CAYM Best Practices of Mentoring

Ministry standards for safe, effective, and sustainable mentoring.  


1. Prayer - the foundation for any ministry is prayer.
a. Church & Community - Ask God to help you connect with and identify those who need and want a mentor.
b. Mentoring Ministry - Pray for faithful mentors: ones committed to youth and your ministry and that God would raise-up those who would support the ministry.
c. Mentoring Matches - Pray for each match: that friendships would grow and that youth would be encouraged.
2. Recruitmentthe mentoring journey begins from the moment you first meet a prospective participant.
a. Mentor Recruitment - Be honest and clear about the mentoring relationship.​ Communicate accurately what the volunteer should expect and the benefit the relationship will have on all participants.
b. Protégé Recruitment - Be focused and clear. Recruit youth based on need and your ministry's ability to meet that need. Provide the family with a written copy of program and parental guidelines.
3. Screeningscreening in the right participants is essential to the quality and longevity of the ministry.
a. Mentor Screening - every prospective mentor must complete an application, provide 4 references (spouse/family, pastor/church leader, employer, friend), agree to the ministry's policies, and complete a training program. The ministry must conduct an interview and a comprehensive background check on EVERY participant (nation criminal check, sex offender, child abuse/neglect, driver's record).
​b. Protégé Screening - each parent and youth must be interviewed and made aware of the ministry's expectations. The parent must sign a liability waiver.

4. Training â€‹- is a vital tool for both screening and education. Participants must have the proper expectations with regard to their match.
a. Mentor Training - an effective training must include:
i. Your organization's mission, values, and biblical basis for ministry.
ii. How to develop a relationship with youth focusing on cross-cultural competency and relational skills.
iii. Regularly scheduled meetings - scheduled with approval of parent.
iv. How to spend time together: activities, focus and boundaries.
v. Important Issues: confidentiality, problem solving, and relating to parents.
vi. How your program will help them: supervision "coaching" policy.
  5. Matchingcreating a quality match the key to success.
a. Prayer - the ministry team prayerfully considers its mission and the needs/wants of the youth & mentor. 
b. Criterion - interests, gender, proximity, availability, age, race, ethnicity, personality, etc.
c. Match Meeting - mentor, youth, parent, and ministry staff meet. All parties sign the mentoring agreement.
6. Supervision & Supportthe match only thrives with the appropriate coaching from ministry staff.
a. Supervising - a match coach is assigned to match and must communicate with the mentor, youth and parent.
i. Coaching Contact Schedule
1. 48 hours after establishment of match
2. Twice a month for the first three months
3. Monthly thereafter
​ii. Documentation
1. Match Coach documents each contact
2. Documentation should be based solely on facts and kept confidential.
b. Support - provide on-going support as needed to insure match effectiveness.
i. Match Evaluation: six month intervals in first year and annually there after.
. Celebrate match milestones.
iii. Provide specific support to matches as needed.
7. Closure to finish strong, the match must end well.
a. Scheduled Closures - matches that end at the year anniversary.
​​i. Communicate with participants prior to year end to determine their desire to continue or end match.
ii. Schedule Closure Meeting - highlights positive nature of the match, accomplishments as well as challenges faced.
iii. Provide written documentation of match closure.
iv. Rematch participants if desired.
b. Premature Closures - matches that end prior to end of year commitment.
i. Communicate with participants with regard to the nature of the closure.
ii. Schedule Closure Meeting - highlight positive nature of the match, accomplishments as well as challenges faced (if match ending is too difficult a meeting of all parties may not be appropriate).
iii. Provide written documentation of match closure.
iv. Rematch appropriate participants if desired.
c. Exit Interviews - closure process should include this whenever possible for all participants.

For a complete list of the CAYM Best Practices, view or download.