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.
When selecting your program participants, be sure to have a wide lens. Ensure that your program is accessible to both mentors and mentees who may be facing barriers to participation. Often the most unlikely and overlooked mentors and mentees make wonderful program participants!
After you have recruited mentors and mentees and completed the screening and assessment process, how do you select your participants and mentors and inform them of their acceptance?
Girls should be selected based on the goals of your program. Take a look back through the Theory of Change or Logic Model that you created in the Planning Your Program section, and consider how each participant fits. Also consider the strengths and needs of the potential mentors and mentees, and how these can contribute to the success of your program. When you have made a decision, inform your participants.
When selecting mentors, your organization should take time to prioritize what is most important and rank the must-have criteria accordingly. Among other factors, mentors should be selected based on their fit with program goals, their appropriate expectations, ability to relate to girls and demonstrated reliability.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada shares the following piece of advice when informing participants of their acceptance:
“It is important to promptly let applicants know whether or not they are accepted. Sensitivity is essential in communicating non-acceptance. This is particularly true with a mentee who is not suitable for the program. It is usually preferable to make and to communicate a decision not to accept a mentee as early in the process as possible, (while still giving fair consideration to the application), so that the young person's hopes are not heightened and then crushed. Non-acceptance must then be communicated to the child or youth honestly and in a manner that he or she can understand.”
It is highly recommended that you offer referrals and suggestions to other organizations and services to girls who are not accepted. For mentors who are not accepted, you might suggest other volunteer opportunities or possibly present other volunteer roles within your program or organization—even if short term. This is especially important when working with older teen mentors whose potential feelings of rejection may be particularly sensitive. Frame the experience positively by suggesting you have another opportunity that might better fit their interests or skills set. You might also consider providing a letter for those turned away at this stage. This provides clarity for the reasons why they were determined to not be the best fit, and also a continuity of information within your organization which can be helpful if you face staff turnover. If a new staff person comes on board, they should be informed of who has previously applied and been turned away from the program since it is possible these individuals will reapply. This is particularly applicable if safety concerns were identified.
Mentee and mentor applicants who pass your screening and fit within the goals of your program can be congratulated and invited to the program.