Physical distancing due to COVID-19 social distancing requirement should not result in social disconnection. Reassuring your mentee that you are committed to supporting him/her during quarantine will help your mentee feel stronger and more secure.
As our schools are closed along with cancellation of all extracurricular activities, proms, and graduations, our students are dealing with many emotions, including disappointment, fear and uncertainty. Teens who have already been experiencing anxiety and depression or have a history of adverse childhood experiences, may have an increased difficulty adjusting to these times of self-isolation. Uncertainty about what the summer and fall might be like can increase anxiety and or depression. This experience may trigger trauma for young people impacted by the virus or by the news surrounding the pandemic. Let your mentee know that you are there for him/her.
Your role as a mentor has evolved over the past few months and likely will continue to evolve, and we encourage you to reach out to your mentee consistently as you determine the best way to communicate.
As stated in our mentor handbook, all volunteers have a responsibility to interact with minors and model positive behavior. We would like to expand on what is in our handbook with a focus specifically on safe and effective e-mentoring.
E-mentoring, or virtual mentoring includes any type of mentoring that relies on a digital technology. Mentors may use email, texting, FaceTime, or Zoom. We suggest that you ask your mentee which form of communication they prefer, but we discourage mentors from using Skype in the interest of maintaining their mentee’s online security.
As in the past, we discourage mentors from interacting with their mentees on social media.
Tips on safe and effective e-mentoring
- Be consistent. Try to schedule a time to talk or text to ensure that too much time does not pass in between communications.
- Be conscious of your environment if you are using a video chat platform like Zoom or Facetime.
- Understand that by video chatting, you are inviting your mentee into your home, so you should make sure that nothing appears in the video chat that might be considered inappropriate or that you do not want to discuss.
- Be conscious of your mentee’s environment. By scheduling a video chat, you can ensure that your mentee is prepared to speak to you and you aren’t catching him/her off guard.