Youth mentoring program

This program pairs adults from the Northern Nevada community with youth ages 15-24 who are refugees that have arrived in the US within five years, asylees, Central American Minors, as well as minor and adult victims of trafficking.

Refugee youth are especially vulnerable because they experience trauma differently than their parents; they require many more resources and services than adults.

The purpose of the mentoring program is to support the youth in engaging ways that assure their academic and professional success, to create opportunities for community integration, and to connect youth to community services and programs that will assist in their success.

Program objectives

The NNIC Youth Mentoring Program strives to:

  • Empower refugee youth by increasing their self-confidence, developing leadership, social skills, and encouraging community engagement.
  • Guide youth in professional development, including skill building, resume drafting, worker's rights, and training opportunities, and support them in maintaining good health, financial comprehension, and academic success.
  • Encourage refugee youth to cultivate positive and empowering relationships that value their diversity and embolden them to celebrate their cultural heritage.

Mentor job description

Mentor role

  • Take the lead in supporting the mentee through an ongoing, one-on-one relationship
  • Serve as a positive role model, friend, and confidante
  • Build the relationship by planning and participating in activities together
  • Strive for mutual respect
  • Build self-esteem and motivate mentee by helping set goals and work toward accomplishing them
  • Maintain confidentiality, except when information may cause harm to my mentee or to others
  • Be flexible and provide encouraging support and advice to help mentee succeed

Time commitment

  • One-year commitment
  • Minimum of eight hours per month spent with the mentee, either in person via phone, or through virtual platforms
  • Communicate with the mentee at least two hours per week, either in person via phone, or through virtual platforms
  • Attend two-hour mentor training session, and any additional trainings as required
  • Attend mentor/mentee group events and program activities

Mentor eligibility requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age to mentor youth ages 15 to 17 years old
  • Be at least 25 years of age to mentor youth ages 15 to 24 years old
  • Reside in Northern Nevada
  • Be willing to adhere to all NNIC Youth Mentoring Program policies and procedures
  • Complete full screening procedure
  • Agree to attend mentor trainings as required
  • Agree to a one-year commitment to the program
  • Commit to spending a minimum of eight hours a month with the mentee, either in person via phone, or through virtual platforms
  • Be willing to communicate with the mentee weekly, either in person, via phone, or through virtual platforms
  • Be willing to communicate regularly with program staff and submit each meeting and activity information in the Youth Success Tracker form
  • Have access to an automobile or reliable transportation
  • Have a current driver’s license, auto insurance, and good driving record
  • Auto insurance minimum incident coverage must be at least $100,000
  • Pass a comprehensive background check
  • Have never been accused, arrested, charged, or convicted of child abuse or molestation
  • Not be a convicted felon. If the applicant has been convicted of a felony, then they may be considered only after a period of seven years with demonstrated good behavior and an appropriate and corrective attitude regarding past behaviors
  • Not be a user of illicit drugs • Not use alcohol or controlled substances in an excessive or inappropriate manner
  • Not be currently in treatment for substance abuse. If a substance abuse problem has occurred in the past the applicant must have completed a non-addictive period of at least five years • Not currently be under intensive treatment for a mental disorder or have been hospitalized for a mental disorder in the past three years
  • Not have falsified information during the course of the screening process

Application and screening process

  • Complete Adult Mentor Registration Form
  • Complete Adult Mentor Intake Survey
  • Check driving record and gain copy of current insurance coverage
  • Check criminal history: state criminal history, child abuse registry, sexual offender registry. Same checks must be performed in all states resided in as an adult.
  • Provide up to three references
  • Complete personal interview
  • Attend the two-hour mentor training

Program FAQs

  • What is the time commitment?

    The mentor contract is for one year, including eight hours per month and two hours per week. However, that time is yours to schedule. You and your mentee can arrange your meetings however best fits both your schedules. The contract states the minimum requirement, so you can meet more than two hours per week, if you’d like.

  • Can I sign up for more than one year?

    The mentor contract is for one year. After the one-year mark, you and your mentee can continue as a match in the program, you can rematch with another mentee, or you can end your mentor contract. You can always rematch later.

  • Am I required to spend money on my mentee?

    No! We actually encourage you not to spend money on your mentee. Of course, it is fine to take your mentee to get coffee or lunch if you’d like. But there are many free activities in the area, and we will provide suggestions for free activities to do with your mentee that will also engage them in the Northern Nevada community.

  • Is this program just fancy tutoring?

    Part of this program is certainly helping your mentee to succeed academically, and you can make that as fancy as you want to! But the mentoring program is about building positive relationships that empower and motivate the refugee youth in our community, on top of any school-related help that they need.

  • Do I need to speak another language to mentor a refugee?

    No. Most of the refugee youth have been attending school in America for at least one year, and they speak and understand English pretty well. However, if the need should arise, we can assist with an over-the-phone interpreter. These cases are expected to be rare.

  • What is the mentor’s job if they witness abuse?

    All mentors are mandated reporters. That means that all mentors must report any witnessed or suspected child abuse and/or neglect of program participants immediately. All mentors are required to undergo mandated reporter training as to learn what constitutes child abuse and neglect, what the state statutes are, and how to properly report such cases. This training will take place during the mentor training session.

  • How do I get matched with my mentee?

    It is the policy of NNIC Youth Mentoring Program to recruit and match mentors with an emphasis on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within match relationships. Applicants cannot be disqualified for any reason that is based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. Mentees under the age of 17 will be matched with a mentor age 18 or older. Mentees between the ages of 18 and 24 will be matched with a mentor over the age of 25.

  • Can I keep in touch with my mentee after our contract has ended?

    You are, of course, allowed to continue your relationship after the contract ends, at the mutual and informal agreement of the mentor, the mentee and the parent/guardian. If future contact is agreed upon, the NNIC Youth Mentoring Program will not be responsible for monitoring and supporting the match after the match has ended.

Contact information

If you would like to learn more about the Youth Mentoring Program or would like to sign up to be a mentor, contact Ozora Cheek, Youth Mentoring Program Coordinator, at (775) 742-8707 or ocheek@nnic.org.