Positive bonds with people, including peers, family, school, and community, that provide a sense of structure, safety, and belonging
- Spend time learning each other’s likes and interests and connect over shared interests or experiences.
- Follow the child’s lead as they set boundaries about what they want to share and when.
- Find out what your mentee thinks about topics that come up and view her as a resource.
- Be a consistent, non-judgmental presence.
The internal sense of overall positive self-worth, identity, and belief in the future
- Encourage dreaming about the future by asking “what if” questions, and support him in setting short- and long-term goals to make a plan for the dream.
- Use talking about goals for each session as a springboard for moving to longer-term goals.
- Praise effort and improvement. Practice. Make note of achievements.
- Be consistent about meeting weekly, and if you are ever unable to visit, letting your mentee know what to expect and why.
CARING & COMPASSION
A sense of sympathy and empathy for others, tolerance and acceptance
- Remain calm when your mentee shares a difficult story. Acknowledge that you understand that s/he is experiencing something difficult.
- Ask open-ended questions to allow the continued expression of feelings. Allow the mentee to name the feeling.
- Thank your mentee for trusting you.
- Talk about movie or book characters and ask your mentee to put himself in the character’s shoes.
- Find out what your mentee cares about and use as a jumping off point to talk about larger issues. For example, if s/he likes dogs, engage in a conversation about animal rights.
Positive view of one’s skills and abilities, including social, academic, cognitive, personal, and vocational and how to use them effectively
- Help your mentee get used to praise and recognizing accomplishments. Take turns identifying and talking about a strength you possess. Then do the same about each other’s strengths. (This exercise doesn’t have to be a serious conversation.)
- Invite your mentee to teach you a game or a skill or about some pop-culture element.
- Let your mentee take the lead in problem-solving.
- Encourage setting personal goals for improvement.
- Engage the child in learning of all kinds.
Recognition of societal and cultural rules, a sense of responsibility and accountability for one’s actions, personal values and principles, spirituality, and integrity
- Learn about your mentee and the family’s culture, traditions, and values, in order to respect them. Share yours in turn.
- Build trust in order to make it safe for your mentee to talk about difficult topics, including moral or ethical issues.
- Talk about fulfilling responsibilities in your life.
- Read books or articles together about people who have lived lives of integrity.
- Role model positive behavior.
Active participation in family, school and community activities and issues. Develop and use leadership skills
- When your mentee demonstrates interest in groups, clubs, or teams, encourage her participation.
- Ask questions about participation that help and encourage the development of leadership skills: “Did that work well?” or “How would you change that?”
- Encourage your mentee to help make his world a better place.