2017 – 2018 Mentor Calenders
Q: How do I handle my LINK scholar’s request for financial assistance with a personal expense?
A: First, a word about the LINK Unlimited policy… although our program includes a financial commitment from mentors, your annual contribution is exclusively for tuition scholarships and LINK Unlimited enrichment programming. During LINK training, scholars and their families are asked to refrain from making any financial requests of their mentors. Mentors should not be the ‘go to’ source when a student or family needs money for non budgeted items such as a class ring, a college visit, prom tickets, or any of the myriad expenses that crop up during high school. Please feel free to ask me or other LINK staff to help re-direct any significant or persistent student or parent financial requests.
Now, on to the opportunity at hand! Dealing effectively with financial surprises is a lifelong skill that your LINK scholar should develop. Help your scholar understand that you are not an ATM machine and take this opportunity to teach your scholar t how to strategize and find a solution to unexpected expenses.
Rather than just saying yes or no to a request, try these ideas:
- Initiate a frank conversation with your scholar about the expense
- Determine whether your scholar maintains a budget and encourage good saving habits
- Discuss whether this is a ‘need’ versus a ‘want’ and why there is a difference
- Help your scholar prioritize various expenses or purchases
- Brainstorm options for earning the money (if a full-time job is not an option, consider a weekend car wash, snow shoveling/lawn mowing, pet care, babysitting, etc.)
- Determine if there are other options for financial assistance, such as those offered by the school or PTO, etc., for students with documented financial needs (book fees, prom tickets, and other school-specific items can be handled this way, often through a special request or grant program)
- Educate your scholar about options for payment plans, such as layaway or installments
- As a last resort, help your scholar consider options for borrowing the money from parents or other family members, with a specific, agreed plan to pay it back
- Congratulate your scholar when the situation has been successfully navigated
While you may decide to help with some personal expenses, your scholar will benefit from learning to work through the options on his or her own.
Q: What should I do if my LINK scholar is struggling academically?
A: Resist the urge to tell your scholar what you think he needs to do… instead, help your scholar gain life-long skills by guiding him through the thought process of finding the solution.
For example, your scholar’s grade report shows that he is having trouble with a subject. Rather than telling him to see the teacher for help, initiate a conversation with your scholar about how he thinks he is doing in the class and in what ways he can improve his performance. Encourage your scholar to take ownership by determining what factors contributed to the problem (not finishing or turning in homework, doing poorly on quizzes and/or tests, losing class participation points, etc.). Most schools have on-line grade reports with lots of detail about grade calculations. Have him think about resources at school (before-school help from the teacher) and outside of school (the local library, a sibling, friend, or parent who knows the subject well, on-line resources like khanacademy.org). Encourage him to create an action plan that uses the identified resources to resolve the problem and includes a time to reassess his progress before long. Most of all, reassure your scholar that you are in his corner by supporting his efforts to improve, and always celebrate signs of improvement as a means to encourage success in the long run.
If you ever feel that an issue is beyond your role or you feel unequipped to address the situation, please reach out to LINK staff for help and additional suggestions!
- Activities for Mentors & High School Age Youth (PDF document)
- 75 Cool Activities for Mentors & Mentees (PDF document)
- Stages of a Mentoring Relationship (PDF document)
- Tips for Building a Mentoring Relationship (PDF document)
- What Makes a Good Mentor? (PDF document)
- Characteristics of Children and Youth (PDF document)
All articles came from the Mentoring.org website
Do you have a question or tip to share?
E-mail Sharon McGrown at email@example.com.