Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about being a mentor! If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us!
Can I take vacations and/or travel for work while I’m mentoring?
We understand that our volunteer mentors are humans with lives outside of volunteering. As a mentor, feel free to go on vacations and/or travel for work during your year in the program. The only thing we ask is when you travel and need to miss hangouts with your mentee, that you communicate with your mentee and their caregiver that you will be gone. Also, let your mentee know when you’ll be back and/or schedule a time that you’ll get together when you return.
What do mentors and mentees do together during hangouts?
Our mentors and mentees do a huge variety of things when they get together for hangouts. It’s really up to you and your mentee to decide what you want to explore together. We provide structure to your experience through goal setting, ideas for activities and weekly events hosted by Bolder Options. The rest is up to the two of you! Our pairs do some of the following things when they get together 1:1:
Going for a walk/jog/bike ride around a lake.
Cooking dinner together at the Bolder Options Youth Center.
Shooting hoops or taking a class at the YMCA (we provide every pair with a YMCA membership)
Attending sporting/arts events (we provide tickets to these opportunities throughout the year)
Working on mentee’s homework at a local library.
Making art/crafts together.
Attending community events and celebrations
What if I don’t have access to a car?
We don’t want a lack of access to a car to get in the way of you being able to mentor. However, we rely on mentors to transport their mentee to activities and events, so a system needs to be set in place that won’t limit your/your mentee’s ability to participate in the program. If you don’t have access to a car, please let us know in your initial application so we can work with you to come up with a transportation plan for mentoring and see if this opportunity will work for you.
How does Bolder Options choose mentor-mentee pairings?
We put a lot of thought into mentor-mentee pairings. We match mentors and mentees based on preferences collected during the application process, compatible personalities, shared interests, geographic location, and gender identity (mentors and mentees are asked about their preferred mentor/mentee gender identity).
Can I mentor a youth with my partner/spouse/
At this time we don’t match youth with two mentors focusing on a 1:1 approach to mentoring relationships.
However, once you, your mentee, and both of your families get to know each other better, it is okay if a partner/spouse tags along to our Bolder Options Family events. We just ask that you get your mentee’s caregiver’s permission to spend time with your partner/spouse.
If you have a friend or coworker that would like to explore mentoring with Bolder Options, feel free to bring them along to our monthly mentor meet-ups, annual Open House or connect them with a Bolder Options staff member.
I’m a parent. Are my kids allowed to meet my mentee?
Once you and your mentee get to know each other, it is okay if a family member tags along to our Bolder Options Family events or an occasional hangout (no more than once every quarter). We ask that you get your mentee’s caregiver’s permission first, if your child, or another family member, will be joining you for a hangout.
Is there a specific date that the program begins?
Our program doesn’t have a specific start and end date. We bring mentor-mentee pairs into the program on a rolling basis and graduate pairs on a quarterly basis. You and your mentee will graduate from the program in the middle month of the quarter you were matched (i.e. a pair matched in January 2020 will have their official graduation in February 2021).
How much does the program cost?
This program is designed to be completely free for everyone involved. We encourage mentors to do free activities with their mentees by offering ideas, events and activities to keep you busy during your year.
What kind of support do mentors receive from Bolder Options?
We are a small program that prides itself on building a community of support for the mentees and mentors in our community. Mentors and mentees have a dedicated staff member to facilitate meetings, support communication and help resolve any issues that come up during the year. We also host monthly Mentor Meet-ups which are an event exclusively for mentors to connect with each other, share in the successes/challenges of mentoring, and learn how to be an effective mentor.
I see that Bolder Options requires a background check for all mentor applicants. Can I still apply if I don’t have a clean record?
We do require background checks to mentor with Bolder Options, but take more than just your background check results into consideration when determining acceptance to the program. We understand that folks with a record can still make great mentors, but we need to be aware of what is on your record and will ask you to disclose this during the application process. We determine eligibility on a case by case basis.
When is a good time to start mentoring?
The best time to start mentoring is when you have the availability in your schedule to devote 2-4 hours per week to spend with your mentee. Being able to show up consistently for your mentee is critically important. We bring mentors and mentees into the program on a rolling basis, so you can start the application process anytime!
Will you help me come up with ideas for what to do with my mentee?
We will definitely help you with ideas of what to do with your mentee! For the most part we want you and your mentee to focus on being physically active, setting goals, and having fun together. We do the following to provide you with ideas of what to do with your mentee:
Host weekly events for mentors and mentees.
Weekly Challenges provided every Monday. Weekly Challenges are activities that you and your mentee can complete 1:1 either in-person or online.
Provide a list of free/cheap activities during the summer and winter.
Every mentor-mentee pairs receives a YMCA membership
We provide tickets to sporting/arts events and opportunities throughout the year
Do I have to be athletic/super fit to be a Bolder Options mentor?
We accept mentors of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. Our program focuses on being physically active, so you do need to enjoy being active. However, for many mentees in the program, they are just getting exposed to being active for the first time. Having a mentor who loves to be active, but doesn’t describe themselves as “fit,” can set a non-athletic youth at ease about trying new kinds of physical activity.