Resources for Mentoring Programs

Welcome to MENTOR Virginia’s library of resources! If you are looking for a resource not listed here, please email Sarah at

Best Practices for Mentoring

Below, find a collection of resources on best practices for youth mentoring programs including MENTOR’s cornerstone publication, the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, and six supplments on various speciality models and populations.

These guides detail research-informed and practitioner-approved Standards for creating and sustaining quality youth mentoring programs and consequently, impactful mentoring relationships. The six evidence-based Standards are intended to be applicable across almost every type of youth mentoring program. Each Standard includes Benchmarks to ensure the safety and effectiveness of mentoring relationships, as well as Enhancements that may be promising, innovative and useful for programs.


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American Rescue Plan Resources

Starting a New Mentoring Program

Launching and sustaining an impactful youth mentoring program requires building a strong foundation. To do this, programs will need to build an advisory committee, conduct a needs assessment, determine mission and vision, create a logic model and budget, develop policies and procedures, build community partnerships and awareness, and create a staffing model.

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Recruiting Mentors and Mentees

Whether you’re building a brand new mentoring program or have been operating for years, it can become challenging to recruit enough mentors to meet the need in your community, or to recruit mentors who are a great fit with your program’s goals and values. Use the resources below as a starting point for developing or enhancing your program’s plans for meeting your mentor recruitment goals.

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Screening Mentors and Mentees

Every mentor and mentee who participate in a mentoring program will need to be screened based on established criteria. Mentors will need to be screened for safety, and mentors and mentees will both need to be screened for commitment and to ensure a good fit for the program. Use the resources below as a starting point for developing or enhancing your program’s plans for screening mentors and mentees.

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Training Mentors and Mentees

Training mentors, mentees, and parents/guardians ensures they have the basic knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to build and support an effective mentoring relationship. Training is also an opportunity to learn more about each participant before a program officially accepts them into the program. Mentor training should last at least two hours, be offered as an in-person experience whenever possible, and occur prior to matching mentors and mentees. Use the resources below as a starting point for developing or enhancing your program’s training. MENTOR Virginia also offers New Mentor Training sessions throughout the year.

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Matching Mentors and Mentees

To increase the odds that a mentoring relationship will endure and be effective, it needs a strong foundation. This begins with a good match, which stems from a high-quality matching process that includes program-specific criteria and takes into account the characteristics of each mentor and mentee. Once the match is made, each participant is given background information about his or her new friend. Then, with the help of the program, the pair officially meets for the first time. Use the resources below as a starting point for developing or enhancing your program’s matching process.

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Monitoring and Supporting Matches

Providing ongoing monitoring and support to youth and adults is often the most critical—yet overlooked—aspect of managing a high-quality youth mentoring program. Ongoing support involves monthly communication with all parties (mentors, mentees, and mentees’ families) to support the relationship-development process. To effectively support matches, staff members must be trained to develop cultural competency and supportive communication skills so they can navigate across cultures and contexts. Use the resources below as a starting point for developing or enhancing your program’s monitoring process.

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Closure for Matches

Closure, the process of transitioning or ending relationships, is a natural part of the mentoring life cycle. Unfortunately, although mentoring relationships are often initiated with care, many do not receive the support they need to endure common pitfalls and do not transition in ways that affirm participants. From an ethical standpoint, we know careful management of mentoring relationship closures is critical to ensuring positive outcomes for youth. Use the resources below as a starting point for developing or enhancing your program’s closure process.

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Mentoring Program Evaluation

Evaluation is an essential tool for building effective mentoring programs that truly make a difference. Evaluation is not a one-time activity—it is a system used to collect information that will help improve your program over time. Establishing a solid system of program evaluation has many benefits. For instance, it allows you to:

  1. Make data-informed decisions to improve the program
  2. Determine whether resources are being allocated in the most effective way
  3. Communicate your program’s successes to partners, funders, participants, and other stakeholders

Getting Started with Program Evaluation

Sample Evaluation Policy & Procedure

How MENTOR Virginia Can Help

MENTOR Virginia is here to partner with youth mentoring programs to strengthen youth outcomes and community impact. How can we help your program right now?

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