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Mentoring Essentials

What Is A Mentor?

Three​ ​key​ ​roles​ ​mentors​ ​play​ ​in​ ​their​ ​mentor/mentee​ ​relationship​ ​include: Adult​ ​Friend​-​ ​building​ ​a​ ​relationship​ ​where​ ​you​ ​are​ ​a​ ​trusted​ ​adult​ ​friend​ ​to​ ​your​ ​mentee​ ​includes: o Consistency o Working towards equal power in the relationship o Honoring rules and guidelines of your mentee’s parents and caregivers o Validating your mentee’s feelings Being a caring [...]

What are We? Seeing your Mentoring Relationship as a Developmental One

Describe your relationship with your mentee. Would you say it's fun? Positive? Rewarding? What about developmental? The Search Institute describes developmental relationships as “close connections through which young people discover who they are, cultivate abilities to shape their own lives, and learn how to engage with and contribute to the world around them.”   The Search [...]

The Importance of Play

Want to play a game? Seedling believes in the magic of play. Research tells us that engaging in “play” gives us a wonderful opportunity to learn about ourselves and others.  Engaging in creative games and activities with your mentee produces countless benefits to your mentor/mentee relationship.  As communication happens through facial expressions, laughter, and body [...]

The Building Blocks of Developing a Relationship with your Mentee

As a Seedling mentor you may wonder how you can strengthen your relationship with your mentee. The Search Institute leads the way in youth development research and has outlined several areas where mentors can strengthen their bond with their mentee. There are five elements as described by the Search Institute that a developmental relationship is [...]

Talking With Your Mentee About Being Online

Mentoring online provides you the unique opportunity to reconnect with your mentee virtually, but also to facilitate a conversation with them about their online experiences. A conversation with your mentee doesn’t have to revolve exclusively around internet safety, but can also help them learn how to better navigate the online world.  There is plenty to [...]

Setting Mentoring Boundaries With Skill

We have all been there at one point or another...finding it easier to bring our mentee food each week to avoid the school lunch line, giving in to the urge of buying our mentee a new toy or something we notice they need.  In isolation these allowances seem harmless. However, giving in here and there, [...]

Seedling Mentoring, Work of Heart

Being a mentor is not only an investment of time, but also of heart. Seedling understands this and works to support you as your mentoring relationship progresses. Through the process of building a trusted friendship with a young person, mentors will experience proud moments, shared laughs, and major breakthroughs. However, mentoring can also bring instances [...]


  Your Impact on your mentee is bigger than you think! They still giggle when they think of that funny thing you said, still smile when they think of the compliment you gave them.  Your impact has made them think twice, your support has made their day! Your impact makes a positive difference, whether you [...]

Politics Anyone?

Presidential elections always come with a bit of apprehension, but this year’s upcoming election carries significantly more heated rhetoric and tension. In recent years, psychologists and child experts have repeatedly documented how political discourse has had a marked impact on youth in America. This can manifest as general anxiety and worry about their families and [...]

Policies And Procedures At A Glance

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, texting, or social media is not permissible. Should the Seedling Foundation or your assigned school decide to sponsor an off-site event, contact with your mentee at this event would be [...]

Mentoring Together

Mentoring has the wonderful capacity to advance a mentee’s development or even change his/her life in a remarkable way.  It is a responsibility and an honor that must be approached with integrity and commitment. These ethics are not only expected of the Seedling mentor, but also of Seedling.  As we take the steps to make [...]

Mentoring Policies & Procedures

Mentoring and Beautiful Questions

Listening is an essential skill in mentoring. It provides a safe space and the attention needed to convey validation and worth.  Oftentimes mentors also have the opportunity to problem-solve with their mentee. To be successful we must be prepared to ask the right questions not only to our mentee, but first to ourselves.  This is [...]

Mentoring And Attendance

Good attendance is important for children to do well in school and eventually in the workplace. Absences – excused and unexcused – add up, resulting in too much time lost in the classroom. In fact, missing just 10% of the school year, just 18 days or two to three days per month, in the early [...]

Making The Most Of Always

When we invite mentors to describe the mentors of their own youthful experience, the sentences frequently begin, “He would always…” In our annual survey question asking mentees to name the best thing about the mentor, students often start with “She always…” When anyone reminisces about friends of the past, the stories may start, “We would [...]

From the Mentor Directors

The new school year is a time of transitions and new beginnings for all of us. For all of our mentors, it will mark a new chapter in your mentoring relationship, for some of you it may be the big jump from elementary to middle school. And some of you may be transitioning to the [...]

Fighting Racism Through Mindfulness

Jill Suttie of Greater Good Magazine, interviews Law Professor Rhonda Magee on how mindfulness-based awareness and compassion is key to racial justice work.  For more than two decades Professor Rhonda Magee has worked to address issues of race, racism, and identity-based conflict while teaching law at the University of San Francisco.  Teaching students about the [...]

Ethics In Mentoring

In the specially defined relationship between a caring volunteer and a minor who is someone else’s child, good intentions and understandable motivations can sometimes cause us to slip and jeopardize our mentoring ethics. If you find yourself saying, “just this one time” chances are that you are about to stretch or break a mentoring boundary [...]

Essential Listening Tips

Develop​ ​the​ ​desire​ ​to​ ​listen​. Really listening to someone is a wonderful gift to give. Let​ ​the​ ​other​ ​person​ ​do​ ​most​ ​of​ ​the​ ​talking.​ ​ Applying the 70/30 rule ensures this will happen. You listen 70% of the time and you talk 30%. Avoid​ ​interrupting.​ There is always the temptation to interrupt so you can [...]

End of the School Year

It’s that time of year, Mentor!  As school draws to a close, we encourage you to plan a meaningful closure with your mentee.  Whether it is saying “so-long for the summer,” saying “goodbye” forever, or even if you haven’t met with your mentee this year, the steps remain the same: reiterate your friendship, celebrate your [...]

Cultivating Patience

Lately, it seems like everything in the world is happening at once. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of deadlines, news, and the daily grind, and feel like we have to demonstrate tangible success every day. Research of human growth and development tells us that sometimes the best groundwork for cultivating relationships [...]

Consistency Is Cool

In formal mentoring relationships, consistency is connected to the longevity and quality of relationships. One of the greatest things an adult can do when working with young people is to be consistent. Young people are learning the nuances of the world and can often be confused by mixed messages. They value and need consistency in [...]

Being Present is the Present

At this time of year, mentors often ask “May I give my mentee a holiday gift?”.  Seedling believes that you are the gift, along with the time and undivided attention you bestow on your mentee each week. However, if you elect to give your mentee a holiday present, we strongly encourage it to be relationship [...]

Beginning With The End In Mind

As we begin a new school year, some mentors are looking forward to reconnecting after a long summer apart. Others are looking forward to a new start, a new mentee, some mentoring for the first time, others being rematched. Whatever the case, new beginnings are a wonderful time to reflect and consider what exactly we’re [...]

A Primer on Pronouns and Gender Identity

More youth are identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community than ever before in American history. A recent study found that as many as 1 in 4 young people identify as “nonbinary”, meaning outside of male or female. Additionally, 1 in 5 young people identified as questioning their gender, or exploring their gender identity to [...]

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