How to Start a Summer Mentoring Program
By: Joy Emery
College students are in a season of searching. While some may have declared a college major, few have real experience in the workplace. While a declaration of an intended profession can give focus, on-the-job experience can help answer questions regarding whether the student's natural gifts and interests fit the job.
You can offer your students a great gift in helping match them with professionals in your church who are working in their respective fields of interest.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Enlist a Coordinator
Develop Your Mentoring Plan
Would a traveling mentoring class best meet your students' needs, one in which you travel weekly from business to business for an on-site classroom setting? Would students benefit from a regular Bible study where students and professionals are joined together in order give students the "feel" of life in a chosen occupation?
Determine if you will ask or allow the professionals to actually hire students or if you will have a mix of some volunteer positions and some paid positions. Decide how you would manage both types.
Plan to inform the professionals of what you expect. Students will be frustrated if they feel that they are running errands and not being challenged.
Professionals should be expected to teach and guide the student's learning experience. Professionals should expect the student to document what she learns each day. He or she should also expect the student to create a database of networks in the field based on the experience.
Create Applications and Interest Forms
Publicize the Mentoring Program
Celebrate the Experience
Conclude the celebration by challenging students to mentor others. Finally, thank everyone for participating in influencing each other.
Joy Emery is a former education minister and currently is a Christian Education Internet Producer for LifeWay.com. She serves in the adult Sunday School ministry at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church in Hermitage, Tennessee.