Whether your match is ending for the school year or closing permanently, providing a positive sense of closure is vitally important. Each school year around this time, we encourage mentors to begin discussions about reconnecting in the fall or conversations about closure of the match. Preparing for these conversations early allows ample time for processing of feelings between both sides of the match. We recognize that our current circumstances with school closures may make having these conversations more difficult. That said, the significance of having them is perhaps even stronger given the abrupt and unexpected interruption to regular mentoring and school schedules.
Open and clear communication about the end of school year or end of match is beneficial for all involved, as well as a best practice. Now is a good time to begin those conversations with students to get them thinking about the end of the school year and communicating with your mentee about your mutual decision to either close the match or resume in the fall. Your Mentor Director is able to help guide you through preparing for these conversations and what you might expect.
Research has taught us that there are things we can do to provide a healthy sense of closure regardless of whether the closure was anticipated (i.e., end of school year) or who initiated the ending of the mentoring match. The goal here is to highlight accomplishments and cherished memories, and to acknowledge and address that you will miss seeing each other even if only for the summer. It is important to leave nothing unsaid so that the child is reassured, whether the match is closing or just taking a break for the summer. Focus on making sure the feelings surrounding the relationship are positive. During a normal school year, we’d suggest activities like making a memory box, drawing favorite moments, and making friendship bracelets as great tools for facilitating closure for summer break or end of the match. While we can’t meet in person, you can still do these things and take a picture of it to send your mentee. You could even just write a short letter and Seedling can work with school contacts to get your picture and/or message to your mentee. Even the simple act of writing about the end of the school year or mentoring relationship — like writing a letter highlighting all of the child’s talents and ways the relationship helped you learn — can help build a healthy sense of closure and resilience.