Mentoring is “doing what needs to get done.” That’s what mentor Bill W says.
About five years ago Bloomingdale Church launched a mentoring initiative, inspired by The Mentoring Project. We have learned and been challenged:
- Adolescents who are placed in an active mentoring relationship reap huge benefits.
- There remains a healthy interest among adults in our church to train as mentors. (We have already trained more than 75 people.)
- Successfully placing mentors with mentees is currently our most challenging road-block.
Because mentoring is “what needs to be done”, we have set the following program adjustments into motion:
- Revitalizing our “Introduction to Mentoring” training: We are placing quarterly training dates on the calendar, and actively inviting people from our church and community to “come find out how to be a mentor.”
- Adolescent matching at Bloomingdale Church: We are reconsidering how to more successfully match adult mentors and teen mentees from our church.
- Supporting community-based mentoring initiatives: We are building partnerships with local community-based programs (e.g. local schools) to provide them with trained mentors to help fulfill their waiting lists.
- Serving while mentoring: We are fostering a “mentoring culture” within our church programs in which adults who volunteer alongside adolescents view themselves as a mentor (e.g. an adult Awana Leader serving alongside a teen Leader-In-Training).