Here are some of the questions we typically hear from prospective mentors:
Q: What are the ages of the youth I would be mentoring?
A: Youth join the program between the ages of 13 – 17 and graduate as young adults at the age of 21. We don’t age youth out at 18 because the transition into young adulthood is an important life phase full of new experiences. From starting college, finding an apartment, possibly working full time, and reframing relationships – the support and life experience of a trusted mentor makes a world of difference.
Q: How do the youth get referred to New Pathways?
A: Most youth hear about New Pathways from a school guidance counselor or teacher and some hear about us from a social services agency. After determining if our program is the right fit, the youth along with their caregivers decide to voluntarily be a part of New Pathways. Our program is not ever a condition of probation or rehabilitation. Every youth is given the choice to join the program. Each of our kids participate because they want something bigger for their lives.
Q: What does the commitment look like?
A: We ask that you agree to a one year commitment to the youth you are matched with. Research shows that any shorter time frame does more harm than good for that young person. Our data also tells us that matches that communicate by phone or text once a week and see each other in person three times a month have the highest outcomes in the program. With that in mind, we ask that you commit to that level of involvement in your mentee’s life.
Q: What are the steps I need to take to become a mentor?
A: The very first step is to attend an information session via Zoom – we call it “Mentor Intro.” Here we will present the entire scope to you so you can make an informed decision about if mentoring is right for you at this time in your life. If the answer is yes and you decide you’d like to become a mentor, you will schedule an interview so we can learn more about you to ensure you’re a good fit for our program. We’ll check your background and call a few personal references. Meanwhile, you will start taking your mentor training classes. Once your training is complete, we’ll schedule you to attend an upcoming 3-day retreat where you will be matched with your mentee (see question below for more on this process).
Q: What documentation is required?
A: You will need to provide a valid Arizona State Drivers License, proof of auto insurance, and if you don’t already have one, you will need to obtain a Level 1 IVP Fingerprint Clearance card through the State.
Q: How does the matching process happen?
A: We match mentors and youth at our 3-day retreat that we host at our center five times a year. Although we call it a retreat, it is not overnight and it’s not out of town. It’s three consecutive days at our center which is located Downtown on Jefferson at 9th Street.
At this retreat, we introduce the new unmatched youth to the work we do at New Pathways and bring them into our community. Our unmatched volunteer mentors will support all of the youth as they work through the activities of the weekend. On Saturday night, our staff will stay behind and make the determinations for matching up the mentors and mentees. On Sunday, we will announce the matches at our “Matching Ceremony” and from there you will begin your new relationship with your mentee!