Whether you have had a mentoring relationship with a youth for many years or are just now considering beginning a mentor, the question of how to proceed safely amid the pandemic uncertainty is still a huge consideration.
The summer provided a short break as the number of cases was down, and we were able to meet outside for hikes, and visit parks, outdoor games, and sporting events. But now, as we gear up for renewal meetings and recruiting new mentors, we are once again facing the question: How do we spend time with our mentees as the case numbers rise and the weather cools?
While the beautiful fall weather is here, we can continue to meet in person. Driving to an outdoor location to meet, wearing masks, and keeping windows down can be a safe way to hang out with your mentee.
If the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor meeting, then there are still several ways to connect. Setting up a weekly call, facetime, or video chat (Zoom or Google Hangouts) can allow for a consistent time to check in, do a devotion together, help with homework, even play a game or do a project together.
One mentor I know would drop off a project/craft on his mentee’s porch the day before their scheduled time, then they would talk through and do the project together virtually.
You may need to download the WhatsApp, which offers complimentary text messages, voice messages, video calls, and sharing of images and documents using Wi-Fi, as many of our students use this for communicating with friends.
If your mentee does not have access to a reliable device, there is always good old snail mail!
I know of one mentor who would send letters with a self-addressed and stamped envelope to her mentee, and they became pen pals when her mentee couldn’t connect virtually. We have available “snail mail kits” with cards, envelopes, and stickers to inspire fun letter writing.
Here are some additional ideas for those who can set up a time to connect via video chat:
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Be creative! Have fun!
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Doing “what is good” in mentoring includes being kind, consistent, and safe. Our mentees are looking to us to show them God’s love and faithfulness through all kinds of storms. He is faithful and good, and we can also be.
The City Gospel Mission youth mentoring program is looking for churches and individuals to partner with for the school year. If you or your church has a calling to minister to Greater Cincinnati’s youth, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can make an impact in their lives.
Jenny Towner is a Youth Mentoring Volunteer Manager at City Gospel Mission. She can be reached at email@example.com
City Gospel Mission is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules and regulations.