Mentoring Through a Pandemic

Top 10

  1. MarcoPolo is like Facetime, but saves all of your interactions in a digital library. 
    • Download MarcoPolo and create an account.
    • Invite mentors and parent/guardians to download the app
    • Invite each mentor match into a private chatSome programs  assign a mentor coordinator to oversee it.
  2. Virtual pizza party – Mentor sends takeout
  3. Send care package
  4. Play an appropriate online video game together
  5. Try using Facetime or Google Duo or the free version of Zoom https://zoom.us/pricing
  6. Setup a regular day and time to connect
  7. Listen carefully:
    • Acknowledge the strangeness of the whole situation. 
    • Encourage, stay positive, but don't downplay. 
    • Comfort, pray together, and share scripture when appropriate. 
  8. For school-based matches where students can’t connect directly, let your team be the go between for texts or by using a conference call line. 
  9. Go through a devotional together on the Youversion app sharing http://youversion.com
  10. Use Echo app to share prayer requests: https://new.echoprayer.com

And More...
Here is a compiled list of ideas of things mentors and mentees can do when they are not able to meet during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Special thanks for building this list go to:
Tips for mentors as they contact their mentees
  • Call and ask questions about what and how they are doing.  
  • Stay attuned to how they are viewing things as they unfold.
  • Pray with them & for them.
  • Acknowledge the strangeness of the whole situation. 
  • Encourage. Stay positive, but don’t downplay the tension.  
  • Be prepared with scriptures of encouragement, comfort, God's power to protect, God's love & faithfulness.
  • Try to connect on the same day & time - if you had a regular meeting day already try to maintain it by phone. 
  • Let Case Manager know if mom/guardian is having a hard time & might just need to talk - maintain your own boundaries.
  • Do not default to social media as a relationship substitute.
  • Use care when considering online game options as they link your mentees computer to the internet & everything that includes - parental permission should be obtained first.
  • Try using Facetime or Google Duo to connect. Zoom allows free use of their video meetings for meetings up to 40 minutes: https://zoom.us/pricing
  • **Note—if your mentee is too young to have a phone or a computer ask the parent or guardian for a day and time you can set up each week where your mentee can use their phone to receive texts, calls, facetimes, etc with you.
A list of creative things a mentor can do when they cannot meet
  • Give suggestions on positive ways to spend time—read, exercise, pray, journal, arts and crafts, keep up with schoolwork. Recommend free educational websites like Khan Academy if they need and want help with school work.
  • Here is a link to free audio books for children and teens during Coronavirus pandemic: 
  • https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/audible-to-provide-free-audiobooks-for-children-teens-during-covid-19-pandemic/
  • Read the same book - either together on the phone/video chat or discuss in a phone call.
  • Write a continuing story together if communicating by email - Mentor starts the story with 3-5 sentences. Mentee continues it with 3-5 sentences, etc.
  • Send regular text messages with encouraging words, scripture verses, and quotes. Ask for prayer requests and pray with them over the phone if they are open to it.
  • Share Bible stories about God's power to deliver His people from difficult situations - for younger kids use a Bible version that invites mental imagery. 
  • Text them a scripture a week to meditate on - if mature enough encourage them to memorize it  - next time you talk go over the scripture - recite together (you say the first word, them the second, you the third, etc) & work toward them being able to say it  all by themselves.
  • Send them a link to your church’s live streaming if appropriate. They may be more open to “trying church” in this manner and maybe when this crisis is over they will be open to coming one Sunday morning.
  • Forward any jokes, comics or memes you may find. Laughter helps!
  • Send a "care package." What would amuse, interest, and delight your match? Gel pens, coloring book, small crafts, games/cards, snacks and sweet treats, toilet paper?
  • Send cards or letters via snail mail—something for them to look forward to receiving. Print out some pics of the two of you together and mail them to your mentee with a note about the fun time together. You can include self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • Or write the letter and put it on cardboard then cut in puzzle pieces to be put together to be read - include word puzzle page. Send a silly ecard
  • Send a postcard - it can be someplace you went together & you can write about the memory of it.
  • Make a short video and text it to them of things you are doing during this time. Have them do the same. You can simply say hi, tell a joke, be “outside” together.
  • Share a meal while doing a video chat - make a cup of coffee & a sandwich, they make their lunch then sit and talk over your 'meal'.
  • Play war via video chat with you each using your own deck of cards.
  • Watch a movie or TV show simultaneously (with video chat or just on the phone together)
  • Play video charades.
Seven Virtual Mentoring Ideas:
1. Virtual pizza party: Have pizza delivered to their home and your home, then talk while you share a meal together!
2. Explore a museum together on a phone call:
text them the link to a museum:
  • Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam ("where is Amsterdam?")
  • Musee d'Orsay in Paris ("where is Paris?")
Call up your mentee and put it on speakerphone.
Both of you click the link on your cell phones as you talk on speaker. Ask them what they're seeing as you "explore", ask them which way they're turning or what they're clicking on so you can go "together". Or invent a Museum scavenger hunt... say something like, "can you find a ballerina? painting of a field? self-portraits?" 
Disneyworld may also have a virtual tour set up which would also be fun.
3. Talk about a video: Kids are on YouTube a lot! So, use that as a conversation piece! The day before your call, text the video link. Both of you watch the video before the call, then discuss. You could use one of these:
  • 8 Animals You'll Never See at a ZOO
  • Most Insane Waterslides in the World
  • Animated Story about Da Vinci
  • Animated Story about Van Gogh
  • Or ask them them to find a video or share their ideas!
4. Play "Would you Rather" questions game or ask IF questions. Check out YM website and look under mentor toolkit for questions to ask you match.
5. Scavenger Hunt:  On a video call, invent a challenge.
Say something like, "I'm going to set the timer for 60 seconds-- we both have to go gather up as many blue things as possible... whoever has the most items wins!" It could be a scavenger hunt to find a color, shape, size, whatever you can think of!

