This Girls Group Mentoring Toolkit provides the tools, resources and support to create, implement, deliver and evaluate a quality group mentoring program for girls, ages 9-13, in your community. The Toolkit is intended to be used in a range of communities, and can be adapted to the unique values, needs, strengths and challenges that each community encompasses.
Setting criteria for and screening the children/youth in your program is as important as the mentors themselves. Your program should be clear and intentional about the girls you wish to serve, and should do what it can to ensure the right girls are participating. This is particularly important in group mentoring, where the relationship development is not only guided by the mentor but by the peer mentees. Screening processes can also help to ensure you are including girls that can benefit most from the program (and may exhibit higher needs) and not simply engaging the ‘already engaged’ girls in your community.
Application and permission forms are important pieces of the mentee screening process. Referrals or nominations for youth participation can be solicited from parents/guardians, teachers, guidance counsellors, youth workers, churches, youth-serving agencies, community centres, etc. Consider the collaborations identified in the Assessment of Strengths, Needs and Collaborations section of the toolkit and how you can engage those in your community to involve girls in your program. Additional activities that can be included in your mentee screening process include: an interview with the child/youth; an interview with the parent(s)/guardian(s); a consultation with the person who referred/nominated the mentee; the training and orientation session(s) for both the mentee and their parent(s)/guardian(s). Parent/guardian relationships can have an impact on the involvement of girls in your program. Gauging the parent/guardian’s interest early on can help determine whether barriers might be created or what types of engagement and communication would best support the girls’ ongoing involvement.