December 9th, 2014 | Step for Bulgaria
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Bulgarian underprivileged youth is facing many problems in terms of social and economic integration. The foster care institutions or their families cannot provide them with the needed attention in order to fully develop their potential.
As a result, the youngsters lack self confidence and motivation. They are not prepared to face the challenges of real life and find hardship in communicating with their peers outside the institutions. They need positive role models and friendships outside the foster care institutions in order to be able to become an active part of our society.
Mentoring is the relationship between a student and a non-parental adult who aims to provide care, support and advice on the student’s individual and most pressing needs. Such a relationship may take different forms. It may involve adults from the school staff, the local community or the business sector. It may be established and evolve at school, in a non-formal setting, over e-mail or through group activities with other peers.
A relationship with non-parental adult influences positively the youths’ perceptions of self- worth, their beliefs about their competence as learners and their valuing of school. It also promotes resiliency and helps youths be better suited to benefit from the support of their parents and providers.
Mentoring is especially important for at-risk youth, whose environment provides a limited number of positive role models. As 40% of teenager’s waking hours are spent without supervision or companionship, the engagement with a mentor provides a valuable place for teens to spend their free time and keep them away from destructive behaviours.
DESCRIPTION: One adult to one young person
PLACE: School-based: At the mentee’s school; Community-based: The mentor and mentee can meet anywhere, including attending events, going to museums, etc. Workplace-based: At the mentor’s workplace.
SELECTION OF MENTEES: Mentees are selected on the basis of their motivation and commitment. They are matched with their mentors based on their common personal and professional interests.
RECRUITMENT OF MENTORS: Mentors can be young professionals, students or volunteers in NGOs. They should be good listeners and willing to share their experience with the young mentees.
MENTOR TRAINING AND SUPPORT: All mentors must complete training to prepare them to work with their mentees. Ongoing training of mentors is provided throughout the year to assist mentors with issues and concerns that may come up throughout the course of their relationship. Supervision occurs at least monthly and support sessions are offered every 8–10 weeks.
MENTOR COMMITMENT: 1 year/ around 4 hrs per month
RELATIONSHIP: Focus can be social, career, employability skills and/or academic.
ACTIVITIES: Mentoring activities focus on character development and academic success and emphasize school-to-career preparation.