Whether this is your first time being a mentor or you have mentored many teens, we are grateful that you are taking up this important work. You can find all the resources you’ll need, broken down by year.
New Mentor Information Folder:
These documents can be found in this folder.
- NLC Mentor Handbook – First year curriculum that NLC teen’s work through with the mentor’s involvement. You’ll be starting at the second half, which is a review of what it means to be a servant leader.
- NLC Program Timeline – Four-year overview of a mentor’s role in an NLC teen’s experience
- NLC Team Roles – Outline of the teen, mentor, leader, parent and NLC staff roles
- Congressional Award Blue Book – Booklet the Congressional Award gives teens to complete the program successfully. Mentors are the advisor for this activity.
Current Mentor Information:
To see what your mentee will be doing each year and to help you navigate that time, check out these yearly folders. An NLC year runs from All Class Retreat to All Class Retreat.
Please note: Documents in these folders are updated occasionally.
What is the difference between leadership and service leadership?
According to Robert Greenleaf, “The servant-leader begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types.”
“A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”
How does that apply to my relationship with my teen?
The goal of your relationship is to help the teen learn how to take ownership of their experience as a servant leader and as a Christian Scientist. Your example helps teens see how they can live Christian Science in their lives.
In general, what does the time commitment look like?
Building relationships takes time and effort. Each teen is different and their school and family life differ, so building a relationship with your teen is going to be unique to you and your teen. Together you are going to have to work out what your relationship will look like and navigate how it will change over the four years.
- On average, mentors spend 8-10 hours a month.
- NLC Office asks mentors to:
- attend mentor training calls
- Help your teen keep up to date on all assignments and Congressional Award work
- attend the All Class Retreat the January after you are accepted
- Class leaders ask mentors to:
- Attend monthly mentor calls where mentors get to share success and ask questions, plus keep up to date on what is going on in the class as well as get to know other mentors.
- Work through the curriculum (reading/discussing) with your mentee to deepen their understanding and help them bring more meaningful discussion to their class calls.
- Engage with the teen to build a relationship that is supportive and understanding
When and where should mentoring take place?
Ideally, having two times a month face to face contact with your mentee is best. Obviously this is determined by location and scheduling, but if an in person can’t happen, a Zoom call is a good solution. Here is a list of ways some of our mentors have stayed in contact with their teens:
- Zoom Calls
- Weekly inspirational and update text messages
- Sunday lunch and/or afternoon activities
- Attend a function (sports event, concert, school program, etc) and go out afterwards.
- Listen to a lecture or Youtube video to discuss
What if my mentee never calls or contacts me?
Contact them! Teens don’t think about reaching out to adults for a variety of reasons. In order to create and maintain contact, set up the standard from the beginning of being in touch in whatever way you and your teen agree to. Set a shared calendar event together. Ask the parents to help check in with the teen about contacting the mentor if you need more support. Teens have so many distractions today (instagram, snapchat, etc). They dont always mean to be out of touch, but your text may fall below their working communications so be persistent – call, text, email, drive on over.
Before you give up completely on the relationship, one suggestion would be to just focus on building the relationship through attending social activities and having general conversations (see a movie, go to ice cream, etc). Then once you feel on better footing, you can dig into the curriculum again. The goal is to make the teens feel loved and valued and have a second source to help navigate all that life throws at them. Another idea is to reach out to other mentors in your group to see how they are handling things. If you do this and the connection still doesn’t happen, do not worry. Make sure to communicate your intent to back away with the teen, their parents, their leaders and the NLC office.
What should I do if it doesn’t seem like the two of us are connecting as a pair?
Do not take it personally if you and your teen do not seem to be connecting. There can be a whole lot of reasons as to why things are not clicking. The best thing to do is have an honest conversation with your teen. Let them know that you love and value them even if it seems like you two do not seem to be a good mentor-mentee match. If it seems that the two of you need to part ways, please let the teen’s parents, your leaders and the NLC office know.
One suggestion would be to just focus on building the relationship with social activities and conversations (see a movie, go to ice cream, etc). Then once you feel on better footing, you can dig into the curriculum again. The goal is to make the teens feel loved and valued and have a second source to help navigate all that life throws at them.
Who else beside the teen is the mentor expected to interact with?
Other than the teen, mentors should be working in partnership with leaders and touch base with the parents as needed. If mentors have questions about the program, start with the leaders. If the leaders do not have the answer the mentor is looking for, be in touch with the NLC office: [email protected].
How much should you involve parents and be available to follow up on situations they share with you? Can you be a team while respecting confidentiality?
The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” comes into play here. Mentors should regularly be in touch with teen’s parents because they are a part of the team who is helping their teen grow. The mentor and parents need to decide what their relationship looks like so to make sure they are on the same page. It is the mentor’s discretion as to what they share with the parents. We highly recommend the mentor talks with the teen about what they will be sharing with the parents so there is no triangulation. Obviously if there is a legal issue, parents should be alerted immediately but helping to nurture the teen through any healing is key.
How involved should I be in managing my teen’s assignments?
This really depends on the teen. Some teens will need very little direction from you. Some will need lots of direction and follow up. The mentor and teen need to figure out what that balance looks like. No matter how involved you are with the teen’s assignments, please make sure to show you are invested in your teen and make sure to show them you care about what they are doing. Know what their assignments are, support them as they work through the assignments (whether it is just checking in or working intimately with them), give feedback on the completed projects and praise them for the work they have put in. The more you are involved in completing the assignments with them, the more the teen will respond to your encouragement.
How do you approach the teen missing deadlines and are there any consequences from the class leader?
Good communication with the teen will help with having that hard conversation about deadlines. Knowing what is due, connecting with the teen a week before the deadline to complete it together and asking how you can support them are just a few ways to help. If they are struggling to get an assignment done, don’t just push to get the assignment done. Check in with the teen. See if there is something going on that is interfering with the teen getting their assignments done. Most teens have good intentions of getting these assignments done. They just need support and understanding when things are not going the way they intended. Make sure to keep the parents informed so they can support your relationship with your teen.
Are there any safety concerns I should have about mentoring?
Few things to make sure we all are protected:
- Please follow the Community Atmosphere & Code of Conduct we ask the teens to sign every year and follow.
- If you are driving the teen anywhere, please follow all traffic rules and regulations. We also suggest that you do not drive the teen places alone unless you have discussed this with the parents. Having someone else with you provides protection for everyone involved.
- When you applied to be a mentor, you were asked to fill out a background check. This is a part of our safety procedures.
What are potential challenges that may arise?
Life tends to create challenges we all have to learn to work through and overcome. We know you have a busy schedule and teens nowadays seem to get busier and busier. Learning how to balance our busy schedules with building transformative relationships while teaching teens to take ownership of their experience is a challenge in itself. Yet, when we show teens that we are not perfect but are all working to find balance, it helps teens see that they don’t have to be perfect. They just have to live to their highest sense of right.
Are there any expectations around expenses?
There are no expectations for mentors to spend anything. However, as you build a relationship you might find yourself taking your teen to ice cream, etc. As you plan different activities with your teen, bring in finances as part of the conversation as well so there isnt an elephant in the room.
NLC does invite mentors to our All Class Retreat and though we are trying to underwrite that expense, attendance does have some costs. Though it’s not mandatory to attend, we highly recommend this wonderful experience.