Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions about your role as a mentor, we’re here to help. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions below for answers to many of the great questions we’ve received from mentors over the years.
Still have questions? Contact us at:
Mentor Center at Burton: firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.819.1901
Mentor Center at SWCC: email@example.com or 616.819.6799
When and where will I do my mentoring?
Our partner schools show their support for Affinity Mentoring by providing us with a room on site called the Mentor Center. You will mentor your student at the school for one hour each week throughout the school year. The mentoring hour must be during or immediately after the school day. We will help you schedule your mentoring hour with your student and his/her teacher at the beginning of the school year.
Liability issues make meetings between an adult and child outside the school setting unwise unless specifically approved by the program staff. Affinity Mentoring plans several family-centered activities for you and your student throughout the year.
Where can I park and check in when I come to mentor?
Park in the school’s main parking lot, if possible. In case of overflow, you may need to park on the side streets. Just be sure you’re in a legal parking spot or you may be ticketed. Ask a staff member if you need help finding a good spot to park.
You will enter the school through Entrance ‘A’. Ring the buzzer located to the right of the main doors. The door on the far right will then unlock and you may enter the building.
Grand Rapids Public Schools [GRPS] requires that all volunteers sign their daily registry located in the Main Office. Mentors are also required to sign-in in the Mentoring Center.
GRPS Volunteer Badges are required to be worn while on the premises. New mentor badges will be in the Mentoring Center. If you lose your badge, please let a program staff know that you need a replacement. Note: It takes about 2-3 weeks (sometimes more) to process an application for a GRPS Volunteer Badge.
Where will I pick-up/drop-off my student?
You can pick up your student in their classroom and proceed to The Mentoring Center. After your mentoring session, please walk your student back to their classroom.
If you mentor during the lunch hour, you may pick your student up a few minutes before the rest of the class is dismissed and go to the cafeteria to pick up your student’s lunch. Mentors should carry the lunch tray to The Mentor Center to avoid spills in hallway.
LOOP students must be picked up from and returned to their designated LOOP classroom. If you mentor immediately after school, pick your student up a few minutes before dismissal. Be sure to make sure the LOOP teachers know that the student will be with you for mentoring and when he/she will return. For students NOT enrolled in LOOP, after mentoring, please talk with a program staff person about making arrangements to get the student home after your session.
What should I do if the mentor center is full?
If the Mentor Center is full, check with the program staff for overflow sites. We also have access to the Media Center, Computer Lab, the gym [if not in use] and the playground.
Where can I find Mentor information at the school?
The Mentor Center is our program’s hub. This is where you’ll find the Mentor “check-in”, Classroom Connections, Progress Reports and program happenings. Check weekly for updated info.
Where can I put my progress reports?
After your mentoring hour is completed, you will fill out the Progress Report and place it in the appropriate shelf on the Mentor Central table. You will find blank progress reports in the literature sorter on the table by Mentor Central.
Where is the classroom connection form?
This is the form the teachers post at the beginning of the month to alert you to days your student will be on a Field Trip, having a Class Party, school days off and the academic focus for the month. Mentors are usually welcome to join their student on a Field Trip or attend a Class Party.
What is a Mentor Attendance Log?
This helps us know when mentors have been at the school. Please initial by your name on the Mentor Attendance log in the Mentor Center. Or better yet, include your student in this policy by having them place a sticker next to your name at the end of your mentoring hour. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and remind them of your faithfulness and that you are there only for them. What a great opportunity to talk about what it means to be accountable!
What should I do if I will not be able to mentor one week?
Please notify the Mentor Center AND your student if there is a week that you are unable to mentor. Being faithful every week is not only an Affinity requirement, but the best example for both our student and school staff, so it’s important to be upfront and clear about any sessions you will have to miss.
How do I schedule my mentor day and time?
Some teachers like to schedule their students’ mentoring hour directly. Others have asked the Affinity staff to manage that for them. We’ll let you know what your student’s teacher prefers. If you do arrange your mentoring day and time with the teacher, please let us know your mentoring schedule. Please notify us if your mentoring day and time changes by contacting us at Burton: firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.819.1901; or at Southwest Community Campus: email@example.com or 616.819.6799.
What should I focus on during the mentoring hour?
The overarching theme for how you and your student structure your mentoring time is relationship and mutual agreement. Begin by building a relationship with your student. Get to know him/her and his/her interests and needs. Then, balance out your time with both learning and fun. Your student’s teacher will share schoolwork assignments with you. The principals suggest we focus on reading, math fact memorization skills, and basic social skills. A Mentor Resource file, tutorial aids, Creative Play ideas, art supplies, and games are available for your use in The Mentor Center. Please use the designated art table for arts and craft projects and return items to their proper place. This is a great time to model organizational skills and respect for property.
What's the "Get Caught Reading!" Program?
All mentors and students will enjoy participating in our reading incentive program. Read for 10 minutes during each mentoring session, fill out the reading log and your student will receive a prize at the end of the semester. (Expect to be ‘caught’ on camera!) Your reading packets will be in the filing cabinet by Mentor Central. Please keep the booklet in the file when not in use.
Can I bring snacks or gifts to my child?
If you choose to share a snack with your student, please keep nutrition in mind. Obesity is becoming an epidemic with at-risk kids and this is another way you can be a positive role model. Also, please dole out treats sparingly so that it doesn’t become expected. Using special treats as a reward for academic or behavior improvement will give both you and your student a sense of accomplishment.
In an effort to be sensitive to ALL the kids at the school, if you wish to give a gift to your student, it is recommended that you do so outside of the school setting. Your Affinity Match Specialist can assist you in connecting with the family. Gifts may also be left in the Elementary Office and they will call the family to let them know a gift is there for the student. Above all, remember the focus of being a mentor is to develop a caring, supportive relationship with your child. Therefore, the best gift you can give is yourself. You do not need to feel that you should give more than that. If you discover that your child and/or family have a significant need, notify your Affinity staff and we can help make sure they get that need met. We’ve seen some amazing things as together we care for this school community.
May I take my student on an outing or give them a ride home?
Safety for our kids is our number one priority so please respect the fact that Affinity Mentoring is primarily a school-based program.
However, there are opportunities for mentors to meet independently with their mentees in addition to their regular school-based sessions.
Under the Independent Outing and Transportation Policy, a permission slip is required and all mentors must:
- obtain and pass a FBI Fingerprint check [a GRPS requirement],*
- pass a motor vehicle record check, and
- provide proof of a valid driver’s license and auto insurance.
The complete Independent Outing and Transportation Policy is available under Mentor Resources.
* The cost of the fingerprinting is approximately $57 and is the responsibility of the mentor. Limited scholarships are available for mentors experiencing financial constraints.
A mentor and student may NOT meet outside of school until approved by Affinity staff. Please contact the Site Coordinator to begin this process or get more information.
How can I contact Affinity Mentoring Staff?
Someone from the Affinity Mentoring team will be at our Mentor Center to assist you when you visit. Please stop by and chat [even if we look busy]! We love to hear about your experiences as a mentor and especially like getting to know you and your student!
Or you may call our Mentor Centers directly [Burton: 616.819.1901 or SWCC: 616.819.6799] or e-mail us [firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com].