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.

Closing The Match & Re-Matching


Facilitate bringing the match to closure in a way that affirms the contributions of the mentor and mentee, and offers them the opportunity to prepare for the closure and assess the experience.1


  • Develop a procedure to manage anticipated and unanticipated closures, when members of the match are willing and able to engage in the closure process.
  • Develop a procedure to manage closure when one member of the match is unable or unwilling to engage in the closure process.
  • Conduct exit interview with mentors and mentees, and when relevant, with parents or guardians.
  • Develop a written policy and procedure, when relevant, for managing rematching (if, when, how).
  • Develop a written public statement to parents/ guardians, mentors, and mentees that outlines the terms of match closure and the policies for mentor/mentee contact after a match ends (e.g., including contacts using digital or social media).
  • Document that closure procedures were followed.
  • Regardless of the reason for closure, facilitate a discussion with mentees, parents/guardians, and mentors that includes the following topics of conversation:
    1. Discussion of feelings about closure
    2. Discussion of reasons for closure, if relevant
    3. Discussion of positive experiences in the mentoring relationship
    4. Procedure for notifying the mentor or the mentee and his or her parents, if relevant, far enough in advance of the anticipated closure meeting to provide sufficient time to adequately prepare for closure
    5. Review of program rules for post-closure contact
    6. Creation of a plan for post-closure contact, if relevant
    7. Creation of a plan for the last match meeting, if possible
    8. Discussion of possible rematching, if relevant1, 2, 3

Other Findings

Less than half (<50%) of relationships established through formal mentoring programs last for their initial intended time commitment.4, 5

Closure is one of the most important considerations in the mentoring process and if not done well there could be negative emotional consequences for the mentee.

There is also some evidence that there may be some negative outcomes for mentees who experience a premature match closure and who are then rematched to a new mentor. This research is lacking and not entirely conclusive. Nonetheless, agencies should have specific, written policies for rematching that take into consideration the desires of the mentee, and the potential consequences of rematching.

Program staff should provide pre- and post-match training to prepare mentors and mentees for match closure and how to end the relationship in a positive way. Preparing for it must start early.2, 3

At the conclusion of the mentoring relationship, explore the opportunity with mentors, mentees, and (when relevant) parents or guardians to continue the match for an additional period of time.

Host a final celebration meeting or event for mentors and mentees, when relevant, to mark progress and transition or acknowledge change in the mentoring.

Provide training and support to mentees as well as, when relevant, to parents or guardians, about how mentees can identify and connect with natural mentors in their lives.

Relationships with natural mentors have been associated with positive outcomes for youth outside of a formal mentoring relationship. Upon exiting a formal mentoring relationship, agency staff may help guide mentees to identifying contexts and methods in which to identify potential adults who may be a positive natural mentor for them.

One best practice recommendation for closure activities is to 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.1

Key Tools & Resources

Guidelines for Effective Termination of the Match:

Webinar: “They always come and they never say goodbye”: Understanding healthy closure in youth mentoring (2015):

Mentee/Mentor Termination Ritual:

Match Closure:

Closure Policy/Procedure:

Relationship Closure – Continued Contact Agreement:

Functional vs. Dysfunctional Relationship Endings:

Mentee Closure and Termination Agreement:

Mentor Closure and Termination Agreement:

Parent/Guardian Closure & Termination Agreement:

Friendship Review (Sample Exit Interview):



  1. MENTOR. (2015). Elements of effective practice for mentoring, 4th ed. Retrieved from
  2. 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:
  3. Lakes, K. & Karcher, M.J. (2013). Mentee/mentor termination ritual. Developmental Mentoring: The Children with Adolescent Mentors (CAMP) Program. Retrieved from         
  4. DuBois, D.L., & Karcher, M.J. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of youth mentoring (2nd Ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  5. Spencer, R., & Basualdo-Delmonico, A. (2014). Termination and closure of mentoring relationships. In D. L. DuBois & M. J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of Youth Mentoring (pp. 469-480). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services