MTC recently considered, “How can we get our mentees more involved in shaping MTC’s mentor program?” Our answer was to create a pilot Youth Advisory Council (YAC) made up of a diverse group of mentees from each of our program high schools along with MTCMentor Program Managers. In addition to infusing youth voice into our program design and mentee recruiting practices, we also aimed to help grow mentees’ confidence and leadership skills. The new program has exceeded our expectations- and we’ve had a lot of fun!
YAC is part of a larger national initiative of Honoring Youth Voice to help young people develop the confidence to make a difference. Mentor Program Managers (MPMs) coach mentors to listen actively to their mentees’ interests and broaden their exposure and opportunities. Additionally, mentors encourage mentees to express opinions and then follow up with action.
Our first year of YAC was a big success! YAC members helped plan Mentor Program parties and our annual field trip, provided feedback on ways to recruit mentees, and presented the Mentor Program alongside MPMs to fellow classmates. Mentees and MPMs expressed enthusiasm for continuing YAC next year and we will invite a new set of mentees to participate.