Whitman Mentor Program
The Whitman Mentor Program serves to build strong and lasting mentor-mentee relationships between Whitman students and young people from Walla Walla elementary schools. Whitman students join their mentee at recess once a week to build a healthy relationship and have fun!
The Mentor Program was started in 1994 as a psychology thesis of Jamey Wolverton, who studied mentoring and it’s affect on “at risk” elementary students. During the first year of the program, twenty-three pairs participated in a study at Berney Elementary School. Wolverton found that the students’ attendance rates and self-esteem improved significantly. Since then, the program has developed into a strong component of Whitman’s community outreach, and has paired hundreds of mentees and mentors.
In addition to recess, mentees visit Whitman College campus each spring for a day long carnival called Mentees to Campus Day, in which mentors and their mentees enjoy activities and games run by Whitman student volunteers. The Mentor Program is a fun, realistic way for Whitman students to have an impact on the Walla Walla community and on an individual elementary school student’s life.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the Mentor Program work?
The intervention specialists at 6 elementary schools nominate “at-risk” students whom they feel would benefit from having a Mentor. The Mentor Program matches these children with Whitman student volunteers based on the kind of support each child needs and facilitates transportation that coordinates with each student's availability. Whitman Mentors visit their Mentees once a week during lunchtime for about an hour and spend both lunch and recess hanging out with their Mentees.
How can I apply to the Mentor Program?
The Whitman Mentor Program accepts online applications in early September for new mentors. Depending on the number of applicants and the number of mentors studying abroad, it is also possible to join the program in January. Please contact us if you have any questions!
If I am studying abroad, could I still volunteer for one semester?
Of course! We welcome every student to apply. Mentors who plan to study abroad in the spring find a substitute Mentor for their mentee while they are away for the semester. Usually mentors take it upon themselves to make those arrangements just because they personally know someone who would be an amazing Mentor for their Mentee.
I am a returning Mentor, could I still continue to mentor the same mentee?
Yes! We highly encourage returning mentors to continue with the same mentee. There is a space on the online application to let us know you want to return to the same child.
What happens when my mentee is sick?
Usually when a Mentee is sick we are notified by the Intervention Specialist and interns try to notify students as soon as possible. Sometimes we have Intervention Specialist who personally contact the Mentor. If by any chance you do arrive and you realize that your Mentee is absent, we encourage Mentors to spend time with the children from his Mentee’s classroom.
What if I cannot make it on my designated day?
Please contact your Intervention Specialist so that he or she can let your mentee know! Mentees will often linger around the office for all of lunch and recess wondering why their mentor didn't come visit. Please also send us an email (or cc us on the email you send to the intervention specialist) so that we can excuse you on the attendance sheet. If you are in a carpool, please let them know as well! If it is at all possible, please try to reschedule for another day that week or go twice the following week. Regular time together is vital for building a strong mentor/mentee relationship!
Can I visit my mentee more than once each week?
Yes! It is not required, but if you find yourself with extra time on your schedule, then we recommend that you first contact the designated Intervention Specialist for your school.
What if my mentee moved to another elementary school in Walla Walla?
Not a problem. If Mentors wish to stay with their Mentee then we do our best to find out what elementary school s/he moved to.