Interested in becoming a Mentor?
What is the Mentor Program at Chinquapin?
The Chinquapin School has a mentor program for its juniors and seniors. We try to match the students by career interests. There are ﬁve or six planned events a year, and we encourage the mentors to phone their mentees once or twice a month and to do an activity or two on their own with their mentee during the year. The main purpose of the program is to give individual attention to these students by providing them role models who reinforce the beneﬁts of attending college and encourage them to do something productive with their lives either in the business or professional world. We don’t always get a perfect match with the career but we do try in most cases to match the gender of the mentor/mentee. Whatever time you can give out of your busy schedule is appreciated.
Why become a mentor?
Becoming a mentor at Chinquapin is very rewarding and can help inﬂuence a motivated and talented young adult. Our students often are looking for role models outside of their community, and this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate to the mentee the possibilities that exist for them in "the real world." The time investment can be minimal. We have ﬁve events scheduled each year. Of course we would like you to check in with the Chinquapin student by text, e-mail or phone, perhaps one time per month, and you are encouraged to reach out to your mentee as often as your schedule permits.
Five events per year:
- A Get To Know You gathering in the fall.
- Winter Dinner in mid-December at a board member’s home in Houston. Dinner and great conversation.
- Mid-Spring, group outing such as bowling or baseball. To be determined.
- Career Day on Campus held during the spring semester. This event will have you addressing multiple students regarding your chosen career and it gives an opportunity for the students to ask you questions and get a better idea of what motivated you in your career choices and what it took for you to become successful.
- Take Your Mentee to Work Day in April
- Attend graduation in late May. Your mentee may also receive recognition at our annual Awards Ceremony held prior to graduation.
Suggested Activities During the Year
- Trips to civic, cultural or sports events, or to restaurants for a meal
- Tours of museums
- Work with mentee on job skills such as resume writing, interview skills, application forms or other informal career guidance
- Practice conversation and/or writing letters to develop communication skills
- Do a community service project together (we offer one each month)
- Offer guidance and support; introduce them to your family; make them feel special
- College visits
Students will write to you after the match is made. They will include their resume. Please let them know what you think and give them suggestions for improvement.
- Try to e-mail or text at least one time a month.
- Holiday gifts are not expected or part of any tradition.
- Ask for copies of their report cards.
Qualities of Successful Mentors
Personal commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time period—six months to one year at minimum.
Mentors have a genuine desire to be part of other people’s lives, to help them with tough decisions, to see them become the best they can be. They have to be invested in the mentoring relationship over the long haul, to be there long enough to make a difference.
Respect for individuals and for their abilities and their right to make their own choices in life.
Mentors can’t come with the attitude that their own ways are better or that participants need to be “rescued.” Mentors who convey a sense of respect and equal dignity in the relationship win the trust of their partners, and the privilege of being advisors to them.
Ability to listen and to accept different points of view.
Most people can ﬁnd someone who will give advice or express opinions. It’s much harder to ﬁnd someone who will suspend his or her own judgment and really listen. Mentors often help simply by listening, asking thoughtful questions, and giving participants an opportunity to explore their own thoughts with a minimum of interference. When people feel accepted, they are more likely to ask for and respond to good ideas.
Ability to empathize with another person’s struggles.
Good mentors can feel “with” people without feeling pity “for” them. Even without having had the same life experiences, they can empathize with their partners’ feelings and personal problems.
Ability to see solutions and opportunities as well as barriers.
Good mentors balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by their partners with an optimism about ﬁnding equally realistic solutions. They are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out sensible alternatives.
Flexibility and openness.
Good mentors recognize that relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two-way street. They are willing to take time to get to know their partners, to learn new things that are important to their partners (music, styles, and philosophies), and even to be changed by their relationship.
Ability to follow through with the mentoring relationship.
Nothing is more disappointing to a mentee than a mentor who commits to the program and then does not follow through. Please consider the requirements of this program seriously before committing yourself. These students really ﬂourish in the mentoring program and we wish for all of our students to have the best experience possible.