Throughout the year, WJN recruits volunteers to mentor women and girls (aged 14 to 25) who are at risk or entangled in the criminal justice system We encourage you to submit your Expression of Interest.
Women and girls (aged 14 to 25) who are at risk or entangled in the criminal justice system are referred to as the Mentee.
The primary function of a Mentor is to create a culturally safe and supportive professional relationship. Mentors need to create a relationship that is thoughtful, non-judgemental, respectful, practical and consistent. The relationship aims to meet the needs of the mentee.
The Mentor functions as a role model to demonstrate appropriate ways to communicate and behave. The Mentor will guide behaviour change through role modelling non-judgemental, just and positive ways of relating. The mentor is to be reflective of the interactions they have with Mentees.
Mentors can provide practical assistance to support a Mentee’s reintegration into the community. This may include attending meetings or appointments at various government agencies and services such as: Probation and Parole, Centrelink or legal appointments. Assistance may also be provided by attending day-to-day community environments, such as shopping malls and educational institutions. The provision of practical assistance requires clear boundaries as the focus is to improve mentee’s level of competence in their own skills.
Qualities of Successful Mentors
Personal Commitment to be involved with another person for an extended time, generally one year.
Mentors have a genuine desire to be part of other people’s lives, to help them with tough decisions and to see them become the best they can be. They have to be invested in the mentoring relationship over the long haul, and to be there long enough to make a difference.
Respect for individuals and for their abilities and their right to make their own choices in life.
Mentors should not approach the Mentee with the attitude that their own ways are better or that participants need to be rescued. Mentors who convey a sense of respect and equal dignity in the relationship win trust of their Mentees and the privilege of being advisors to them.
Ability to listen and accept different points of view.
Most people can find someone who will give advice or express their opinion. It is much harder to find someone who will suspend judgement and really listen. Mentors often help simply by listening, asking thoughtful questions and giving Mentees an opportunity to explore their own thoughts with a minimum of interference. When people feel accepted, they are more likely to ask for and respond to good ideas.
Ability to empathise with another person’s struggles.
Effective Mentors can feel with people without pity for them even without having had the same life experiences, they can empathise with their Mentee’s feelings and personal problems.
Ability to see solutions and opportunities as well as barriers.
Effective Mentors balance a realistic respect for the real and serious problems faced by their Mentees with optimism about finding equally realistic solutions, they are able to make sense of a seeming jumble of issues and point out sensible alternatives.
Flexibility and openness.
Effective Mentors recognise that relationships take time to develop and that communication is a two-way street. They are willing to take time to get to know their Mentees, to learn new things that are important to the Mentee and even to be changed by their relationship.