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Mentor Requirements and Responsibilities

 What are the requirements for Mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex?

Before you explore this section, you should know that you are not alone. Every volunteer Mentor will have staff support from our agency. The agency staff will orient and train you, and will support you throughout your match.
To Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.  There is no upper age limit.
  • Provide a satisfactory Criminal Record Check which includes a Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Provide three or four satisfactory references who have known you for at least two years from the following categories; significant other/family, vulnerable sector/employment and  personal
  • Respect the confidential nature of our services and sign a confidentiality agreement

    To Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex, you should also:

    • Be interested in developing a positive friendship with a child or youth
    • Be trustworthy, energetic, mature, stable, reliable, accepting, patient, caring and respectful of others
    • Be supportive and non-judgmental in your interactions with children and youth
    • Promote the welfare and safety of the child or youth
    • Act with integrity
    • Be comfortable with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex’s  core values, policies and procedures

      What will be expected of me?

      Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentors will be expected to:

      • Commit at least a few hours a couple times a month (this varies across programs) 
      • Commit for up to one year (some programs encourage shorter or longer time commitments)
      • Ensure the safety and security of the child or youth when they are together
      • Communicate openly and regularly with the parent/guardian (for one-to-one community-based matches) or with the school liaisons (for school-based matches)
      • Communicate openly and regularly with your Service Delivery Staff
      • Keep everyone informed of life changes that may impact the match
      • Work with their Service Delivery Staff and Mentee to set goals for their  match (goals are reviewed annually)
      • Emphasize friendship over changing the behaviour of the child or youth
      • Be consistent and dependable and maintain a steady, positive presence in the  Mentee’s life
      • Involve the Mentee in deciding how to spend time together
      • Listen to and respect the thoughts and viewpoints of the child or youth, and focus on their strengths
      • Have realistic expectations, and be prepared for any issues that may arise
      • Use available resources, including the support and guidance of agency staff
      • Work with their Service Delivery Staff to properly close the match when the match ends

        What will not be expected of me?

        Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentors will not be expected to:

        • Provide basic necessities like food or money
        • Organize elaborate or expensive activities
        • Act as a substitute for a parent, guardian or teacher
        • Act as a tutor
        • Take the child or youth to appointments or other personal activities
        • Act as a babysitter for the child or youth or his or her siblings/friends
        • Act as a therapist or social worker

          What will I have to avoid?

          Common sense should be used here, but in general, Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentors should avoid:

          • Criticizing or speaking harshly to the child or youth
          • Disciplining the child or youth
          • Any action or discussion that does not respect the values of the family
          • Any action or discussion that could in any way be interpreted as inappropriate

            Your Service Delivery Staff will provide additional information and will guide and support you in your interactions with your Mentee.

            Responsibilities related to Child Safety

            The safety of the children and youth in our programs is our number one priority, and this should also be the number one priority for Mentors. The Mentor is always responsible for the safety and well- being of their Mentee during their time together. It is also important that the Mentor act safely and appropriately when they are with their Mentee.

            Before matches start, all Mentors as well as the children and youth and their parents/guardians must complete mandatory pre-match training, which provides important information on how to respond to safety concerns. (Please note, for school based matches such as In-School Mentoring, the parents/guardians are generally not required to complete the pre-match training.) On an ongoing basis, Service Delivery Staff will discuss the safety and security of the match with Mentors, and Mentors should call the Service Delivery Staff if issues arise at any time during the match.

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