Every year, we recruit more than 70 volunteers from many different walks of life who live all over the Los Angeles area to serve as mentors for approximately 220 CBT students who are enrolled at all 4 high schools where we operate. We divide our new mentors into teams of 3 mentors, and we assign each team of 3 mentors to work with a group of 10 students starting at the beginning of the 11th grade. When making mentor team assignments, we try to assign one male and one female mentor to each mentor team, along with at least one mentor who is bilingual in English and Spanish. All mentor teams are encouraged to work continuously with the same group of 10 students from the beginning of 11th grade through the end of 12th grade.
CBT mentor teams meet at school with their assigned students on Saturday mornings about once each month while school is in session (or approximately 8 meetings per year). During these meetings, the mentors discuss with their students the curriculum and handouts provided by CBT Staff. Our curriculum has been developed over the years with guidance from professional college counselors and other experts, and it is updated regularly. As a result, CBT mentors are not required to have any prior college counseling experience because they can rely on CBT’s curriculum. (Of course, new mentors who have prior college counseling experience are welcome to join our program, and can help us train the other mentors!)
Based on past experience, we believe that CBT’s team-mentoring system has proven more effective than more traditional one-on-one mentoring in several respects:
students have multiple opportunities to bond and build rapport with adults
students learn to collaborate with other students whose level of ability and accomplishment differs from their own
- participating in monthly team meetings with 9 other students helps prepare CBT students to join study groups in college
- mentors are able to serve 3-4 times more students through team-mentoring than one-on-one mentoring assignments
- team-mentoring is more sustainable because CBT mentors (many of whom have family and/or full-time work commitments) have flexibility to miss one meeting each semester while their fellow mentors provide coverage for the students in their absence
MENTORS’ DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
CBT mentors must undertake the following duties and responsibilities during their 2-year term:
- continue serving as mentors until their students graduate from high school
- attend all scheduled meetings with students (only one unexcused absence per semester)
- communicate between meetings with their students and the other mentors on their team
- become familiar with each student and what they are passionate about
- encourage students to improve their GPAs and select appropriately challenging courses
- encourage students to pursue extracurricular activities that show leadership and initiative
- help students draft and revise essays to support their college applications
- notify CBT Staff if unusual problems arise regarding student health or safety
MENTOR TRAINING AND PREPARATION
Before new mentors attend their first meeting with their assigned students, they must attend a 4-hour orientation/training session provided during the summer by CBT Staff, CBT Advisors, and MUSD college counselors. During the orientation/training, new mentors learn how the CBT program works and what is expected from them as CBT mentors. They also receive an overview of the college application process, and have an opportunity to meet their fellow mentors.
Several days before each Saturday meeting, CBT Staff prepares a Discussion Guide that describes the topics and handouts that the mentors will discuss with the students during the meeting. The Discussion Guide and the handouts are e-mailed to the mentors a few days before each meeting. At the beginning of each meeting, the mentors have a 30-minute discussion with their CBT Advisor during which they have an opportunity to review the Discussion Guide and all handouts before the students arrive.
To be eligible to serve as a CBT mentor, volunteers must meet the following requirements:
- graduated from college (or at least have taken some post-secondary courses)
- committed to helping young people apply to college
- agree to serve as mentor for 2 years until students graduate from high school
- agree to miss only one meeting per semester
Make A Difference
If you meet the eligibility requirements and are willing to undertake the duties and responsibilities listed above, please become a CBT mentor by following the sign-up procedure described below. You will find the experience surprisingly rewarding and fulfilling as you meet with a group of 10 young people on Saturday mornings at their school and get to know each one of them over a 2-year period. And you will discover how uplifting it can feel to help guide your students and their parents through the college application process while helping your students achieve their full potential in higher education.
Some of our veteran mentors joined the CBT program in 2008 as part of the pilot group of mentors and have never stopped serving. Many other veteran mentors are now serving their second or third consecutive 2-year terms. The extraordinary depth of long-term commitment shown by our veteran mentors demonstrates that the CBT mentoring experience is valuable and worth repeating.
We are already recruiting 70 new mentors to work with new groups of 11th grade students in the Class of 2020 starting in August 2018, and we hope you’ll join us then!