Learn to be a Mentor. Resources for Mentoring Volunteers

Meant to be a Mentor. Blended Training Course [Ian Schneider - unsplash]
Meant to be a Mentor | Image: Ian Schneider via unsplash.com

Mentoring is playing a key role in the support structure of volunteer opportunities organised within the Erasmus+ Youth in Action and the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) Programme. “Learn to be a Mentor” provides resources for mentoring volunteers.

Grow from every fight you will have,
every relationship that you will experience,
every ups and downs that will happen.
Volunteer Advice #10

The journey of a volunteer in another country is not following a smooth path, it is more like a bumpy road full of ups and downs. Especially for the downside, the difficult and challenging moments that volunteers face, some guidance from another person might be helpful. This other person could be a mentor.

Mentoring activities include:

  • supporting the volunteer arriving and getting familiar with the new culture and its people,
  • helping him/her with some of the struggles of everyday life in a new town,
  • facilitating the communication between him/her and the organisation in case of misunderstandings and conflicts and
  • stimulating reflections about aims s/he would like to accomplish and about his/her learning progress and outcomes.

A lot of publications on mentoring volunteers focus on several of these aspects. Most of them summarise experience and good practises made within 20 years of the European Voluntary Service (EVS) Programme.

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Mentoring will also play a key role in the support structure of future volunteer activities organised within the Erasmus+ Youth in Action and the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) Programme.

“Inside EVS” – The volunteers perspective

If you give it a chance… [Volunteering] will be one of the best moments in your life. Don’t be afraid. Don’t listen to pessimists. [Volunteering Abroad] is much more than just going to work, it’s about understanding the world and it’s inhabitants. Volunteer Advice #6

Change perspective… What would volunteers recommend paying attention to?

A lot of valuable insights you can draw as a mentor or coordinator from the volunteers perspective.

EVS Waves. Inspirational Guidebook

“EVS Waves. Inspirational Guidebook” was written by former EVS volunteers who spend their voluntary service in Zgreb, Croatia. The guidebook gives useful tips on how to choose the best project for you, what to expect during your service as well as what is possible to achieve during your time abroad. It is written for those who are thinking of becoming or about to to embark their volunteer journey. And for those who stay at home, to give them a better insight or understand what the volunteer might be experiencing.

Syncro – Synergy Croatia (Eds.): SYNCRO EVS Waves. Inspirational Guidebook; Centar za osobni i profesionalni razvoj Syncro – Synergy Croatia, Zagreb, Croatia, 2015

Download SYNCRO EVS Waves. Inspirational Guidebook from SALTO-YOUTH Toolbox

100 Advices for future Volunteers

What can you take out of 100 advice from volunteers for your work as a mentor? – This brochure provides advice from volunteers (not only) for volunteers about practicalities, life, work, learning and dealing with the cultural adaptation.

Byrczek, Aga (2015): 100 Advices for future Volunteers; The Cazalla Intercultural Team

Download 100 Advices for future Volunteers from SALTO-YOUTH Toolbox

Manuals to Get Your Mentoring Started

Enjoy! You will face many problems during your project. There will be many situations when you will be feeling really low. So find something that you will really enjoy doing or try to enjoy things that are totally new to you. Volunteer Advice #79

Here, you find two publications that are directed especially to mentors. They cover the basics, are easy to start with and serve well as a “starter pack” to kick off your mentoring.

How to be a Mentor in Euromed EVS Projects?

“How to be a Mentor?” provides guidelines and practical tools for mentors involved in Euromed cooperation (but not only). The brochure includes topics from the role and responsibilities of a mentor, his/her task according to the timeline of a voluntary process, different ways of support volunteers as well as tips how to deal with challenges.

Abi Saad, Justine and Rossi Saro (2015): How to be a Mentor in Euromed European Voluntary Service Projects? A practical Guide; SALTO/Youth EuroMed Resource Centre, 2015

Download How to be a Mentor in Euromed EVS Projects? from SALTO-YOUTH Toolbox

Be a Hero. Be an EVS Mentor. Practical Guide for EVS Mentors

“Be a Hero. Be an EVS Mentor.” intends to be a daily guide for a mentor in supporting the volunteer’s personal development path. It offers theoretical insights, glimpses of background information and practical tools on a variety of topics related to mentoring: what is mentoring, the roles of a mentor and a volunteer, how to build trust in a mentoring relationship, how to deal with cultural differences, manage conflicts and the learning processes of a volunteer. It takes a deeper look in a variety of tools useful in mentoring: counseling, coaching, active listening and feedback. Also, the well-being of a mentor is of importance and time and stress management, dangers of a mentoring process and rewarding for accomplishments have their place in the practical guide.

Krastina, Santa and Livia, Siiri (2013): Be a Hero. Be an EVS Mentor. Practical Guide for European Voluntary Service Mentors; Latvian National Agency of the EU Youth in Action Programme, 2013

Download Be a Hero. Be an EVS Mentor

Coaching and Mentoring

Develop! Don’t avoid going outside your “comfort zone”. The most important things that you will learn during your service will come from times when you started to do something that was new to you and different in many ways from your previous experience. Thanks to that you will become a different person and you will discover many new things about yourself! Volunteer Advice #9

Coaching focuses on the learning and growing, the personal and professional development of another person. That’s why Coaching approaches are a great resource for your work as a mentor, both to clarify your role as a mentor and to be able to adopt practical tools for your work as a mentor.

Beginner’s guide to EVS Coaching: How to Support Volunteers in their GROWTH

“Beginner’s guide to EVS coaching: how to support volunteers in their GROWTH” is a report from a training course. The report include coaching methods and tools, which can be used supporting volunteers and young people in general: What is coaching? How to build a relationship with a volunteer? How to identify his/her needs and expectations? How to use models as “The wheel of values”, “GROW” or “SMARTER” to your work?

Bernaciak, E., Pappai, A.-S., Podolak, P., Prażmowska, D. (2016): Beginner’s guide to EVS coaching: how to support volunteers in their GROWTH; Stowarzyszenie ANAWOJ, Michałowo (Poland), 2016

Download Beginner’s guide to EVS Coaching: How to Support Volunteers in their GROWTH from SALTO-YOUTH Toolbox

“Meant to be a Mentor”. Workbook for Mentors

The “Meant to be a Mentor” workbook is a practical guide for EVS mentors working with their volunteer(s). Its content and activities guide mentors step by step through the whole EVS project cycle. Mentors can carry out the activities with their volunteers, reflect on their experience and share their good practise in an online community.

Kimmig, Michael (2015): Meant to be a Mentor. Workbook vor EVS mentors; Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE) | National Agency of the Youth in Action Programme, Warsaw 2015

Download Meant to be a Mentor. Workbook vor EVS mentors from this website

Learn to be a Mentor. Join the facebook group!

Meant to be a Mentor
“Meant to be a Mentor” is a community for mentors on facebook. Join our Mentors Community and connect with other mentors. Share your experience and resoures on mentoring volunteers.

Am I missing something? What is your favorite resource on mentoring?

Leave a note in the comment section below!


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Michael Kimmig

trainer | coach | life-long learner

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