March 2018
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March's Mentor of the Month
Kylie Ross
1. How did you become involved in mentoring through the Hillsborough Education Foundation?
I became involved in mentoring through HEF from an ad for volunteering for the foundation that I saw in a VolunteerMatch email. I had been wanting to find a way to be more involved in my community and this opportunity to become a mentor seemed like a perfect fit! 

2. What  has been the most rewarding part of mentoring?
For me, the most rewarding part of mentoring is getting to know great young people in my area and having a positive impact on their lives. I have really enjoyed getting to know my mentee, Lisbeth, and I feel that I have learned just as much from her as she has learned from me since we have been meeting. 

3. What do you believe is the key to being a quality mentor?
I think there are a lot of important aspects to being a quality mentor, but one thing that I think is key is being patient and being creative to find ways to establish common ground with your mentee. It can be really difficult to establish a relationship from the start and having patience and giving my mentee space to just be silent and get comfortable was one of the most effective ways our relationship started to develop. Also, being creative and trying to tap into your mentee's interests and find ways that they intersect with yours are great qualities for a mentor to have. One thing my mentee and I have in common is our love for cats and we would often talk about our cats during our meetings. And then one day it hit me that we could take our love for cats and do something productive for the community and since, we have been working on a project to make tie-blankets for shelter cats. This small idea came from finding common ground :)

  4.When you are not working with students, how do you prefer to spend your free time?
When I'm not working with students, I am a full-time PHD student and working with undergraduate students! But when I'm not working with them, I enjoy getting outdoors as much as possible, swimming, biking, and running, and I love to take my rollerblades out to the Causeways or Flatwoods Park in Tampa. I also enjoy creating art from recycled materials (like bottle caps) and baking.  
5. What do you hope your mentee will learn from you?
I hope my mentee learns the value of getting an education, and the privilege that education really is. I hope she learns that being organized now can pay dividends in the future and that giving back to her community is valuable in so many ways and not just to earn community service hours. But above all, I hope she learns that it's okay not to have all the answers or have a fool-proof plan of what she wants to do or "be" in the future, but it's important to work hard and do her best so that she can shine to her greatest potential wherever her life leads.  


Skills For Life Report

March:  Teamwork & Networking

As a student approaches graduation, it is important they understand how the professional world operates. Teamwork & Networking are vital skills for students to learn and adopt, allowing them to effectively develop their professional career and improve their opportunities in a particular field of work. Networking is especially imperative when applying for jobs, attending career fairs, and joining an academic or professional organization. At its core, networking is a way to advertise individual abilities, interests, and passions to prospective employers. 

Begin discussing networking with your mentee early in the mentoring relationship and ask if they are familiar with the term "networking" and the process of building a professional network. Make sure to explain that networking incorporates social skills and making connections with people who may be in positions of power. Provide your mentee with examples in which you implemented these skills, the outcome of the experience, and whether your approach was successful. 

The Skills for Life Toolkit has four activities related to Teamwork & Networking to aid in your discussions.  Additionally, discuss the Department of Labor statistics and quotes below on networking with your mentee to discover how important networking will be to them after graduation. 
  • "Networking is finding ways to 'get known' by others who can help you in your job search. It is an 'active' process for developing new relationships and new opportunities." 
  • "When it comes to finding a job, you've got to network! According to Cornell University's Career Center, 80% of available jobs are not advertised. These jobs are often referred to as the 'hidden job market.'"
  • "'It's not what you know, it's who you know.' This common expression is the basis for understanding the importance of networking as a strategy for career development and exploration."
  • "Everyone has a network, even if you don't realize it, and when it comes to job searching, this network may be just as important as your skills and experience."  
If you have not taken advantage of the Skills for Life toolkit, we recommend contacting William Dailey  to request a hard copy. ( Otherwise, please refer to our digital download option list below. If you decide to use it or are currently doing so, please provide us your feedback so we may continue to refine and improve this resource for our mentors and mentees.

Join our NEW
Mentors Facebook Group!

Stay up-to-date on all our Mentor resources and events or share your experiences mentoring for others! 

A NEW virtual meeting place for us to get together -  Join our HEF Mentors Facebook Group today!

Mentor Resource Alert

Establishing Relationships with your Mentee's Family

Throughout the year, we receive inquiries from mentors who are unsure about speaking to their mentee's parent/guardian. Overall, we believe this is a good thing and mentors are not discouraged from doing so. However, there are dynamics at play in which the mentor must take into consideration. Experience tells us that if you as the mentor are interested in doing this, it's much better to discuss it with the student first and get their input. Explain why you think it would be helpful for your mentorship. This way, you preserve your mentee's trust and it gives them a sense of ownership over the interaction. Please review the suggested tips below from " The Wisdom of Age: A Handbook for Mentors"

In the beginning...Developing appropriate relationships with your mentee's family is often quite difficult. Parents don't always understand the mentor's role and therefore may not know how to relate to you. Families may feel so overwhelmed with the task of child rearing that they may ask more and more of you in terms of helping out. It's important to build trust with your mentee and the family, as well as strike a balance with regard to your involvement.
  • Work with your match supervisor [College Success Coach] in making your initial contact with the family. The sponsoring agency [HEF] has developed ways of informing parents about the program. Read any material that might have been sent out and talk with your coordinator about what has been said to the parents about the program.
  • Call and introduce yourself. Make arrangements to meet with the family with your match supervisor.
  • Talk with the family about the program and about your role as mentor. Most people don't know what mentoring really means, and some may fear that you will take over their role as the parent.
  • Share some information about yourself. You could talk about what you did before you retired, what your hobbies and interests are, perhaps a little about your family, such as children and grandchildren, etc.
  • Explain what kinds of things you and your mentee will be doing together and how much time will be involved. Ask the parents about their ground rules, and make it clear that you will respect them. Discuss how you will make contact with the mentee. Ask what kinds of goals the parents have for their child.
  • Let the family know how they can get in contact with you, and work toward establishing regular lines of communication.
 As the relationship develops...
  • Respect and be sensitive to the family. If your youth is from a different ethnic background, make an effort to learn about and understand that culture. If the family's style of discipline and communication is different from yours, do not be critical or judgmental. Be yourself and model the values and behavior you believe in.
  • Stay focused on your mentee. Although you may want to help other members of the family, your primary goal is to be supportive of your mentee.
  • Maintain confidentiality. Don't compromise your relationship with your mentee by revealing to the parent what your mentee disclosed to you.
  • Stay out of family disputes.
  • Set goals primarily with your mentee. You may use the family's goals to help understand your mentee, but don't allow them to take over the relationship. Remember, goals that are imposed from the outside probably won't be achieved.
If there are problems..
  • Do not hesitate to ask for help. You and your match supervisor [College Success Coach] can do some problem solving together. Preserving the relationship with your mentee is the most important thing you can do.

Source: The Wisdom of Age: A Handbook for Mentors
Mark Your Calendar!

Interview day
(Jr. & Sr. Volunteer Opportunity)
April 7 HEF
Mentor Appreciation Party 
April 26 HEF
Scholar Celebration 
(Mandatory for all Seniors and New Students)
May 8

The College Success Team
William Dailey                    Anna Laird                  Jocelin Tapia         
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If you know someone who is interested in mentoring, 
have them visit our website for more information: