A mentor is a caring, responsible person who is interested in giving time to a student, encouraging the child to develop his/her strengths and capabilities. The mentor is described as:

  • A role model
  • A friend
  • A guide
  • A listener
  • A motivator
  • An advocate

All of the following are important activities that mentors provide in the lives of their students:

    Encouraging academic success by showing the benefits of staying in school and evaluating educational choices.
    Helping students see and strive for broader horizons and possibilities than they may see in their present environments.
    Mentors provide dependable and consistent attention and support through listening, guiding, and encouraging students to reach their full potential.


There are certain roles that mentors should not take on as they work with students. These roles include:

  • Parent
  • Counselor
  • Social Worker
  • ATM Machine
  • Savior

It is important to note, however, that a mentor will be expected to possess some of the traits found in these roles, including nurturing, support, care, listening, compassion, and advising. When a mentor feels that he/she is being put in a compromising position to take on an inappropriate role, support is provided by the school-based coordinator and the MentorWorks office.

Benefits of mentoring

Recent studies have described benefits adults gain through participating in mentoring relationships.

  • Enhanced self-images. Mentors saw themselves as being competent, helpful, visionary and loved.
  • Feelings of accomplishment and the creation of networks of other volunteers.
  • Fulfilling expression of the mentor ’s spiritual values.
  • Improved health and self-esteem.
  • Insight into one’s own childhood or children.
  • Public recognition
  • Businesses reported an enhanced company image, and an improvement in attitude, collaboration, and work satisfaction afer, more connected communities

Source: The National Mentoring Partnership

Impact of mentoring

National studies show that mentoring works. Quality mentoring programs have been shown to impact students socially, emotionally, academically, thus creating safer, healthier, more productive citizens of our society. Some of the many benefits youth derive from mentoring include:

  • Improving self-esteem;
  • Keeping young people in school;
  • Helping improve academic skills;
  • Leading young people to resources they might not find on their own;
  • Providing support for new behaviors, attitudes and ambitions;
  • Increasing young people's ability to seek and keep jobs

Source: How Mentoring Helps

Studies have found that students who regularly met with mentors for about a year were:

  • 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs;
  • 27% less likely to start drinking;
  • 52% less likely to skip a day of school;
  • more trusting of their parents or guardians;
  • less likely to lie to their parents or guardians; and
  • felt more supported and less criticized by their peers and friends

The Selection Process

Fairfax County Public Schools is pleased that you are interested in becoming a mentor! You are taking the first step to making a difference in the life of a deserving child or adolescent. To get started, you will need to complete the following steps:

The Application Process:

1. Attend a Mentoring training.

2. Complete a mentor application form and screening process that includes compliance with FCPS background check.

The Matching Process:

1. Once your application has been received and approved, the MentorWorks specialist will match you with a school based on the following information:

  • Your location preference
  • Your grade level preference
  • Your availability
  • The school's program

FCPS provides training and on-going support. Mentoring occurs at the school during the school day.


Kristen Woodward
Conflict Resolution Specialist


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Last Updated

August 13, 2015