Community and staff mentors in your ASPIRE program work with middle school, high school, and/or adult learners to guide and assist them as they determine their future plans. Mentors will connect with students one-on-one, in small groups, during career and college educational events, and activities. A mentor’s work is rewarding as they assist and help students focus on career exploration, career and college research, admissions applications, scholarships, and financial aid.
“The time people give to volunteer to help mentor kids, who may not have the support at home they need to get through the process is invaluable!” – An ASPIRE Mentor
Use these resources to help you grow and manage your ASPIRE Mentor program.
Mentor Recruitment Social Media Posts.
First step for recruiting is to identify the way you intend to use ASPIRE mentor's at your site.
One you have identified the ways you will use mentors, you are ready to create a Mentor Recruitment Plan.
You are encouraged to identify 3-6 ways where you will actively work to recruit mentors to your team. Remember, the more individuals you have assisting you and mentoring students, the more students you will help achieve and reach their goals.
If you have questions or need help with your Mentor Recruitment Plan, please reach out to your ASPIRE access specialist for assistance.
Traditional Mentor: Community adult volunteers who work with students 1-on-1 or in groups to help with career and college planning
Staff Mentors: ASPIRE Site staff who assist and have ongoing communication with students about their future. These may include counselors, Career and College Readiness teachers (CCR or AVID Classes), coaches, support staff, etc.
Peer Mentors: An ASPIRE high school junior or senior who has participated in ASPIRE. Peer mentors can be matched 1:1 or in groups for grades 6-12 on topics related to high school success, career and college exploration, or may participate in peer panels in classrooms or at events.
Episodic Mentors: Community adult volunteers who occasionally assist with career and college readiness at your ASPIRE site but do not serve on a consistent basis. These mentors may provide educational career or college presentations, participate in industry/business/college panels, and more.
Project/Event Support/Administration Mentors: Community adult volunteers who assist the ASPIRE Coordinator with projects which may include working through student lists for a particular purpose (example: meeting with senior students who have not completed the FAFSA or ORSAA, Oregon Promise, OSAC Scholarship). These mentors may also be individuals who work on creating a welcoming ASPIRE Center Environment (build displays, organize center resources, etc.) or specifically assist during events or CCR activities (college fairs, family engagement events, Senior Celebration/Decision Day, field trips, etc.)
Team Lead Mentor: Experienced ASPIRE Coordinator that assists the ASPIRE coordinator in recruiting new mentors, matching mentors and students, coordination of mentor/student meetings, and providing resources and information to mentors. Team leads may also help ASPIRE coordinator with other administrative roles.
Once a community member or staff have expressed interest in becoming a mentor, they will need to complete the following steps:
STEP ONE: Community Mentor Application
Send the ASPIRE Volunteer Application to the interested mentor. Request they complete and return the application to the ASPIRE Coordinator, along with any other site-specific materials required.
*Note: Staff Mentors are not required to complete an ASPIRE Application due to their status as paid staff at the ASPIRE school/site
STEP TWO: Background Check
Before a mentor can begin working with students ASPIRE Coordinator must ensure the mentor completes their background check, since they will be working with youth. Sites may choose to use their own process for background checks or use the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) background check process. ODE has a $5 fee per applicant. ASPIRE grant funds can be used to cover the cost.
STEP THREE: Meet with Potential Mentor
ASPIRE Coordinator requests a time to discuss the mentor position and get to know your new mentor. Ideally, this is done in person, but may also be completed by phone or video conferencing (Zoom, Teams, Google Meets). The ASPIRE Coordinator may want to use the Mentor Information Form as an interview guide, or alternatively, have the individual complete this form and bring it to the meeting to use in the discussion. During this conversation coordinator might also ask for schedule availability and share information about the ASPIRE program.
Once a mentor has completed and passed the background check, mentors need to complete their ASPIRE site orientation and training before working with students.
ASPIRE SITE TRAINING
Coordinators should schedule a time to meet with the approved mentor. During this ASPIRE Site Training meeting coordinators will:
Mentor Training Basics (REQUIRED): Coordinators can choose to have mentors complete this task during or prior to orientation. This is a great overview and essential information is offered to help mentors support students in their career/college plans. The training is offered in two formats:
ADDITIONAL ASPIRE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
Some mentors look for additional ways they can educate themselves about the career/college planning process. The Events and Training offers more training opportunities:
Strategically Match Students to Volunteers
When possible it is preferable if your site matches students to specific volunteer mentors (as opposed to a more fluid drop-in approach). Creating a connection promotes buy in and consistency tends to increase with both mentor and student participation. There are a variety of ways you can consider matching mentors with students:
The forms below allow mentors and students to share a bit about themselves to you, which then you can use to match students to mentors.
Mentor recognition is an extremely important part of mentor management. The more a mentor feels valued and appreciated the more likely they will be to mentor with excellence and continue to work in your ASPIRE program. Below are some practical ways that you can recognize your ASPIRE mentors:
Nonverbal Communication to Show Appreciation
Create an Inviting Space
Appreciation Thank you note/gift
To build a strong ASPIRE mentor program, retention of your mentors is essential. Below are some proven ways that ASPIRE coordinators can work to retain their most valuable assets, their mentors.
Provide Strong and Clear Communication
Give Feedback and Support
Share the Success Stories
When you hear stories of success make sure you tell your mentors. Celebrating together provides encouragement and helps us remember the WHY.
Don’t be afraid to ask your mentors for additional help as it makes them feel valued