6.3 Dealing with the Impermanence of Mentoring Relationships

A process for the closure of longer term mentoring relationships may be evaluated early on in the planning. Certain youth may be affected by an abrupt closure.1 Here are a few ways to prepare for and close out a mentoring experience:

  • Raise the issue of closure early on to introduce endings as a normal phase of the mentoring process1
  • Set clear guidelines for mentors on their expectations after the mentoring program ends
  • When appropriate, offer ways for youth to stay in touch with mentors
  • Create a plan for closure if mentors leave or the relationship needs to end
  • Research suggests providing closure or “ending rituals” or activities to reflect on the end of the relationship can provide youth with growth and learning opportunities1
  • Your closure plan can include a way for youth and mentors to say goodbye and ask youth reflective questions (e.g., What did you like best about the experience?)

a mentoring roadmap

Write out your mentoring roadmap. Brainstorm ways that mentoring could fit into an existing program or design a mentoring-focused program.

Mentoring KWL

Return to the KWL worksheet from the beginning of the Mentoring module. Fill out the “Learn” column with the most important things you learned from this module. Was anything you “Knew” incorrect or incomplete? Did you learn everything from your “Want to Learn” column?

Mentoring KWL Worksheet (DOCX)

What do you already know about mentoring? What do you want to learn about mentoring? What did you learn from this module? (You will answer this question at the end of the module.)

1: DuBois, D. L., & Karcher, M. J. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of youth mentoring. SAGE.