We know you might have lots of questions about what the MENTOR Illinois does or about mentoring more generally.  Here are a few answers we hope will be helpful. Please feel free to contact us with additional questions.


FAQ - General

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  • Can MENTOR Illinois help me find a mentoring program? Open or Close

    By sharing some basic information like your zip code and the age of youth you would like to mentor, MENTOR Illinois can connect you to a range of mentoring programs in your community. 


    Become a Mentor

    It takes one person to make a difference in the life of a child. Be that person. Fill in your zip code below to get started.  Use the advanced search below to narrow your search results and find the perfect opportunity for you!

    Zip Code:
    Program Type:
    Ages of Youth Served: 7 and under
    All of the Above
  • Is MENTOR Illinois an organization that offers mentoring? Open or Close

    No, MENTOR Illinois does not provide mentoring services itself. MENTOR Illinois is an organization that provides support to mentoring providers to improve the quality and increase the quantity of mentoring available to children and youth in Illinois.


  • What does MENTOR Illinois do? Open or Close
    MENTOR Illinois is committed to serving as a resource and capacity-building organization that works collaboratively to support new and existing mentoring organizations by:
    -providing a wealth of nationally-tested resources, training, and technical assistance.
    -introducing national standards of best practice to the Illinois mentoring community.
    -creating a statewide network of mentoring organizations to address shared challenges and craft collaborative solutions.
    -raising public awareness of the vital role of mentoring in violence prevention and healthy youth development.


  • Why is MENTOR Illinois so important to mentoring? Open or Close

    MENTOR Illinois is playing a critical role by helping programs find the research, mentors, partners, and resources they need to provide the most effective mentoring programs possible for the children and youth in their communities.


FAQ - Is Mentoring For You?

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  • Are schools where mentors are needed failing? Open or Close

    Of the young people who need a mentor, many face challenging circumstances such as poverty, inadequate health care, parental incarceration, or an unstable home life.  


    Others simply lack access to experiences and resources outside their neighborhoods, or need more encouragement and attention in school. Even those students who do not face challenging circumstances can benefit from a caring adult mentor - someone who says, "I believe in you."


    Remember that all schools are staffed by dedicated and hard-working educators who are trying to find the best solutions to meet the needs of their students. They welcome your support.


  • Do I need special skills to be a mentor? Open or Close

    The most effective mentors are those who are patient, committed, and willing to listen to their mentee. Mentoring volunteers do not need to be perfect, rich, or a superstar.


    Mentors simply need to be willing to help a young person by being a consistent, caring adult; someone who will help them problem solve, practice good communication and introduce them to new experiences and ideas.


  • Does mentoring make a difference? Open or Close

    All children have the potential to succeed in life and contribute to society. However, not all children get the support they need to thrive. Mentoring benefits youth in many ways such as:


    -Improving self-esteem

    -Keeping young people in school

    -Helping to 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

    -Enhancing parenting skills 



  • Does mentoring take a lot of time? Open or Close

    Many programs do require that volunteers commit to the program for one year; usually for about an hour per week. A long-term commitment provides the most benefits to the child.


    However, most mentoring programs will work with the volunteer to find the most convenient time for the mentor-mentee meetings.


    Schedule and time commitment also depends on the type of program. For example, school-based programs meet at the school, during the school day, while site- or community-based programs may meet at a community center, after school or on the weekends.


  • Is mentoring a lifetime commitment? Open or Close

    Some mentoring relationships last for many years, others do not.


    In a formal mentoring relationship, it is always best to follow the guidelines of the mentoring program, which will have established beginning and ending dates.


    For example, most school-based mentoring programs will commit to one school year (September through May), though some may be only a few months.


    If you would like your mentoring relationship to continue after the program has officially ended, you (or your mentee) can speak with the program staff member about signing up for another year commitment.


  • Will mentoring cost me money? Open or Close

    Most mentoring programs require very little to no monetary commitment from a mentor.


    Usually gift giving is discouraged, unless it has been approved by the program coordinator or the gift can be shared with all mentees in the program (e.g., a snack or goodie bag at an end of year celebration).


    Volunteers should not feel pressured to take mentees on trips, on expensive outings, or buy birthday gifts.


    Ask your mentoring program coordinator for creative, low-cost, and fun activities to do with your mentee.


Meet Our Board

 We are grateful for the experience and expertise our board members contribute to our mentoring programs. Meet the people who make up our Board of Directors

For Programs

 The key to a successful program is having a vast and varied set of resources to help with planning and implementation.  Here you'll find tools and information to help you succeed.

For Mentors

Mentors can make a huge difference in the life of a child.  We want to help you be prepared for a positive mentoring experience by offering you these resources.


We'd like to introduce you to the Corporate and Program Partners who contribute so much to the success of our mentoring programs.  

Contact Us

MENTOR Illinois

55 E. Monroe, Suite 3800

Chicago, IL 60603

Phone: 312-881-7767




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