Become a Mentor: Frequently Asked Questions
- What do BEST Kids mentors do, exactly?
The long answer? Mentors are consistent, positive forces in the lives of their mentees. Matches spend the majority of their time in the community working on short and long term goals, exploring new activities and engaging over mutual interests, and participating in a variety of monthly programming offered by BEST Kids and partner organizations. Whether it’s a Saturday hike, a trip to the library, or a visit to a Smithsonian, mentors and mentees are simply encouraged to spend quality time together.
What ages are BEST Kids mentees?
BEST Kids works with youth between ages 6 and 21.
How long should I expect to be mentoring?
Our program requires that mentors commit for at least one year, but most of our relationships last well beyond 12 months. Our matches are supported in perpetuity; so long as they are spending time together and working towards goals, BEST Kids will support the relationship indefinitely.
I know a youth who is in need of a mentor. Can I refer them to your program?
Unfortunately, no. Each BEST Kids mentee is referred to us directly by their social worker. Unless the youth has an open case with CFSA, they are regrettably ineligible for our program.
How does BEST Kids match volunteers and program participants?
BEST Kids’ staff use a variety of methods in order to match mentors and mentees. The following factors are considered:
- Personality/Mutual Interests
- Geographical Proximity
- Scheduling Compatibility
BEST Kids seems adamant that mentors have access to a reliable car. Why can’t I mentor without one?
BEST Kids mentors are responsible for picking up and dropping off their mentees before and after outings, and unfortunately, most BEST Kids youth are not living in metro-accessible areas. Even if a mentee was living in an area easily accessible via public transit, there is simply no way we can guarantee that they’ll remain in that placement. We simply couldn’t risk that the relationship would be cut off in the case of a sudden move due to their foster care placement. Therefore, access to a car is crucial.
Does BEST Kids require that I have experience working with youth to become a mentor?
While previous experiences working with young people is valuable, the most important part of mentoring is being consistent, caring, and communicative. We’re looking for open-minded and persistent adults who are willing to become a stable figure for one of our mentees. If that is you, please consider applying!
It seems like BEST Kids has a variety of Saturday activities. What if I am not always available for Peer Groups and other programming?
Since Peer Groups (age-appropriate, group programming) are always on the 2nd Saturday of each month, it is our hope that the consistency in scheduling allows for mentors to plan ahead so they can attend with their mentees. While we certainly understand you may not be able to make each and every Peer Group, consistent Saturday conflicts would make it difficult to mentor in our program.
What time do Peer Groups generally take place?
It depends on the activity, but Peer Groups generally are 3 or so hours long, and take place in the late morning to the early afternoon. Lunch is included as a part of the activity.
How do I apply to become a mentor?
Simply fill out our online application, and we will reach out shortly thereafter!
Do you perform background checks on your volunteers?
A: Yes. BEST Kids requires that each mentor complete a variety of background checks as a part of our Clearance Process. On average, it takes between 6 and 8 weeks to complete the process.
I know someone who would make a great mentor! How can I refer them to your program?
Please refer to our home page! There, you will find a form for referring adults to our program.
I am a part of a group/community that would like to help volunteer, spread the word, and/or partner with BEST Kids. Who can I speak with?
A: Our Program Director, Dana Staley, can be reached at email@example.com or 202-397-3272 (Ext: 101).
I have additional questions. Who can I contact?
Please reach out to our Recruitment and Development Associate, Danny Silbert at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at 202-397-3272 (Ext: 102).