avoid being alone with a teen of the opposite sex in order to protect our staff, volunteers, youth, and ministry. However if such an interaction occurs, we WILL be in sight of others.
WHAT DO MENTORS EXPERIENCE DURING THIS HOUR?
This is the time where many of the teens will want to play ping pong, foosball, card games, or go outside, and if they don’t, challenge them to do something fun. Expect to be active and engaging with the students. If they are alone, reach out to that teen. No teen should feel isolated. Look out for teens becoming too aggressive as well (mostly middle school).