Free Resources to Help Mentor Discussions

At a recent mentoring conference, we were thrilled to learn about a new tool that may be useful for your mentors, especially those working with YouthBuild students who are, or have been, in the foster care system. Best of all, this tool is free!

Fostering Relationships is a downloadable toolkit that provides discussion cards for mentors and other caring adults. The toolkit is divided into two parts: one for working with foster youth (especially those transitioning out) and the other focused on pregnant and parenting teens. The tool is built around a series of cards that each contain a discussion topic and activity for working with the youth. In spite of their focus, these cards would actually be applicable for all kinds of mentoring relationships, including YouthBuild's.

From their website:

Fostering Relationships draws on four theories: Bridges Transitions Framework, relational developmental theory, attachment theory, and trauma theory. We have interwoven ideas and techniques from these four theories into the content of the cards to support increased self-understanding and reflection for foster youth.

Bridges Transitions Framework: The Bridges Transitions Framework provides a way to understand change and transitions. Specifically, by detailing the impact of external changes on an individual’s internal processes, this framework supports clients in understanding and experiencing healthy transitions.

Relational Developmental Theory: Relational developmental theory provides a framework for understanding the stages of emotional and social growth. Specifically, this theory helps us understand the influence of conscious and unconscious factors on growth. This theory helps clients begin to make sense of who they are over time and in relation to others.

Attachment Theory: Attachment theory focuses on the significance of connections between infants and their parents and the ways in which these bonds influence a child’s development. Specifically, this theory helps illuminate how early childhood relationships and experiences create a pattern for future relationships.

Trauma Theory: Trauma theory offers a framework for understanding the impact of experiences such as neglect, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and their impact on development and relationships. Specifically, this theory helps us understand the importance of addressing the complex effects of trauma and toxic stress.

Why they matter: Taken together, these theories provide wide-ranging insights into the ways in which people develop, feel, and behave in different situations. More important, as a group, they offer powerful guidance for helping clients close the doors on the effects of early adverse experiences and open doors to emotional health.

These materials are free to download once you register with the site. See this tip sheet (PDF) on using the cards for more information.