Context: RESTORE Belize focuses on the root causes of crime, addressing areas such as education, parenting skills, mental health, and conflict mediation to ultimately contribute to a culture of peace. Its main education initiatives are the I AM BELIZE Scholarship Programme, which aims to increase secondary school completion rates among the most vulnerable populations by providing holistic high school scholarships, and the Metamorphosis Programme, which aims to strengthen communities in Belize City by fostering resiliency in young people and to provide adults with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective parents.
In 2012, RESTORE Belize identified Mentorship as a useful intervention to support students still struggling in the above education programmes. The Mentorship program, therefore, does not stand alone; it is a sub-program of the I AM BELIZE Scholarship Program, and the Metamorphosis Programme.
Selecting Mentors: The success of the program is primarily dependent on the pool of Mentors who are assessed on a case by case basis. Potential Mentors are recommended to RESTORE Belize and must complete an application form before being interviewed. Those selected are stable professionals who can fully commit to the programme and will tenaciously work on developing a relationship with their mentee.
Identifying Mentees: Mentees are identified from its pool of scholarship students. Those who most need additional support and guidance in their academic careers, professional development, and interpersonal relationships are chosen and matched with appropriate mentors.
Pairing Mentors and Mentees: Mentees are matched with Mentors of the same sex whose strengths complement their weaknesses. Ideally, Mentors and Mentees will share similar interests and personality traits. The formal relationship lasts for two years or until the child graduates high school.
Monitoring and Evaluation: Mentors are assessed monthly or, in stronger relationships, quarterly through a standardized questionnaire. Questions assess frequency and nature of contact/meetings, mentee’s wellbeing, mentor’s involvement with the child’s school, mentee’s goals, follow ups, and experiences with the parent/guardian.
Mentees are also assessed but with less frequency. They are interviewed in person by RESTORE Belize using a standardized questionnaire aimed at recording the impact of the programme on the child. Mentee’s grades are also monitored and recorded, and mentors are updated frequently.
Mentees’ parents and guardians are also contacted regularly to ensure that the needs of the mentee are being met and that they are still on board with the programme.
Mentorship Socials: RESTORE Belize hosts events and activities to promote the relationship between Mentors and Mentees and to observe how they interact with each other and other mentorship groups. Pictures of the last Mentorship Social can be accessed at the Gallery here.