So, maybe you’ve signed up to be a peer mentor to a student who is struggling to find their place at Switch. Maybe they have a disability, a different way of being, or a difficult life situation. Whatever the reason, there are students out there who need a role model like you. But, what does that mean, exactly? And what will it look like? It comes down to one question: Can you be a good friend?
If you answered yes, then you’ve got what it takes to be a peer mentor! Peer mentors are students who choose to befriend someone who might otherwise feel left out, unsure of what to do at Switch, or anxious about attending Switch alone. Here are some ways you can help.
Before Switch Starts
The student you’re mentoring might be anxious before Switch starts. Why? They may be afraid of being around their peers, saying or doing something stupid, or getting ditched. Do these things before Switch to help them calm anxiety:
- Pray for the student you’re mentoring.
- Exchange numbers so you can text one another and plan where to meet up.
- Follow one another on social media if you can.
- Tell them that you’d love for them to hang out with you and your friends, and introduce them.
- Tell them that you’ll be with them the whole time, and stick by their side.
The basics? Help your student feel like they’re an important part of the Switch community—because they are!
- Meet the student you’re mentoring outside when they’re dropped off. That way, they won’t have a single moment to feel alone, insecure, anxious, and unsure of where they should go.
- Introduce the student you’re mentoring to your friends one at a time. If you just say, “Hey, everyone, meet my new friend!” the student you’re mentoring may feel overwhelmed.
- Make sure the student you’re mentoring is not alone. If you want to move around the lobby or go outside, ask the student you’re mentoring if they’re okay with that, and invite them to go with you.
- If the student you’re mentoring is having fun doing something, but you’d rather do something else, that’s okay. Let them know where you’re going and invite them to come, too.
- If you go to a different area, be sure to check back with the student you’re mentoring often. Keep an eye out for them. If they wander away, go get them and invite them back to your group.
- Make room for the student you’re mentoring to sit with you during the main experience.
- Help the student you’re mentoring get to where your small group meets after the main experience.
- Encourage the student you’re mentoring to talk and share if they’d like to during small group time.
- Help the student you’re mentoring find their ride home when Switch is over.
During the Rest of the Week
Text, email, phone, or talk in person if you can. Ask what you can pray about. Share funny memes or a great Bible verse.
If a student you’re mentoring does something that is hard for you to deal with, makes you very uncomfortable, or upsets you, ask an adult Switch Support leader or an adult Switch leader for help.