What to Expect
So what’s different about a REAL Mentors’ meeting?
Simply… REAL Connection.
Each meeting or group field trip revolves around our four tenets; Respect, Engage, Acknowledge, and Listen. They comprise the core of real connection.
Typically students and mentors will participate in an activity, either physical or recreational, at the start of each meeting. This provides the young men and women a chance to blow-off steam and any excess pent-up energy after a long day in class. This provides an opportunity to practice both teamwork and sportsmanship. They learn to respect both the rules of the game and their opponents. Through playing, competing, and laughing together, students and mentors form bonds of trust with each other.
Building trust is crucial to the success of The REAL Mentor Program, as if fosters the openness and honesty that leads to real connection within the group.
The students and mentors then participate in the discussion portion of the meeting. This component is the meat and bones of The REAL Mentors Program. These discussions vary from one meeting to the next… sometimes prompted by mentors and other times initiated by students. Discussion topics are never set in stone. They are allowed to flow naturally, giving the boys and girls a space to speak about what is on their mind.
While discussions mainly involve the whole group, there are times we split into smaller groups, or engage with each other one-on-one. No matter the format, the key to all discussions is ‘listening without judgment’. The goal of our meetings is not to offer advice or solve specific problems, but to provide a safe and accepting place where each person is heard, respected, and acknowledged.
And of course, no meeting is complete without food! Snacks and drinks not only nourish mind, body, and spirit of both the young and old, but also spark additional conversation and connection.
Meetings take place at the end of the school day, at the school. Some meetings will involve field trips to local sites. Transportation is provided. Special meetings in the past included attending a college basketball game, hiking Wachusett Mountain, visiting local museums, police and fire stations, and serving at a local food pantry. Meetings last for two hours, from 2:30-4:30. Field trips may be longer.
If you are young man or woman wondering if The REAL Mentors Program is a good fit for you and wish to learn more, contact your school program coordinator here. If there isn’t currently a program at your school, contact Jake Milano or Mike Sanford here.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor, or are a parent of a student and wish to learn more, please contact Jake Milano or Mike Sanford here. We would be delighted to hear from you.