Mentoring Services

Our Program

Project Empower offers a mentoring program to students in the Williamsburg-James City County Schools. This initiative is a community-engaged mentoring program for school-aged youth, which is managed and implemented by William & Mary students and faculty. All project staff are W&M undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral level students who are supervised by a designated faculty director. All William & Mary student mentors complete trainings aligned with program goals and have appropriate background checks. In addition, all mentors have a doctoral student and faculty supervisor who provide regular and ongoing supervision and professional development

The purpose of the Project Empower mentoring program is to provide a positive adult mentor to support students in identifying and pursing academic, social/emotional, and/or college/career goals. Some example goals in this program include career exploration, handling anger or anxiety, academic skill development, college admissions counseling, and social skill development. We hope to empower mentees to become independent, self-sufficient, and confident students, as well as advance their academic and career goals.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a non-professional relationship between a mentee and mentor where the mentor provides support for mentee in different aspects of their life. Mentors engage in activities to build the relationship with mentees and identify goals to talk about and work toward accomplishing.

Mentors are caring adults who offer time to listen and give thoughtful advice. They pay attention and recognizes the little things a mentee does offering supportive comments and encouragement. Mentors create positive and trusting relationships with mentees. Mentors are role models that have successful life experiences for which they can share with mentees. Mentors can model through words or actions to help mentees learn about topics such as overcoming challenges, dealing with peer pressure, or focusing effort in a positive direction. Mentors offer a link to the community that can information about useful resources and connections to help the mentee. 

How does mentoring help?

Mentoring offers a caring, nurturing, and trustworthy person form whom children can form a relationship. This relationship provides positive support for the mentees and encourages their health development as they face and encounter the many challenges that come up in school and life in general.

Mentoring can also have a goal-driven focus in which the mentors provide support as youth identify and pursue important goals. In this case, mentors still serve as positive adult figures but the can also use this relationship to guide mentees towards pursuing lasting change. Mentoring is individualized and developmentally focused to meet the unique needs of each mentee.

 Program Features:
  • Mentees meet with individual mentors on a weekly or bi-weekly basis
  • Mentoring meetings last 20-30 minutes (or sometimes longer) that do not interfere with mentees class schedule or other learning activities
  • Mentors implement a research-informed practices
  • Mentees develop additional long lasting mentorship relationships with teachers, counselors, and administrators at school
Common Topics Discussed in Mentoring:
  • Personal goals
  • Academic skill development
  • Values
  • College admissions
  • Personal or school challenges
  • Social skills
  • Career interests
  • Goal setting
  • Coping skills