Utilize the skills of peer mentors for programming

Use the skills of peer mentors to plan and implement activities in a peer mentoring program.

Youth stepping up to become a peer mentor is a great service for a program. There are some youth in elementary or middle school who are more likely to respond better to a peer mentor who is in high school. Mentees in a peer mentoring program can look up to older youth and look to them as role models. If you’re a program manager for a peer mentoring program and if mentees respond to their peer mentors positively, have you considered utilizing the skills and talents of peer mentors to facilitate some type of activity for your program?

Michigan State University Extension suggests these starting points to get a peer mentor involved in facilitating an activity with their mentees:

  • What are you good at?
  • What do you love to do?
  • What are your favorite classes in school?
  • What classes do you excel or do well in?
  • What are your talents?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What cause are you interested in (poverty, hunger, environmental stewardship, etc.)?

Answers to these questions can determine the type of activity a peer mentor can facilitate for the program. Activities can range from a service learning activity with the peer mentors and mentees, tutoring on a subject in school, teaching or facilitating an educational lesson, an icebreaker activity or whatever the creative mind of a peer mentor can think of.

Allowing peer mentors to use their skills to create and facilitate activities gives them an opportunity to gain skills to prepare for their future in higher education or their career. This not only benefits the peer mentors, but also the mentoring program. It gives the mentoring program a variety of activities that are offered during the time the peer mentors and mentees are meeting, and it can be used as a recruitment tool to attract youth to serve as peer mentors.

Getting peer mentors involved in activities can start as early as the application process. Find out the type of activities the peer mentor would be interested in facilitating, or have meetings with the peer mentors to plan and implement activities in the program.

If they are interested, consider using peer mentors to exercise their skills and talents to facilitate activities for the mentees in the program. This gives them the opportunity to flourish as mentors, students and grow as future adults.

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