During School Breaks
Students tell us over and over that they need time to get to know their adult mentor to feel more comfortable and trusting with the relationship. It’s not surprising—research shows that the impact of mentoring increases throughout the duration of the relationship. That’s why Mentoring For Success requires mentor-mentee contact over the summer!
Take a moment to consider the many ways you can stay connected over the summer.
- Dialogue with your Student will give you a start in talking to your student
- Review the Summer Activity Ideas (.doc)
- Meet with your student and complete the Summer Contact Agreement (.doc)
- Email Erin Farrell at email@example.com for information about summer activities.
Exposure to even one new activity can make a difference. Check-in with your student and your school site’s Mentor Program Coordinator to brainstorm some other possibilities.
Are you on our list?
If you are not getting emails from us about activities or free tickets, contact Erin Farrell (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your email or phone number so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!
Dialogue with your student this summer
Tips for summer communication via email or mail. Some starter questions:
- What is the best/worst thing about summer?
- What did you do on the 4th of July?
- Where have you been on vacation this summer?
- What is your ideal summer day?
- Have you seen any good movies/read any good books this summer?
- What are you most excited/worried about for school next year?
- What do you miss about school over the break?
- What is one thing about yourself you want to improve this summer?
- What activities would you like to focus on over the next 3,6,9 months?
Spice up your communication by sharing fun activities:
- Pictures on vacation or doing fun activities
- Poems or stories they have written
- Drawings or other art projects
- Mix CDs or other music that has “sound-tracked” their summer
You can also engage in a joint activity that enhances and stimulates your correspondence and summer connection. For some matches, this may be as simple as setting a summer goal, such as learning a new skill or exercising more. If you have similar goals, you can compare progress and provide encouragement over the summer.
Other examples of fun activities include:
- Create a summer “time capsule” that collects meaningful objects from your summer experiences (such as a pine cone from a hike in the woods) that can be discussed over the summer and shared with each other when you meet in person at the beginning of the next school year.
- Grow plants together: compare the progress of your plants as they grow.
- Try cooking the same recipe (a cake, for example) and talk about how the dish turned out.
- See the same movies (or read the same books) and discuss them together.
- Write a short story together, take turns contributing one paragraph at a time.
- Come up with your own creative activities that build on your common interests and summer plans
The Summer Gap
As educators we know that students experience a “summer gap” academically. Consider the possibility of a “summer gap” in social relationships. According to Grossman and Rhodes (2002) youth mentored for at least a year report improvements in academic, social, and behavioral outcomes. Whereas the benefits of a 9 month, school-based mentoring program did not last beyond the school year when matches did not keep in touch over the summer (Aseltine, Durpre, and Lamelin, 2000). Even regular phone or email contact helps children (Grossman and Johnson, 1999). The “summer gap” affects lower-achieving students the most (Allinder and Fuchs, 1991) possibly due to a decreased exposure to learning opportunities.