What is expected of a mentor?

A mentor is expected to work towards establishing rapport with the mentee, with a view towards developing an open and comfortable relationship. He/she should be willing to:

  • Provide exposure to different experiences;
  • Celebrate the mentee’s successes;
  • Support action to address shortcomings;
  • Accept and respect the mentee and his/her family as they are; and
  • Offer guidance for improved behavior, attitude and/or academic performance.
  • He/she should work towards developing cultural competency with the mentee and his/her family.

What does the UMBSU mentoring program hope to achieve?

The UMBSU mentoring programme is designed:

  • To foster development of positive values, attitudes and behaviors of the student;
  • To promote development of a healthy self-esteem and self-image;
  • To explore the nature and limits of relationships;
  • To identify the benefits of having a role model.

Who benefits from mentoring?

All participants in the programme are likely to gain  benefit in the following ways.

Mentees may benefit in the following ways:

  • Receiving assistance in adjusting to a new environment;
  • Gaining an opportunity to discuss issues and engage in activities with an adult other than a parent/guardian;
  • Having an outlet to vent frustrations with and disappointments related to home and school, feelings of racism, relationships with their peers and own behavior;
  • Having access to guidance with respect to strategies for improving academic performance, academic support
  • Broadening their horizons by exposure to experiences “outside the box”; and
  • Improving, behavior and self-esteem

Mentors may benefit in the following ways:

  • Better understanding of some of the problems kids of African descent  face at school, home and in the community;
  • Getting to know one child better;
  • Increased understanding of the importance of self-confidence and problems associated with low self-esteem;
  • Reflection on their own attitude to young people.

Parents’/guardians’/families may benefit in the following ways:

  • Increased tolerance and accommodation of the views of others;
  • Exposure for mentee which the family may be unable to provide;
  • Exposure to educational and social resources for their child
  • Improved communication between the mentee and members of his/her family;
  • Advice and support from a responsible adult; and
  • Increased understanding of your child’s needs and interests

What are the responsibilities of a mentor?

The mentor is expected to perform the following functions:

  • Participate in programme activities, including workshops and meetings;
  • Establish regular contact with the young person at least once per month;
  • Listen to the mentees opinions, hopes and fears;
  • Maintain confidentiality, except where the mentees safety and/or welfare may be in jeopardy;
  • Introduce the mentee to new and positive cultural experiences, with his/her parent/guardian’s permission;
  • Seek advice/share information on issues of concern which may affect the well-being of the mentee;

To become a UMBSU Mentor please contact:

Murray Pierce, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Montana

murray.pierce@mso.umt.edu