6. Read aloud: one of you read aloud to the other, or take turns. Use the website listed earlier to find stories with illustrations, all online. Text your mentee the link, put the phone on speaker, and click through together so you can both see the pictures!
7. Clothing Challenge Contest: On a video call, say sometime like, "I'm going to set the timer for 2 minutes (or more)... we will both go to our closet and put on as many pairs of clothes as possible! The one with the most layers of clothes on wins!" Be sure and stay on the line while they clean up all the clothes too-- don't want that burden to fall to mom

Engaging your Mentee
Below you will find biblical, educational, creative ways to engage your mentee during this time of social distancing. *Spectrum is offering free wifi for 60 days to households. Here’s more information: https://corporate.charter.com/newsroom/charter-to-offer-free-access-to-spectrum-broadband-and-wifi-for-60-days-for-new-K12-and-college-student-households-and-more
Please help them remember to make sure they cancel their account AFTER or ON the 60 days or they will begin to accrue charges. The phone number to call is provided in the link. If your mentee’s family does not have internet access, encourage them to call Spectrum*

Biblical and Educational Resources:

Activity

Age Group

Link

Objective

Devotionals, Bible Study and Videos

Elementary

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Library/4

Engaging your mentee in bible study

Academic lessons and activities 

Elementary

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/teaching-tools/articles/resources/scholastic-learn-at-home--free-resources-for-school-closures.html

Engaging mentees in academic and educational exercises

Devotionals, Bible Study and Videos

Middle

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Library/11

Engaging your mentee in bible study

Academic lessons and Activities

Middle

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/teaching-tools/articles/resources/scholastic-learn-at-home--free-resources-for-school-closures.html

Engaging mentees in academic and educational exercises

Devotionals, Bible Study and Videos

High School 

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Library/11

Engaging your mentee in bible study

Academic lessons and Activities

High School

https://www.weareteachers.com/free-online-learning-resources/

Engaging mentees in academic and educational exercise


More ideas for engaging your mentee:

  • Pray for mentee

  • Your mentee is going to be home for an extended amount of time and we are not sure exactly what that can be like for them. Please pray for them and their home situation daily.

  • Send a snail mail letter or package with different activities to keep them active

  • Coloring books, board games, crafts, sidewalk chalk, age appropriate STEM activities

  • Buy a journal and write an entry with questions. Mail or drop off the journal to mentee and have her/him answer the questions and have them write an entry to you. Include stamps and packaging with journal package. Or ask them to leave the journal on their porch on a certain day and you can pick it up. Set up a drop-off/pick up day time.

  • Make and deliver a care package to their home.

  • Drop off some toilet paper or food when you know the need — drive and drop it off at their door step

  • Call or text everyday - set an alarm on your phone as a reminder

  • Ask about their day, how are they using their time

  • Ask them about their family and how they are doing

  • Use those get to know you questions you received in the email that was sent earlier. 


Engaging Parents:

  • Ask them what they need in this time

  • Prayer Requests

  • Necessities-soap, toilet paper, etc. 

  • Food needs

  • Ideas of what to do with kids

  • Ask them how they are feeling with their kids being home

  • Ask them about how their work is being impacted by the social distancing

  • Make an effort to check in with their parent/guardian as well. Encourage their mom, dad, granny, auntie, as much as you can. Let your MC know if the family has a specific need.

  • Offer to pick up dinner for the family and drop it off at their home

If you are meeting virtually (via phone or video call):

  • One of you read aloud to the other.

  • Both of you watch a YouTube video before the call, then discuss on the call. (maybe find some short educational videos or ones about art or a topic that interests your mentee)

  • Play a quick challenge game together (works best with a video call). Ideas:

  • "I'm going to set the timer for 60 seconds-- we both have to go gather up as many blue things as possible from our homes... the one with the most items wins. GO!"

  • "I'm going to set the timer for 2 minutes... we will both go to our closet and put on as many pairs of clothes as possible! The one with the most wins!" 

More Ideas:

  • Come up with a top ten list of why you love your mentee and share it with them

  • You or your family make a video and send to mentee

  • Create an email address for your mentee and share that with them. Send them fun emails to keep in contact

  • Start an online scrapbook of your mentee to give at their high school graduation

  • Brainstorm with them about ways to love others during this time

  • Add them on video game sites and play video games with them remotely.

  • Share relevant updated to date news regarding information regarding resources, assistance.

  • Rally your faith community/network to invest.

  • For elder guardians, ask if you can shop for them or drive them to find essentials.

  • Set up a time daily or every other day to virtually assist with assigned school work.

  • Call and ask questions about what and how they are doing.  

  • Encourage. Stay positive, but don’t downplay the tension.  

  • Try using Facetime or Google Duo to connect. Zoom allows free use of their video meetings for meetings up to 40   minutes: https://zoom.us/pricing.  

  • Give suggestions on positive ways to spend time. 

  • Play an online game together. 

  • Send regular text messages with encouraging words, scripture verses, and quotes

  • Forward any jokes or fun comics you may find. 

  • Send a "care package." What would amuse, interest, and delight your mentee?

  • Be creative! Ask others for suggestions.