Meet and Greet Each Morning

During the school week, the mentor is responsible for finding the mentee as early in the day as possible, and warmly welcoming the mentee to school. It sounds something like, “Hi (name of mentee). I’m so glad you’re here today. It’s great to see you.” PAUSE. If the mentee was absent the day before, the mentor follows up with a gentle probe, like “I missed you yesterday. Is everything OK?”

The success mentor should personalize the greeting as much as possible, noticing for example, something they like about what the mentee recently did, or complimenting them about something new or different (new haircut, pretty sweater, cool back pack). Create a special greeting! Just be creative and age appropriate. Being there every day as a mentor, or a minimum of three times a week, is extremely important because the consistency of the interaction is essential to having an impact.

Over the course of the year, mentors can tailor greetings to take notice of special situations such taking off or returning from the holidays and acknowledging a child’s birthday.

This exercise, “The Good, The Bad and The Funny,” from the Center for Supportive Schools is an excellent tool for figuring out what to say.

  • Building relationships over time. The success mentor approach creates an opportunity for a mentor to get to know their mentee over time. By greeting a child every day, the mentor can show that they care and build trust through consistency. Mentors can meet with students early on to find out about their hopes, interests and strengths. This positive rapport helps increase the chances that a mentee and his or her family would be willing to disclose the real challenges they face to getting to school and allow the mentor to better engage in hard conversations.

  • Research shows that a developmental approach to mentoring, which incorporates young people’s interests and choices while focusing on building a collaborative relationship between the mentor and mentee, is more effective and lasting than a prescriptive approach.