Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What is a mentor?
A mentor is an adult friend who, along with parents, provides a child with guidance, support and positive reinforcement. We ask volunteers to make an initial one year commitment, with the goal of spending 1-2 hours a week with their mentees.
Q: How do I sign up?
Complete the application and background check consent forms and return them to Talbot Mentors. You will then be contacted for an in-person interview, and we will run the background checks and check references. After that, you will be required to complete on-line training and an in-person orientation session.
Q: Why mentoring?
Ideally, every child has a variety of adults around as they are growing up – including parents and family, neighbors, teachers, church members, coaches, etc. However, changes in lifestyle and community sometimes mean that fewer children have a support network. While parents and family are responsible for raising their kids, mentors can provide additional nurturing and support to help children with the challenges and opportunities in their lives.
Q: What if I’m too different to relate well with a child?
Many first-time volunteers worry that differences in age, race, education or some other factor will be a barrier. Actually, most experienced mentors report that mentoring a child from a different background broadened their own horizons. Mentors who focused on sharing fun and being a reliable presence found that the perceived differences did not pose a challenge.
Q: I am away/travel at times during the year. Would that preclude me from being a mentor?
Not necessarily. It may be possible to match the mentor and child when they have several months to build the relationship prior to the travel time. Talbot Mentors can suggest ideas to keep in contact during the absence such as phone calls, e-mails and postcards.
Q: Why do kids want mentors?
Our mentees tell us that they like having mentors because they want someone to talk to, and someone to “do stuff” with. Many mentees live in single parent families where that parent is working so hard to support the family that there isn’t much time for one-on-one time together. Having a mentor gives these children the opportunity to be the sole focus of a caring adult on a regular basis.
Q: What do mentors and mentees do together?
Mentors and mentees see each other outside of school, enjoying activities in the community. For some kids, it’s a new opportunity to experience life outside their neighborhood. Each relationship is unique and develops according to the interests and personalities of the individuals. Examples of shared activities include:
- Going to the YMCA together
- Trips to attractions such as the Baltimore Aquarium or the monuments in DC
- Reading and board games
- Sports like shooting hoops or golfing
- Activities like horseback riding or kayaking
- Creating arts or craft projects
- Doing homework or preparing for a job interview together
- Sharing a meal and chatting
- Cooking and baking
- Building models and woodworking
Within these simple activities, there are many opportunities to reinforce what the kids are learning at school and to pass along valuable life lessons. Most important is that the mentee is engaged in learning and enjoying the relationship as well as the activities.
Community Events in which mentors and mentees have participated include, but are not limited to:
- Optimist Tree Sale
- Multicultural Festival
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade
- First Night Talbot
- Bark in the Park
- MLK Classic
- Waterfowl Festival
- Oxford Day