Toolkit on Effective Mentoring for Youth
Facing Barriers to Success

Best practices and resources to build, strengthen, evaluate and sustain effective mentoring programs for youth considered at high-risk of under education, unemployment, homelessness, criminalization, and other negative outcomes.

Celebrating Efforts & Successes


Recognize the efforts and accomplishments of mentees, mentors, family members and staff to celebrate successes and promote continued positive engagement.1


  • Recognize mentors on an annual basis (at minimum) to increase mentors’ perceptions of self-efficacy and encourage mentors to continue volunteering.
  • Recognize families who are participating in the mentoring relationship by thanking them on an annual basis (at minimum) for their contributions to the mentoring program.2

 Other Findings

Recognizing your participants’ contributions and efforts significantly increases their satisfaction and match longevity.2

Personalize recognition gestures as much as possible to each participant and his/her specific qualities, likes and efforts.1

Apart from an annual ceremony, create multiple ways to recognize your participants throughout the year, i.e. useful incentives, participant “business cards”, sending birthday and holiday cards, letters of appreciation, newsletters, hosting a variety of participant recognition events, distributing certificates, etc.1 Volunteers report that informal, personal forms of recognition such as thank you notes are the most meaningful.

Hold a graduation night for all members of the mentoring relationship in order to end the relationship with a positive celebration that formally marks the transition in the relationship.3

Key Tools & Resources

Generic Mentoring Program Policy & Procedure Manual:

Fact Sheet: Comprehensive Approaches to Mentor Retention:



  1. Ballasy, L., Fullop, M. & Garringer, M. (2008). Generic mentoring program policy & procedure manual. Portland, OR: The Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence & The National Mentoring Center at Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. Available at:
  2. MENTOR. (2015). Elements of effective practice for mentoring, 4th ed. Retrieved from
  3. U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center (2007). Mentoring fact sheet: Avoiding early match termination. Retrieved from
Funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services