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Mercy Home Pilots New Virtual Mentoring Model
Mercy Home’s youth mentoring program recently completed piloting its completely new Virtual Mentoring Model. Six mentor/mentee matches from the Friends First program were selected to pilot the virtual mentoring program model over the course of the last five weeks. The purpose of the pilot was to gather feedback from the matches about what it was like to go completely virtual with their mentoring relationships, in order to utilize their experiences to ensure the best possible experience for all of our matches when we launch the program on a larger scale in September.
Katie Gunter, now Senior Coordinator of Virtual Mentoring, facilitated a feedback session with the participating mentors who had really positive things overall to say about their experience thus far with virtual mentoring.
“Nothing can replace in person interaction, but we are all adjusting to this new ‘norm.’ [This virtual model] is a positive step in figuring out ways to continue the program, which is so very important,” said one of the mentors piloting the program.
What was most encouraging was the positive energy and excitement the mentors showed about ways that they can still support and connect with their mentees during what has been a really challenging time, especially for our young people.
We are excited to implement their ideas and feedback as we continue to adjust in order to help our mentors positively impact our youth.
Nothing can replace in person interaction, but we are all adjusting to this new ‘norm.’ [This virtual model] is a positive step in figuring out ways to continue the program, which is so very important.
Katie was also able to check in with participating mentees and their parents who also had some helpful feedback to share.
“I would rate the program a 10 out of 10,” said Melissa, a mentee in the pilot program. Jayden, another mentee rated the program an 8 overall, and loved that he was still able to feel connected to his mentor even through video chat.
Jayden’s mother described the virtual mentoring as “awesome” and is thrilled that her son is still able to stay connected to his mentor with whom he had formed a close relationship pre-pandemic.
Another parent talked about how wonderful it was to hear her child laughing while engaging in the virtual activities with his mentor, a sound that she hasn’t heard a whole lot since they have been cooped up in their homes largely since March.
The mentees especially enjoyed the more active, dynamic activities that were provided to them, such as competing against their mentor in Minute to Win It challenges and completing virtual home scavenger hunts.
Even though virtual mentoring cannot fully replace in-person interactions, we are very excited about all the ways that the virtual mentoring model can continue to keep our matches connected and moving forward in their relationship and personal development.
We are extremely grateful to these six matches for helping us test out our model and for their continued commitment to their mentees.
Stay tuned for more stories and virtual mentoring highlights as the program continues to rollout this fall.