What to Expect
The Saratoga Mentoring Program screens volunteers thoroughly to make sure they are responsible, caring adults. The decision to accept an applicant will be based upon a final assessment done by program staff at the completion of the screening procedure. If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email the program directly. Screening includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Application: This is the first step in the process. Applications can be completed online. Click here to fill out application: www.saratogamentoring.org/mentors-wanted/mentor-application
- Interview: There is an in-depth interview with a staff member of the program. Some of the questions are personal. The interview is confidential. Please allow two hours.
- References: We ask for four references, and we will contact each reference.
- Home Visit: A staff member will visit your home or apartment to ensure that your home is appropriate for a child. Even if you do not intend to bring the mentee to your home, a home visit is still required.
- Criminal Record Background Check and Sex Offender Registry Check: These checks are essential to protect the children in the program.
- New York State Central Register Database Check: This check is to determine whether someone is the subject of a report of abuse or maltreatment of a child.
- DMV Clearance: This is to ensure the safety of the children when in the mentors’ automobiles. Please bring your driver’s license.
Creating an appropriate match is crucial for the success of the mentor-mentee relationship. The Saratoga Mentoring Program reviews each mentor and each child to find a suitable match. Some of the criteria used to guide the match are:
- Top priority is given to input from the mentor, the mentee and his/her family
- Similar personalities
- Common interests
- Geographical proximity
- Women are matched with girls and men are matched with boys
- Compatibility of meeting times
Once the potential match is identified, the following steps are made:
- A program staff member first contacts the prospective mentor, and without using names, provides information about the mentee to determine if there is interest by the mentor.
- If the mentor is interested, the program staff member contacts the mentee’s parent or guardian with information about the mentor without using names.
- When all the parties agree to the match, a time is scheduled for the staff member and mentor to go to the family’s home to meet the mentee and his/her parent or guardian.
What to expect at the first meeting:
- The program staff member will make the introductions. Meeting usually lasts 20 – 30 minutes.
- The mentor and mentee will spend some time together working on “getting to know you” paperwork.
- If all agree to move forward, match contracts are completed and signed by all parties.
- At the end of the meeting, contact information is shared. What time and what day of the week the mentor is to call to make plans for the weekly outing is agreed upon at this first meeting.
Match Support and Supervision
Ongoing support and supervision is important to the success of matches. Once matched, the program continues to monitor and support all parties in the match including the mentor, mentee and the parent/guardian.
Newly matched mentors are in contact with program staff at least twice a month during the first few months of the match and monthly after the match is established. Mentors keep track of their match meetings on our online tracking system.
We provide two hours of pre-match training, which is required. There are several hours of on-going training throughout the match.