As schools closed across the state due to the COVID crisis, mentoring programs suddenly came to a halt. But thanks to support and guidance from organizations such as Mentor VT, mentoring programs in this state were able to quickly shift gears to adapt. Mentor VT has been dedicated to supporting programs during the pandemic by offering additional resources, such as weekly support calls. These support calls, hosted by Mentor VT staff members, allow mentoring program directors to gather together and discuss their experiences and best practices during this difficult time. Mentor VT also offers online trainings and webinars that focus on trauma-informed practices that will help mentors assist mentees who are experiencing additional stress during this time.
Program Director Erika Linskey has utilized the available tools and research to navigate New Circle mentors through these difficult times. Linskey quickly realized how important telecommunication is for the mentoring program. Individual plans were created for each mentoring match strictly through phone calls and emails. Mentors have opened their minds to remote mentoring, striving to be as creative as possible to ensure that they maintain strong relationships with their mentees.
While text messaging, video chat, and other forms of telecommunication are being used, mentors are finding different ways to make sure that social distancing does not disrupt their commitment to mentoring. This includes:
- Sharing colorful postcards and encouraging letters through the mail
- Art supply drop offs for mentees
- Sharing favorite books to read and discuss at a later time
- Creating scavengers hunts that mentees can do right in their own backyard, searching for items such as leaves, different colored flowers, insects, etc.
- and many more!
Currently, mentoring directors who connect through the support calls continue to share resources to align program policies as we shift into summer. We all have hopes of resuming in person mentoring (especially our mentors!), just as soon as it is safe to do so.
You can view all upcoming events hosted by Mentor VT here: https://www.mentorvt.org/events/