Become A Mentor

Gary MilesIf you are interested in serving as a mentor for a Smith Renaissance Society Collegiate Fellow at UCSC, please fill out the Mentor Application form.
Please take a moment first to read the following brief introduction to mentoring in the Smith Renaissance Society.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or email one of our contacts.
      
Gary Miles (831) 426-3594 or by e-mail
John Jordan (831) 459-2704 or by e-mail
Every mentor relationship is unique.  Individuals who have mentored several students have found that each of their mentor relationships is different from the others.  Some grow into deep and lasting friendships; others remain tenuous.  It is important not to bring specific expectations to a new relationship.  Even a tenuous relationship may be of significant value to the student; it may be enough for him or her simply to know that there is an adult out there who cares, someone to turn to should the need ever arise.  Other students may need and want much more attention.  It is up to you to set limits, if they are needed, but keep in mind that all relationships need minimal attention to flourish; the tenuous ones need it to survive.

A Collegiate Fellow with Senior FellowThe chief responsibility of a mentor is to make contact with his or her student and see that this contact is sustained.  This means taking the initiative.  As a general rule, you should expect to initiate contacts via email or phone at least three times a quarter and aim for at least one in-person meeting during that time.  If a time comes when you cannot meet this minimum, you should contact one of the mentoring coordinators.
The Collegiate Fellow’s chief responsibility is to respond to your initiatives, even if only to say "I'm busy now; could we make contact later?" and to show up for agreed upon meetings.  If a student seems to be falling short on his or her half of the relationship, you should contact one of the mentor coordinators who will help sort things out.

One of the mentor coordinators will contact you before matching you with a student.  On being matched you will receive a short list of Smith Renaissance Society Fellows and Staff who are available to help with academic and financial planning or psychological counseling, and you will be invited to participate in meetings with other mentors, which are held three times a year.  In the meantime you are always welcome to contact either of the mentor coordinators:  Gary Miles or John Jordan at the addresses above.

Finally, you may find the following publication of interest, "Higher Education Opportunities for Foster Youth."  It is the first ever study of foster youth and higher education.  Published by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, it is available for download in pdf format.  Its "Introduction" and "Conclusions" are of particular relevance.