MT-Mentoring path: Building autonomy step by step, Community Participation and interpersonal relationships

Each mentoring path is singular, and this is part of its richness. Therefore, no structured mandatory activities will be suggested for the 9 sessions of mentoring. Instead we propose to give suggestions for mentor and mentee to consider and to implement, with the flexibility and adaptation that are needed. The mentoring journey as will be personalised will have different priorities of development for each child.

For this meeting, the suggestion is for the LCP to focus on discussing:

Part A

      • Review of the first session experience – major positive elements, what needs change/improvement, emotional state of mind during and after the session,
      • Help develop a doable action plan and support its implementation: give support on identification of objectives, signalization of initiatives/actions, definition of major steps to accomplish objectives, definition of monitoring strategies.
      • Provide constructive feedback
      • Identify strengths and achievements and explore options
      • Coach on specific areas of difficulty/needs if need
      • Create opportunities for mentees to gain experience

Part B

      • Communication Participation

a. Discussion history of community participation and (in)formal networks of the mentee

b. Major achievements, assets and positive dimensions in relation to Community participation

i. In the life path

ii. Focusing on present

c. Major perceived difficulties and barriers to community participation

i. In the life path

ii. Focusing on present

d. Goals, wishes, fears and expectations regarding Community participation

i. In the life path

ii. Focusing on present and future decisions

e. Relationships in my life – characteristics, positive components, dimensions/aspects that need improvement

i. During childhood

ii. During adolescence

iii. Nowadays

f. Goals, wishes, fears and expectations regarding my interpersonal relationships

i. In the life path

ii. Focusing on present and future decisions

A. Building trust

a.      Getting to Know Each Other

                 i.     Ensure empathy and positive interaction

                ii.     Be predictable and consistent

              iii.     Ensure confidentiality

              iv.     Anticipate mistrust and suspicion

                v.     Recognize any signs frustration related to refusal to talk, resistance to change, mistrust

              vi.     Be open minded!

b.      Develop a constructive relationship

                 i.     Give time to know each other

1.    Establish Boundaries

a.      Physical

b.      Emotional and psychological

c.       Social

d.      Other (e.g., spiritual)

2.      Be flexible!

3.      Be curious and interested – but not intrusive!

                ii.     Be trustful and honest

1.      Be assertive

2.      Ensure transparency in your perspective and actions

              iii.     Spend time together – have fun!

1.      Plan activities together

2.      Do activities together

3.      Monitor and assess activities together


B. Community participation and interpersonal relationships

The Leaving Care Professional can choose to implement activity 1 or 2 to introduce the child in care to this subject.

  1. “My life if I was a cartoon”: A brief visual story of my significant (in)formal networks and relevant people throughout my childhood and teenage years.

Justification: The possibility of building a “cartoon story” (by drawing the cartoon, by using digital programmes, by collage technique, by cutting and gluing some cartoons from existent journals, or by other mean chosen by the mentee) can be a creative and fun way of signalizing the most relevant events, people, achievements and difficulties in the area of community participation during childhood and adolescence. Instead of the traditional, “sometimes perceived as boring” biographical interview, this technique is a dynamic way of access relevant life path contents. Because an output is produced (The cartoon), this activity can also be revised during other sessions, to reinforce the skills and achievements the mentee is getting from his/her mentoring process.

  1. “Let’s make a visual representation of (in)formal networks”

Justification: It is not infrequent that ageing out children have difficulty systematizing information regarding their past and current significant (in)formal relationships and networks. To make a visual representation will help him/her structure information, plan and organize how to present it, and reflect on the most relevant features and characteristics of this relations and networks. It will also be an important asset to plan and develop an action plan to state community participation. One common way of doing this is to draw a “pizza” with different slices for each relevant (in)formal network. However, other shapes and/or other visual representations can be made – let’s be creative!

  1. “Relationships, relationships…”: Key rules to improve trust, confidence and connection

Justification: The establishment of long-lasting trustful relationships is one of the most commonly mentioned difficulties for children with long term paths in state care system. This activity is devoted to support the identification of difficulties and the recognition of strengths, helping the mentee to develop strategies to overcome mistrust, barriers to connect, miscommunication and/or other difficulties felt. To make it more interesting we suggest doing it as a Blogger interview – each one has 3 minutes to ask relevant questions that have to be answered by the respondent as if he/she was a very influential blogger that was giving tips for young adults (e.g., Q: Why do you think trusting is difficult”? Answer: “well… as a blogger connected to so many people… I can say that it is difficult because… people lie to you!  But my fellow supporters – not trusting stays in you, not in the liar! Humans need to trust each other to be able to live together…”).

4.“If I was a Community participation agent for a child in care”

Justification: To systematize the responsibilities and major goals of someone who is responsible for enhancing community participation of children ageing out is an interesting opportunity for the LCP to actively listen to the perspective of the mentee regarding the role of those who might help children in this area, and also to demystify/deconstruct/clarify some myths, wrong ideas or misbeliefs about it. The discussion is an open moment for brainstorming, debate, creative analysis and reflexion – the LCP should avoid imposing personal opinion and/or to lead the discussion.