Become a Mentor
“You matter, even when it doesn’t seem that way.
Especially when it doesn’t seem that way.”
-formerly mentored youth, speaking about the importance of mentors
Why become a BEST Kids Mentor?
If we each help one child, we can change the world. When you volunteer with BEST Kids, you re-direct the path of a young foster care person’s life. Being a BEST Kids mentor will change you as well. You will be well-trained and supported by many professionals through both initial and ongoing training sessions. You will be able to share ideas with other mentors who are mentoring similarly aged youth and your mentee will be made part of a peer group whose activities will help support the relationship you two have. Throughout your time together you will learn and grow as you experience new things with your mentee.
What’s it like to be a BEST Kids Mentor?
Best Kids mentors spend ten hours a month in person with their mentees and also maintain weekly contact in some form. While in-person contact is preferred, weekly contact can consist of a phone call, postcard, email or text; anything that lets the mentees know their mentors are thinking about them. Mentors participate in activities that both parties will enjoy; some favorites have been ice skating, bowling, rock climbing and visiting local museums. Mentors also attend pre-match and on-going training sessions that both prepare and support them throughout the match. Once a month all mentors and mentees attend peer group events through which they can engage in age-appropriate experiential learning activities. Some past peer group events have been canoeing, bike riding and career planning. At the end of each month, mentors record the time spent with their mentees through a simple online program so that the mentor coordinators can track the progress of the relationship.
Why is there a one year minimum commitment?
Foster care children nationwide average three foster family placements; children in the DC child welfare system often fare much worse. Some of our youth have been in more than three placements just in the last year alone. These children have many adults revolving in and out of their lives, so we ask for a one year minimum commitment to maintain consistency with the youth. You may be their only consistent, caring and competent adult between their foster care placements. You are desperately needed in their lives.
*Please also note that majority of our youth live in the Southeast quadrant of DC. Since it is your responsibility to pick-up and drop-off your mentee from their home, it is important to consider where you live in relation to your mentee*
Requirements to become a mentor:
- You must be 21 years old;
- You must have lived in the area for at least one year and you must intend to be in the area long enough to fulfill your 1 year commitment;
- You must access to a steady vehicle; either you own a car or have a subscription to zipcar
- Clean driving record and clean criminal background record
How do I become a BEST Kids Mentor?
- The first step in becoming a mentor is filling out the online mentor application. Be sure to submit your references in the application!
- Once BEST Kids receives your application, we will review it and contact you within a week with the status of your submission.
- Next, you will receive an email from BEST Kids welcoming you to begin the interview process. We will schedule a phone interview and check your references. A phone interview will take about 30-40 minutes.
- After the phone interview, a panel will review your submission. Once accepted you will receive an email stating to begin your clearance process. This process takes up to 6 weeks to complete. Please review the BEST Kids Clearance Timeline
This list can seem overwhelming, but if you follow the timeline, you are potentially 6 weeks away from mentoring a child and making a difference in his/her life! Please contact BEST Kids and we will walk you through the process and offer additional assistance if needed.
Please also read the Mentor Requirements and Responsibilities sheet for mentoring with BEST Kids.