Training Content and Delivery

Pre-Match Training Content

While all of your approved mentors probably have big hearts and a strong commitment, they will need additional support and skills as they begin building a trusting, lasting relationship with a YouthBuild student. Pre-match training is the venue to start building their skills and provide them with opportunities to practice mentoring concepts before their first meeting with a YouthBuild student.

Ready-to-use training materials can be found in the Training YouthBuild Mentors guide (PDF). The following topics should be addressed during pre-match training:

  • Understanding YouthBuild and the YouthBuild mentoring model
  • The role of a YouthBuild mentor
  • Building and maintaining healthy relationships: The core of mentoring
  • Match activities that promote relationship development, build mentee assets, and support the goals of YouthBuild
  • Problem-solving strategies
  • Importance of preparing for match closure
  • Review of YouthBuild mentoring program policies and procedures

The Introduction to YouthBuild Mentoring E-Learning Module is also a good source of initial orientation and training content. You may find that prospective mentors enjoy the opportunity to learn more about YouthBuild mentoring using this interactive learning tool.

Post-Match Training Content

As mentoring relationships progress they will go through many ups and downs. Young people might test their mentor to see if their caring and concern is genuine. They may miss scheduled appointments. Communication problems might arise, or the youth might disclose a personal problem that is beyond the mentor’s capacity to address. Post-match training greatly enhances the chances that a match will work through any difficulties rather than simply giving up.

Post-match training is also critical in helping mentors build activities with the student around their Life Plan goals. This is where mentors must be able to make a tangible difference for the young person. The Training YouthBuild Mentors guide (PDF) offers suggested training content in the following Life Plan areas:

  • Community service and youth leadership
  • Careers and employment
  • Education
  • Financial management
  • Family and friends

Other potential topics for ongoing training sessions include:

  • Preparing for graduation from YouthBuild
  • Attending in-depth sessions on cross-cultural and diversity awareness, cultural sensitivity and appreciation, and poverty
  • Understanding adolescent and young adult health issues
  • Understanding systems of care (juvenile justice, child welfare, foster care, housing, mental health, and substance abuse)
  • Understanding gangs and other negative peer influences

Delivering Training in Programs With Staggered Enrollment

While most YouthBuild mentoring programs will have one large cohort of mentors that get trained together at the beginning of the program year (coinciding with the enrollment of YouthBuild students) some YouthBuild programs may have rolling enrollment, where mentors and students are coming into the program throughout the year.

For these programs, it is best to deliver training in larger groups as often as possible. Many of the training activities, such as role plays, only work well if there are more than a handful of mentors participating. Try to schedule quarterly or bimonthly mentor trainings to maximize the number of participants, rather than taking up large chunks of time delivering the full four hours of training on an individual or small group basis.

Under no circumstances should you skip mentor training or make matches before training mentors.