Contact with children must occur only at school
- You may visit before, during, or after school with permission of school staff.
- Mentoring contact via email, phone, or social media is not permissible. Texting is only allowed for Middle School and High School matches who have been on-boarded onto the Seedling SMS texting platform.
- Should the Seedling Foundation or your assigned school decide to sponsor an off-site event, contact with your mentee at this event would be permissible as long as your mentee has invited you.
Transporting children in vehicles is not allowed
Reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect
- State law mandates the reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect.
- The report must be initiated by the person to whom the outcry was made.
- School personnel should be informed that you intend to make a report.
- Seedling will support you throughout the process.
Uninvited touching, whether in tenderness or in frustration, is not allowed
- Mentors should refrain from physical contact with a child until the child initiates that contact, as in the case of a hug.
- Mentors should never touch any child at a school in anger or in the context of discipline.
- If your mentee or another child at school misbehaves, use your calm voice to intercede, if necessary.
- Seek the help of a school staff member if further intervention is necessary.
Criticism of adults – family members or school staff – is strongly discouraged
Mentors should not speak about the incarcerated parent(s) or any family member in the child’s life in judgmental or critical ways. Concerns in this area should be voiced to the Mentor Director.
Mentors are asked not to proselytize
- Separation of church and state governs our public school settings. Also, to respect the caregiver, mentors should refrain from imposing their religious beliefs on their mentees, even in the most casual ways.
Alcohol, drugs, and firearms, as well as the use of tobacco, are prohibited on public school campuses in accordance with state law
- Mentors may not be under the influence of alcohol or tobacco immediately prior to or during your weekly visit or engage in the use of illicit drugs, and may not endorse such items to the mentee.
Confidentiality and the trust that results form the foundation of a solid mentoring relationship
- Thank you for not talking about your mentee or your mentee’s family, using first and last names, in a public setting. When referring to a mentee in an email to staff, please use the child’s first name or initials.
- To protect all parties and provide full support, mentors are expected to be forthcoming with their Mentor Director about all interactions with and disclosures by the mentee.
- Children test limits. Should you feel uncomfortable about an activity in which your mentee asks you to participate, simply let your mentee know that the activity is inappropriate.
- Should your mentee ask to bring a friend along, simply say, “That is against the rules,” or “I only have permission to mentor you.” Children understand “rules” in a school setting.
- Keep a $25.00 limit in mind if you bring a gift for birthdays or special holidays.
- Do not bring food to school routinely for your student.
- Do not ever loan or give money to students or family members. “Friends” do not maintain relationships by supplying each other with food, cash or gifts. YOU are the Gift!
- If you are unsure if an activity is appropriate, ask your Mentor Director, School Contact, librarian, teacher, or other adult staff member for guidance.
Communication and Support
- The program is designed to provide you with excellent support and guidance as you navigate the mentoring roadways. In order to do this, it is required that you speak at least monthly with your Mentor Director as a new match and at least 3 times a year as a returning match. Your Mentor Director will help you resolve problems and issues, but also needs to hear what you do with your mentee, what you talk about, and how you feel about your mentoring relationship. You should share freely, knowing that your Mentor Director will keep all necessary confidences for you.