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Excellence in Mentoring

Where Do We Go From Here?

As vaccines become more available and the world takes a few shy steps towards normalcy, we can’t help but think: “where do we go from here?” What has this past year meant for our mentees? And how do we move forward? Below are thoughts to consider as you begin thinking of mentoring beyond COVID. It [...]

Transitions: Tips for Mentors

In a normal school year, transitioning to a new school (such as Elementary to Middle or Middle to High school) can be daunting. COVID has only compounded anxiety about any changes, and that’s before considering things like returning to full classrooms. Many of our students have experienced more moves than usual directly as a result [...]

Top 10 Rookie Mistakes in Running a Marathon (and in Mentoring)

The thought of running a marathon to some feels overwhelming and impossible, while others are energized and excited about the possibility. Like long distance running, mentoring a child takes proper preparation, agility, perseverance, perspective, and a healthy dose of humility. In the October, 2012 issue of, Brad Boughman highlights the top 10 rookie mistakes [...]

Thinking Ahead

As the Spring semester marches on, we can probably all agree that this school year has been like no other.  Most kids have not stepped foot into the classroom and will likely end the school year remotely.  Where does that leave us for the 2021-2022 school year?  The truth is that there is no way [...]

The Holidays and Practicing Gratitude

Navigating the holidays in a mentoring relationship can be tricky. As Seedling mentors, we are sensitive to the fact that some households may not celebrate holidays we hold dear. This reality might be due to religious practice, financial distress or family strife. The safest and most effective open-ended questions on the topic are: “What do [...]

Ten Characteristics of Flourishing (Mentoring) Relationships

It’s no secret that as we improve our mentoring skills, we  enhance the other relationships in our lives. Whether we call ourselves parents, spouses, friends, or employees, improving in mentoring can enrich all of our relationships if we pay attention and transfer these skills into our everyday lives. Below are ten important, research-based characteristics that [...]

Teaching Your Mentee To Set Goals

Mentors can start coaching their mentees in goal setting by looking for ways they already use these skills. To get started, brainstorm with your mentee and identify a time that (s)he planned and accomplished something. Discuss the steps taken to get it done and how good it felt. These same steps can be used for [...]

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 [...]

Talking To Mentees About Politics

In today’s political climate, mentors might be wondering if talking about politics with their mentee is a good idea. Let’s face it, we may have reservations about discussing politics, considering the difficulty in even bringing it up, or the fear of not explaining how politics works, in terms that our mentee’s can understand. Despite where [...]

Talking about Incarceration

Have you ever considered what it might be like for your mentee to have communication with their incarcerated or deported parent?  Maybe it is only through letters, an infrequent phone call, or on rare occasions talking on a phone while looking at one another through a plexiglass window. These brief connections are rarely private.  Communicating [...]

Talking About Current Events

We’ve all been shaken by the acts of violence that took place this week in Washington D.C. and at several state capitals across the nation.  The violent actions have left a significant impact on us as a nation and as individuals and may lead to conversations during your mentoring time. We are already carrying so [...]

Strategies For Engaging Your Mentee In Meaningful Discussion

How can I get my mentee to talk more?  This thoughtful question asked by mentors is usually followed by recounts of open ended questions going unanswered, or mentees who don’t talk or look their mentor in the eye.  It can be uncomfortable to sit in silence as few words are exchanged. But take heart, this [...]

Somatic Experiencing and Mentoring

“The super-power of human kind is our capacity to connect; it is regulating, rewarding, and the major route by which we can teach, coach, parent, heal, mentor and learn.” Dr. Bruce Perry At Seedling we often refer to our mentors as having “super powers.”  You have that uncanny ability to light up the face of [...]

Solidifying Mentor & Mentee Connections

In the midst of the holiday season, mentors might wonder how the health of their relationships with their mentees may fair over the time that they don’t meet. Mentoring expert Jean Rhodes (2017) says that “it’s important to consider [a child’s] capacity for connection” when determining the strength of your relationship with them. In other [...]

