If a success mentor is external to the school, they will need a completed background check. Local affiliates of MENTOR or a national service partner can help to ensure these background checks are completed.

Regardless of whether a mentor is internal or external, the success mentors program should also engage in an additional screening process of volunteers to ensure their appropriateness for the role. It helps to develop a list of criteria that mentors should meet to be most effective with chronically absent youth at your school. For starters, mentors should have the availability to commit to an additional responsibility, including three contacts with their mentees each week and phone calls to follow up with families. Mentors should have a positive outlook and attitude about mentoring and confidence in their ability to shape a young person’s life.

Each district should determine the approaches it will use to assess if the mentor can meet these criteria. One approach is to create a self-assessment form for mentors to fill out that provides them the opportunity to be more thoughtful about whether they have the qualities needed to take on this responsibility. Other approaches include creating a short application form. Site coordinators can hold meetings or interviews with prospective mentors. Screening can also occur at a training for success mentors. Take time to notice any behavior by prospective success mentors that would suggest they aren’t ready to serve as a mentor.

Qualities of a Good Mentor
  • Is consistent
  • Listens
  • Is trustworthy
  • Expresses care
  • Honors commitments
  • Keeps the needs of the mentee first and foremost in mind