Respecting and valuing each individual for who they are

What is Smart Mentoring?

The Smart Mentoring Project has been developed by Gracedom to offer support to the young people across various the UK. The underlying principle of the project is one of respect and valuing each individual for who they are. We recognise the inherent worth of each young person, and by building up relationships of mutual respect, we hope to see them grow in self-esteem and confidence, and to positively influence the relationships they have with their own family and friends.

How does it work?

There is no 'recipe' that makes mentoring work. Your approach will depend partly on the young person with whom you're dealing, partly on your own personality, and partly the techniques that you find most natural. But there are some key principles to take into consideration:

Mentoring starts with agreed objectives. There needs to be clear understanding between the mentor and the young person about four things:

  • Why you're doing this
  • What you aim to achieve through it
  • How long you're both willing do it for
  • How you will execute it
  • It is vital that both people involved are pursuing the same targets

Mentoring Process

It requires regular meetings in which those involved get to know each other in an atmosphere of i ncreasing honesty and trust. 'Meetings' needn't mean official teaching sessions; you can offer mentor effectively simply by taking somebody along with you to watch what you do., help you and learn from your style and reaction.

There is a need for sharing on a basis of equality. If you are about to intrude into this teenager's life, you must be willing to be equally open and vulnerable. This doesn't mean confessing all your secret sins in an embarrassing way. But it does mean that you will be honest about your failings and struggles, rather than presenting yourself as the prefect shining model to copy. If you do that, you'll either reduce them to despair (because they can't be as prefect as you) or invite cynicism (because they see you aren't as wonderful as you claim to be).

It also means listening, not just talking. Your aim is to direct your advice and guidance as closely as you can to the real fears, dilemmas, and misunderstandings of the other person - and it can take some detective work before you find out what's really going on in their head. So don't just preach, and don't project the idea that you have all the answer – you don't! Be willing to learn from the person you are mentoring. Nothing can increase the enthusiasm and confidence of a young person more than the sense that he is actually contributing too, and making discoveries that are helping you.

Mentoring comes to an end. You're not aiming to build a life-long dependency, but to establish a relationship form which your young person will sooner or later move on. You may remain friends for life - it often happens - but the balance will shift once the goals are reached and the next challenges appear. So be ready to push the fledging out of then nest when the time comes for a solo flight.


Mentors need to be accountable to someone else too, what you are doing with young people needs to be transparent and open. So before rushing into a mentoring relationship it is vital to consider these questions:

  • How will I ensure that I am transparent and open?
  • How could my motives be misunderstood?
  • Who needs to know what, so that the safety and protection is ensured for everybody?

Get Involved

Why not get involved? All you need to do is contact our offices and we will take it from there. Our details are located on our contact page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I get out of having a mentor?

You will support and encouragement to do something that will build your confidence and self esteem. This could be help with the change between primary school and secondary school, or you have just moved in to your first flat and you need help with living on a budget. There are lot of different situations that having a mentor can make life easier.

Who are the mentors?

They are all local people, who want to help a young person just like you. They come from all walks of life with a wide range of backgrounds and experience. They are people who are willing to give freely of their time to help young people.

All mentors who are recruited to the Youth Mentoring Project undergo checks to make sure they are suitable. These checks include Disclosure Scotland checks, an interview and references.

I do not need help, why do I need a mentor?

Everybody needs help at some point in their lives it is nothing to be ashamed about. Mentoring allows help you sort out the best way to deal with any problems that you may have.

It is about you setting goals for yourself and being able to achieve them with a little help from a friend. Someone who is not related to you, how is not a teacher or social worker, just someone who carers about you and will give you time, advice and encouragement.

As a parent, will I be able to meet the mentor first before they start to work with my child?

Yes, if you wish to meet your child's mentor, it can be arranged through the Project Co-ordinator.

What is involved with the in being a mentor?

Being a mentor is about giving up some time to help a young person through a situation or a problem by encouraging and giving them advice. Not doing it for them.

How can I become Mentor?

To become a mentor just give Sue, the Project Co-ordinator a call on 020 8292 7122 (regardless of which part of the UK you live in).

Do I get any payment for being a volunteer, e.g. expenses?

As a volunteer will not be out of pocket for anything relating to mentoring. All your expenses will be paid, including:

  • Any food and drink for you and the young person
  • Any travelling expenses

How much time will the mentoring relationship take up?

The mentoring relationship should only be about 1 or 1/2 hours per week, and normally lasts for 6 months to a year.

What benefits will I receive through becoming a mentor?

Mentoring provides benefits for the mentors as well as for young people. Being a mentors will give you:

  • Personal satisfaction
  • An increased understanding of young people
  • Increased knowledge, awareness and skills

How will you ensure the protection of my child?

The Youth Mentoring Project has a comprehensive Child Protection Policy and Procedures that all volunteers have to adhere to. As part of this policy, all staff and volunteers are vetted through the Criminal record Checks – and a recruitment process which includes an interviews and referrence checks.

Each volunteer is given training and guidelines on how to mentor, and how and where to meet a young person. Young people are also given regular awareness on how they will stay safe.



Want to know more about Gracedom and the work that we do? You can call us on 0208 805 0737.


Why not get involved with Gracedom? It's easy: all you need to do is contact our offices and we will take it from there.


You can keep up to date with the latest from Gracedom by reading our regular blog.