• How old do you have to be to be a mentor?



  • What is a basic description of the duties a mentor would fulfill?
  • Take the lead in supporting a young person through an ongoing, one-to-one relationship
  • Serve as a positive role model and friend
  • Build the relationship by planning and participating in activities together
  • Provide transportation for activities with the mentee
  • Strive for mutual respect
  • Build self-esteem and motivation
  • Help set goals and work toward accomplishing them


  • What is the process to become a mentor?
  • Complete written application at shelbycountyyap.org
  • Driving record check
  • Criminal history check: federal, state, child abuse and neglect, sexual & violent offender registry
  • FBI fingerprint background check
  • Personal interview
  • Provide three personal references
  • Attend mentor training
  • Participate in mentee selection process
  • Begin the match!


  • Is there a fee in applying to be a mentor for the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program?

No, there is no fee but you will have to complete a background check and training before your mentee placement will begin. The cost for these obligations will be covered by the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program.


  • How long is the commitment to be a mentor?

One year


  • How does the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program make a match?

Mentor/mentee matches are typically based on the following criteria:

  • Preferences of the mentor, mentee, and/or parent/guardian
  • Common interests
  • Geographic proximity
  • Similar personalities
  • Matches will typically be either male adult to male youth or female adult to female youth.


  • How long does it typically take to receive a mentor match?

This process varies, based on availability of the mentor, mentor/mentee preferences, and number of mentees on the waiting list. On average, the amount of time from application to mentoring is approximately 90 days.


  • What if the mentor and mentee are not available to meet during one week?

The mentor or mentee may not always be able to meet due to being sick, vacation, summer camp, and so forth.  If you have the ability to call your mentor or mentee while you are on vacation that would be an accepted form of communication. The mentor and mentee should let each other know in advance if they are planning to be away for an extended period of time so that the appropriate plans can be made.


  • Do you offer group mentoring?

Currently, SCYAP does not have any locations set up for group mentoring but we are pursuing opportunities throughout the county for this option. We do offer meetings for our entire mentor and mentee matches to hang out together; typically these activities are offered on a quarterly basis and include bowling, swimming, or a picnic.


  • What types of activities should you do with your mentee?

When choosing an activity, mentors should keep in mind that they are not reimbursed for any money they spend doing the activity. Possible activities include, going to the park, hiking, board games, cooking, picnic, basketball, arts & crafts, video games, and more.


  • What types of activities would you need parental consent to do?

Movie—- different views and ratings based on different parental outlooks

Church activities–do not want to interfere with child or family’s religious background

Extended time—if the activity will last longer than one hour


  • What should you do if you think the activity will last longer than one hour?

You are not limited to an hour a week that is the minimum requirement, a mentor and mentee are available to meet for a longer period of time as long as the activity is discussed and approved by the parent. If the activity will be out of Shelby County in one of the surrounding counties and last longer than one hour it requires parental consent and notification of the YAP Early Intervention Advocate


  • Are you able to attend events with your mentee that occur in the surrounding counties?

YES, to attend an event in a surrounding county you should expect the activity to take place during the regularly scheduled timeframe. If the activity will last for an extended period, you must notify YAP staff, the parent, and the child.


  • Are siblings or friends allowed to attend the mentor/mentee outings?

Additional individuals should only be included in mentor/mentee outings when it is for the express benefit of the mentee.


  • Will the personal information I share with the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program be kept confidential?

Yes! Information will only be shared with your approval and on a need to know basis.


  • Will it cost me money to be a mentor?

The Shelby County Youth Assistance Program suggests that you partake in activities that are cost effective or free because we are not able to reimburse any mentoring activities.


  • Can I have multiple mentees?

Typically one mentor is matched with only one mentee, but it is not prohibited to have more than one mentee.


  • What happens if I do not feel comfortable with the mentee I have been matched with or if the relationship does not seem to be working out?

In the case of match difficulties, discord, or concerns, appropriate discussion and intervention will be undertaken to improve or rectify problem areas with the support and assistance of the Early Intervention Advocate. If problems cannot be resolved successfully, the process of match closure will be implemented and the match will be dissolved.


  • Do I have to be a certain religious, cultural, or ethnic background to participate in the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program?

No! All individuals are encouraged to apply to be mentors for the Shelby County Youth Assistance Program, as long as they meet the qualifications for the screening

  • Have access to an automobile, auto insurance, and a good driving record
  • Have a clean criminal history
  • No use of illicit drugs
  • No use of alcohol or controlled substances in an inappropriate manner
  • Not currently in treatment for substance abuse and have a non-addictive period of at least five years
  • Not currently in treatment for a mental disorder or hospitalized for such in the past three years


  • What should a mentor do if the family does not reply or cancels on multiple mentor meetings?
  • Notify the Early Intervention Advocate of the concern. SCYAP has a formal problem resolution policy to address concerns regarding a match. If there is a potential problem with the match, the Early Intervention Advocate will attempt to clarify the potential problem and work with the mentor, mentee, and/or parent/guardian to resolve the issue early.


  • What should I do if the family is asking me for resources or information that I do not have?

Politely refuse and inform SCYAP staff. The Youth Assistance Program is in place to assist families with developing resources to meet their needs.


  • What should I do if the family is asking me to do something outside of the general mentee/ mentor relationship?

Politely refuse and inform SCYAP staff. Mentors may also redirect the family to the Early Intervention Advocate for these needs or requests. The Youth Assistance Program is in place to assist families with developing resources to meet their needs.


  • What should I do if my mentee exhibits signs or states they are using drugs, underage drinking, depressed, or suicidal?

During the mentor training, issues of confidentiality limits, Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting, and general safety are addressed.


  • How do mentors benefit from this program?
  • Personal fulfillment through contribution to the community and individuals
  • Satisfaction in helping someone mature, progress, and achieve goals
  • Training sessions and group activities
  • Mileage and expenses are tax deductible
  • Personal ongoing support, supervision to help the match succeed
  • Mentee/mentor group activities, participant recognition events