Here is a list of people who have done a bunch of different jobs, lived in various places, gone to schools all over, and have agreed to answer your questions. They range from plumbers to army colonels to doctors to dog trainers to construction engineers to computer programmers. You’ve got 20 minutes. You can ask them anything but if they don’t like a question they’ll simply say “next question” at which point, you should move on to your next question. That’s pretty much the only rule.

We have thought up some sample questions to help you get started however you should not feel restricted in any way. For example:

How did you decide to do that job, how did you get hired?

Was there a Wal-Mart, place to ski, etc in Charlotte, NC when you lived there?

Have you ever been arrested? If yes, how was it getting a job after that?

Did you like your job, did it pay well?

What cities have you lived in, what was the city like?

What was the college like, do I need a car, how can I bring my dog with me?

Was math important to being a (doctor/roto-rooter/farmer)

How important is writing to what you do?

I want to apply to your school, what do you think are the most important things?

Have you ever made a bad decision that you later fixed, and how did you do that?

How do you handle pressure from your friends?

Have you ever used drugs and how did you stop or manage or whatever?

I know we’ve used up our 20 minutes, but I have more questions. Would it be possible to set up another call to follow up? (shows you respect their time, can track time yourself, and is polite – you get points for this). If you want, you can ask someone to make an introduction for you or help you get a job or help fill out an application but if they don’t know you yet, they very likely too soon to ask. However a smart question might be: “I want to get a job as a XXX, or I want to apply to YYY college and I’m trying to figure out the next steps to take. If you were me how would you go about doing that?” It’s harder to say no to a question like that. If they’re short of time they may still need to say no but they’ll probably try to help.

If you need a phone and place to make a call, your Connector (a teacher, guidance counselor, probation officer, ...) has agreed to get you set up. MentorVT.org/

This site has more info and a sample conversation.

Good luck. If you have suggestions, questions, or want us to try to find someone who has done a particular job or who has lived in a particular place that you can talk with

The Value of Mentoring

Basically mentoring helps because it guarantees a young person that there is someone who cares about them. A child is not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges.

Think back. Did you know how to study for a test or make plans for college? Do you remember wanting your first car or looking for a part-time job? Simple things that seem easy or straightforward to you now may appear to be a complete mystery to a young person.

Mentors provide their mentees with an experienced friend who is there to help in any number of situations.

Support for education

  • Mentors help keep students in school.
  • Students who talk regularly with their mentors are much less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
  • Mentors help with homework and can improve their mentees’ academic skills.

Support with day-to-day living

  • Mentors help improve a young person's self-esteem.
  • Youth who talk regularly to a  mentor are less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs or start drinking
  • About half of a teenager's waking hours are spent without companionship or supervision.
  • Mentors provide teens with a valuable place to use their free time.
  • Mentors teach young people how to relate well to all kinds of people and help them strengthen communication skills.

Support in the workplace

  • Mentors help young people set career goals and start taking steps to realize them.
  • Mentors can use their personal contacts to help young people meet industry professionals, find internships and locate job possibilities.
  • Mentors can introduce young people to professional resources and organizations they may not know.
  • Mentors can help their mentees learn how to seek and keep jobs.

Are You in Need of Help?

  • Teen parenthood
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Criminal behaviors
  • Lack self-esteem
  • Poor school performance
  • Absenteeism from school
  • Discipline problems at school
  • Low school expectations
  • Lack plans for education beyond high school
  • Lack interesting extracurricular activities
  • Don't know what you are going to do next