If you are new to mentoring, it's natural to have questions about what it's all about and whether or not mentoring is the right volunteer opportunity for you.

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Below are some answers to questions you might have, but if you need more information, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give us a call at 312-516-5561. We're here to help!

Does Mentoring Take a Lot of Time?

Many programs in the Chicago area do require that volunteers commit to the program for one year (or a school year for school-based programs); 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. Some programs let you make your own schedule.


Do I Need any Special Skills to be a Mentor?

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


Is Mentoring a Lifetime Commitment?

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, a school-based mentor will commit to one school year (September through May). 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? 

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.

Are the Communities Where the Children Live Safe?

Of all 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. In any case, programs will work with you to help you to feel safe and secure in fulfilling your mentoring commitment. 


Does Mentoring Make a Difference?

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.

Numerous studies have shown that mentoring makes a difference on the lives of youth. 

Thanks to our friends at the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

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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