Mentoring is a formal accompaniment relationship between a child (6-18-year old) and a volunteer, with specific duration and goals. It is conducted mostly on a one-to-one basis but can also be established between a mentor and a group of children. It aims at the growth and flowering of both sides of the relationship, which enables them to better know themselves and their abilities, integrate into community and interact positively with it.
Mentors are volunteers who have received training and are given ongoing guidance to foster positive, guided relationships with children.
The mentor starts to recognize the children’s needs and to work with him accordingly, becoming a role model. The mentor, with the help of the case manager, refers children to other referral pathways, especially PSS, so they can be followed up by psychologists. Case managers are professionals in education, counselling, psychology, etc., who provide training, oversight and referral support to the mentor-child relationship. They also ensure that each child makes progress within a personalized plan. In addition, they advocate to parents, to specialist providers and to authorities on behalf of the child.
Mentoring also provides a powerful influence on personal and/or professional development. On the personal level, mentoring promotes self-confidence, self-acceptance and acceptance of otherness. On the professional level, mentoring enables the beneficiary to integrate into community by creating an atmosphere conducive to the discovery of talents and capabilities and working to develop them.