Before the Match
What is the time commitment required to be a mentor?
Mentors are required to catch up with their mentee on a fortnightly basis for a few hours (usually 2-3 hours).
I don’t have any experience with young people, is that an issue?
Not at all, we provide an initial full-day training session which covers all the skills you need to be able to connect and work with a young person, as well as weekly supervision by our trained coordinators to help you be able to successfully work with your mentee. We also do peer supervision with other mentors to learn from and provide support to each other.
How much and what kind of training do you provide mentors?
We provide an all-day training session, take home training modules, ongoing training and supervision from coordinators and peer supervision training.
I’m worried I’ll have nothing in common with a young person.
We match young people with mentors on common interests and hobbies, so you will already have something in common and activities you can do together with them before you even start.
During the Match
What happens if we don’t get along?
Rarely our mentors struggle to get along with the young person, but if you are having trouble, our coordinators will work with you, the mentee and the family to help provide support to make the match a success.
I live in the southern suburbs can I still be a mentor in the west?
We have many mentors that don’t live in the West and still mentor a young person in the West. As long as you are happy to travel, we can match you with a mentor that’s in a closer Western LGA so you don’t have to drive as far.
What kind of activities do we do together?
We encourage mentors to work with their young person to find activities that interest and excite them both. You may choose to do the same activity each week or try a variety of activities over the year. Activities do not need to be elaborate or expensive to offer great value to our young people.
What if I have a disagreement with my mentee?
Rarely do our mentors and mentees have disagreements, but if there is one, your coordinator can support you in having positive and respectful conversations with your mentee to resolve any issues that may come up.
Do you provide ongoing support? How available are you after the match starts?
Yes, we provide ongoing supervision and support with our coordinators. They give you weekly calls in the first months of the relationship and as needed in the later months. They are also available anytime during the working week to chat to you if you call.
Do I have to get involved with the mentee’s family?
You will work with the mentee’s family to organise pickup, dropoffs, activities you will do together and some check in points throughout your time as a mentor. Families are generally always supportive of the program and work with the mentors and coordinators for the mentee and mentor to get the most out of the relationship.
After the Match
What happens after graduation?
Once you have graduated from your match, you no longer catch up with your mentee. If you have enjoyed the experience of being a mentor, we encourage you to volunteer with us again and support a new young person.
I don’t have time to mentor, is there another way I can help out?
Our main need is for adult mentors for the young people, but there are other opportunities to help raise money to support the mentoring program or join a waitlist to mentor in the future when you have capacity.
Referrals for Mentees
How much does it cost for a young person to be a part of our mentoring program?
There is no cost to the young person. Our programs are funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, generous Trusts & Foundations, and individual donors.
There is no fee for service for any young person to join our mentoring program. However, costs for outings and catch-ups are covered by the young person and the mentor, therefore low or no-cost activities are encouraged.
What is the eligibility criteria for a young person to participate?
To be considered for our youth mentoring programs young people will need to be referred by a health or youth professional. The young person should be:
- Between 7-20 years of age
- Known to Child Protection or meet the definition of a child in need of protection
- Living in Western Melbourne LGAs: Maribyrnong, Hobsons Bay, Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank and Moonee Valley.
How are young people referred to Sparkways Mentoring?
Young people are referred to us by health or youth professionals involved in supporting the young person. Full details about referring a young person can be found here.
How are mentors matched with mentees?
Our program coordinators make matches based on a mentor and young person’s mutual interests and hobbies.