Becoming a Mentor in the Days of COVID and Cold
Have you been thinking about becoming a mentor, but not taking the leap because you just don’t know what you’d do with a child when it’s cold outside and COVID prevents you from hanging out together inside? You’re not the only one.
Here at Kinship Mentoring of Columbia County we found ourselves asking those questions too. We started building a new mentoring program for Columbia County just two years ago. Then, long before we were even thinking about accepting mentors and mentees, COVID hit and changed the game. How, we wondered, can mentors provide mentoring if they can’t be with their mentees?
Instead of breaking our spirit, COVID gave us a chance to explore and learn more about what’s at the heart of a really good mentoring program. COVID and the cold will make mentoring look different, but we are certain it can still be a lot of fun as well as a great learning experience for both kids and mentors.
It’s easy to think about mentoring in terms of where you’ll take your mentee and what events you’ll take part in. That becomes tougher when COVID limits our travel and makes it unsafe for us to be in many places. But mentoring is about more important things than where you’ll go with your mentee. Mentoring is being a consistent, caring, adult who encourages positive behaviors and provides support.
So, what can we do to be those mentors? Here are just a few thoughts.
Were you a kid who loved getting mail? With just a few stamps and some postcards or paper and envelopes you can start a pen pal relationship with your mentee. It’s a great way to encourage your mentee to write for fun and will create memories you can both save.
Do you and mentee enjoy movies? Become movie critics. Agree on a movie that you’ll both watch and follow up with a phone call to talk about it. Discuss what you liked or disliked about it. What would you do differently if you directed the movie or acted in it? How did it make you feel? Did you learn anything new?
Is your mentee an aspiring artist? There are many ways to explore the arts online from virtual visits to museums around the world to online coloring books that you can check out together. Here are some to check out. Click here
Read or listen to stories together and talk about what you’ve read. Audible is providing free streaming of children’s stories now. Click here
Play board games. Yes, it’s possible to play board games at a distance. There are many resources available to play online for free. Here’s one option. Click here
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean there aren’t fun things to do outdoors. We’re lucky in Wisconsin to have lots of fabulous parks to choose from. Take a hike at any of the area state parks, visit the animals at the MacKenzie Center in Poynette, or go on a scavenger hunt to see who can find such treasures as the biggest pine cone or the prettiest rock.
There are a lot of ways to have fun and to learn together, even when we can’t be together physically. Kinship Mentoring of Columbia County supports all of our mentors and mentees during COVID by continuing to provide mentoring resources to help you find ways to have fun, learn, and grow together. We encourage you to get involved. Remember, our kids need caring, supportive, consistent role models who encourage their positive behaviors and provide support. It’s not about going places together. It’s about talking together, listening, asking questions, and simply showing a child that they are a valuable, talented, individual worthy of love.
You can learn more or apply to be a mentor now at www.kinshipcc.org . Thank you for the caring you give to Columbia County’s kids!