COVID-19 forces disruption to most mentoring programs. Here are some recommendations for helping matches maintain consistent contact without in-person meetings.
Set up a pen-pal system for mentors/mentees by having mentors and, if possible, mentees email or mail messages to the program coordinator, who can forward them to the mentor/mentee.
Facilitate a 3-way conference call between each match pair to include the mentor, mentee, and a member of program staff.
Matches can maintain consistent contact via:
- Phone or text
- Messaging apps (WhatsApp, Remind, GroupMe, Google Voice, etc.)
- Social media
- Video chats
- Mailed or emailed letters
As some programs are able to temporarily facilitate entirely virtual mentoring relationships, here are some activity ideas that matches can do virtually:
- Start a book, movie, or TV show club together
- Research and explore career paths, colleges, or community service opportunities
- Watch TED Talks or TED ED videos together and discuss each video’s concepts
Access MENTOR's Coronavirus Tips & Resoures for Mentoring here.
Building Developmental Relationships During the COVID-19 Crisis
Search Institute’s research is demonstrating that when young people experience developmental relationships with parents, educators, youth program staff, and other adults their outcomes are better, their risk behaviors are lower, and they are more likely to be on the path to thrive in life.
Staff in schools and youth programs do not need to and should not stop seeking to build developmental relationships with young people while they are at home during the nation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Every time you take one of the relationship-building steps below in the critical weeks ahead, place a check next to it and know that you have made a valuable contribution to helping young people weather this storm.