Six Ways To Positively Respond To Youth

March for Our Lives, on March 24, 2018, was one of the biggest youth protests since the Vietnam War. On June 30, 2018, more than 600 marches occurred throughout the country protesting the separation of immigrant families entering the U.S. We are seeing more and more demonstrations, and activism is increasing especially amongst our youth. [...]

Relationships Build Resilience

A primary goal of the Seedling mentor program is supporting students in building resilience. As mentors, sometimes we find ourselves asking if what we are doing has impact. Is it actually beneficial to our mentee? New research being conducted at Search Institute finds that young people are highly motivated by relationships with significant adult figures [...]


  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 [...]

Ready, Set, Goals!

It is heartwarming to finally reconnect with our mentees this school year.  The feeling that bubbles up when we see  their name appear in the waiting room is nothing short of delightful.   Seeing their face and hearing how they are doing feels like a long awaited success, and it is!  Each meeting is a victory, [...]

Qualities Of A Good Role Model

Youngsters usually benefit from having a relationship with someone older and wiser to mentor them. Although the mentor might be a teacher, family member or more experienced peer, not everyone is suitable to be an influential, positive role model. Effective role models possess desirable characteristics that make them easy to look up to. They inspire [...]

Processing Racism-Related Trauma through Creative Expression

In the last few years, our country has begun confronting racism and racial injustice on a scale that we haven’t seen since the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960s. Understanding the history, scope, and implications of systemic racism is a complicated undertaking for all of us. Expressing our feelings about it can be even [...]

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 [...]

Mentoring and the Art of Validation

“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our job to share our calm, not join their chaos”  -L.R. Knost As Seedling mentors, our goal is to be a trusted friend, boost our mentee’s positive self-esteem and safeguard their opportunity to thrive!   We believe that with time, commitment, and a lot of heart, [...]

Mentoring & Social Justice

Seedling Mentoring is a journey that encourages persistence in acquiring new information and skills.  Learning to promote social justice, to understand institutional oppression, and how to dismantle implicit biases and racism prepares mentors to be an upstander for our mentees and their families.  This is what makes us better, together! This 3-minute video exposes everyday [...]

Managing Stress

For over a year now, we have been navigating extreme uncertainty.  The hyper vigilance of staying safe, piloting constant change, and the effects of isolation and loneliness, have taken a toll.  Fears and insecurity can create chronic stress which negatively impacts mental health. Stress levels are at an all-time high for young people too! As [...]

It’s Important

Given the significant social, environmental, and political events of the past year, it may feel like it’s more important now than ever to spend time with your mentee simply talking about their feelings to process all of the changes we’re experiencing. We always encourage you to follow your mentee’s lead, and if they want to [...]

It Matters: Building Representation in Mentoring Relationships

On January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President, becoming the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to hold the office. The importance of the moment was not lost – across social media, posts celebrating this historical event peppered the internet with a familiar ring of, [...]

How To Support Young People

We all need support in life. And supporting youth is especially important as they go through the ups and downs of growing up. Often young people turn to their parents and peers for support, but at other times they seek help from other adults in their life. So what’s the best way to support young [...]

Growth Mindset Builds Resilience

In order to promote Growth Mindset, parents, teachers, and mentors were advised to encourage effort instead of achievement. The part that often gets lost is that the effort that is encouraged should be the effort that includes two important points; exploration of multiple approaches and that learning takes place regardless of achievement. In order for [...]

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 [...]

Encouraging a Growth Mindset

Mindset describes the way people view ability and talent.  In her research and work on the mindset of psychological traits, Psychologist Carol S. Dweck identified 2 types of mindsets, fixed and growth. People with a fixed mindset believed their intelligence and abilities cannot be altered in a meaningful way.  In a growth mindset, people believe that their basic abilities [...]

Attachment and Mentoring

Attachment is described by psychologists as an “enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space.” Though attachment is a term used mostly in infancy, its presence and importance can be seen throughout the lifespan. For children who have suffered the loss of an attachment figure to incarceration, mentors can possibly [...]

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