Youth Eligibility

In addition to meeting the age requirements (16-17 years old at time of match), prospective mentees should be able to meet a number of other program requirements. Ideally, mentees will be:

  • Able to attend all match meetings and group activities. Because most meetings will occur outside of regular YouthBuild classroom and worksite hours and locations, mentees must have the time available to meet on a regular basis.
  • Available to participate in all pre-match and post-match training. As with mentors, young people also need plenty of preparation for the match.
  • Willing to participate in program data collection and evaluation activities. This may require formal parent or guardian permission, depending on the age of the mentee and the type of information being collected.

All YouthBuild enrollees in the eligible age range should be given information about the mentoring opportunity so they can make an informed decision. Youth who are enrolled in pre-YouthBuild services or academic courses are also eligible, provided the pre-YouthBuild services meet certain strict criteria.

This handout (PDF) explains the details of involving pre-YouthBuild students.

When are youth ready for mentoring?

One of the common misconceptions of mentoring is that all youth can benefit from a program-provided mentor at all times. In reality many youth, because of personal, psychological, or behavioral issues, may not be in a place where they can form a trusting, mutual, respectful, structured relationship with a new adult. While the mentoring opportunity should be open to all, do not push a student to participate if he or she is reluctant.

You can consider YouthBuild students ready for the mentoring experience when they:

  • Have completed the initial YouthBuild Mental Toughness or other readiness training.
  • Are having positive interactions with YouthBuild staff and other students in the classroom and at the work site.
  • Are successfully participating and completing assignments in other YouthBuild activities.
  • Have expressed some interest about goals or changes they want to make for the future.
  • Have received information about the program and expressed interest in participating

Recognize that some students may be ready for mentoring very early in the program year, while others may not be ready until a few months into the program when they really start to connect with YouthBuild staff and activities.