June Mentor Monthly
June Focus: Celebrating Summer
“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you.” 1 Thessalonians 1: 2-4 (NIV)
1 Thessalonians 1: 2-4: “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you.” (NIV)
As this month begins, we want to start by saying THANK YOU to our mentors! MentorKids Kentucky has been praying for you, your families, and the families of your mentees, and we hope that each of you are doing well. Throughout the past few weeks, we have been blown away by the thoughtfulness and creativity you have shown in looking for ways to connect with your mentees during COVID-19.
- Called, texted, FaceTimed, and Facebook messaged
- Hosted a drive-by Easter egg hunt, scattering eggs in a mentee’s yard for them to find
- Virtually helped with homework
- Dropped off packages with art supplies, games, and thoughtful activities for mentees
- Flown kites together at an appropriate social distance
- Played rounds and rounds of Battleship and Yahtzee by video chat and FaceTime
- Sent encouraging letters and cards
- Read books together using FaceTime and video chat
- Competed in online video games
- Delivered birthday cakes and presents to porches and mailboxes
- Held an online movie night to watch a family-friendly film together
- Prayed for the health and safety of your mentees and their families
As 1 Thessalonians 1 says, we know that God has chosen each of you to serve Him, and we have been so humbled and excited to see the ways that you have loved and cared for your mentees amidst the coronavirus these last few weeks. We know that connecting with your mentees has required creativity and flexibility because you have been able to do so in the ways you typically do. Thank you for being a steady and constant presence in your mentee’s life during a very uncertain time. We are praising the Lord for these “labors of love” (1 Thess 1:3) and we couldn’t be more grateful that God has chosen you to serve Him by being a mentor.
When the pandemic hit in March, Berly shared that it is MentorKids Kentucky’s position that mentors and legal guardians should agree on how the match should meet based on the individual needs of both households. As the state of Kentucky begins to reopen, we want to encourage mentors to take a moment this week to check-in with your mentee’s legal guardian to discuss whether it is best to continue meeting virtually or resume meeting in person.
If you and your mentee’s legal guardian decide to begin meeting in person again, here are some ideas for activities that you and your mentee can do together amidst closures and social distancing recommendations:
- Have a picnic in the park
- Take a socially distanced walk or bike ride
- Visit the drive-in movie theater (if your mentee’s legal guardian approves)
- Play a round of disc golf or a game of frisbee
- Fly a kite
If you and your mentee decide to continue meeting virtually, here are a few ideas for activities you can do remotely:
- Write a story. BoomWriter is a free collaborative writing tool for kids that allows you and your mentee to work on writing a story together. When you finish, you can publish the final story into a softcover book.
- Put on a concert. Lots of musicians have held virtual concerts recently. Encourage your mentee to do the same! If they play an instrument or love to sing, set up a video call for them to show off their skills.
- Explore something new with your mentee from your own homes. Many zoos, aquariums, and museums are giving people virtual tours and video access to their facilities.
- This link has many options for virtual events and activities to do with your mentee: https://mommypoppins.com/los-angeles-kids/weekend-events/virtual-concerts-storytimes-events-and-classes-to-stream-from-home
- Use video chat to play a game together like Charades, Pictionary, Battleship, Yahtzee, Hedbanz, or Bingo.
With summer camps, Vacation Bible Schools, sports practices, and other activities cancelled this summer due to the social distancing recommendations in place, kids have more time than ever to be online. With the world becoming more and more digital, teaching mentees how to appropriately communicate with others online is an important relational skill.
This week talk with your mentee about ways to be safe when they are on the internet. Whether you are meeting virtually or in person, take a moment to discuss these internet safety tips with your mentee:
- Follow the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Research has shown that those who bully others on the Internet often become victims of bullying themselves. Encourage your mentees to avoid cyberbullying by being empathetic toward others and treating others with respect – just like they should in the real world.
- Post with Caution: Posting personal information or inappropriate messages can put kids at risk with strangers as well as friends. Once a message or picture is texted, e-mailed, or posted, it’s almost impossible to get it back. Explain to your mentee that once something is shared on the internet, it is there forever – even if they try to delete it. If they have profiles on social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and Facebook, remind your mentees that whatever they post becomes public. Anything they wouldn’t want a stranger to see should be kept offline.
(Safety Tips adapted from Scholastic Parent: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/technology-and-kids/5-internet-safety-tips-tweens-and-teens.html)
Many mentees may have had unparalleled access to the internet while they have been out of school, and some of them may have had little parental supervision while they have been on the internet. This means that they may have had numerous opportunities to be exposed to harmful things online. In an increasingly online world, understanding how to protect themselves online is a vital life skill for mentees to learn.
Take the opportunity this week to continue talking to your mentee about ways to be safe online. This week the focus is on teaching them to protect themselves from online predators.
- Keep It Clean: Talking about sex or sharing explicit images online may sound exciting or like a good way to fit in, but it can lead to humiliation or a predator’s “grooming” (online stalking). And in the case of photos, it’s actually illegal and criminal charges can be pressed for sending, saving, or sharing these pictures. Criminal charges can be pressed even if they immediately delete the photo. If your mentees are on the receiving end of sexual messages or images, the first thing they should do is tell you or another adult. If they receive an inappropriate message, no matter where they are, they should stop what they are doing and take their device to a guardian or trusted adult. Remind them the adult will be there to help them. Together you can contact the police and/or report it to CyberTipline.com.
- Don’t Meet Online Friends Offline: Emphasize to your mentee that there is no way to be sure that someone they meet online is really who they say they are. Explain that if they meet in person, that can put them in actual real-world danger.
Finally, remember you are not alone! If your mentee is struggling in these areas and you need help guiding your mentee through these difficult issues, please let us know. We are always here to support you.
(Safety Tips adapted from https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/technology-and-kids/5-internet-safety-tips-tweens-and-teens.html and https://learnsafe.com/what-to-do-if-your-child-receives-an-inappropriate-picture/)