Goal of the Program:
The goal of the Stonewall Center Mentorship program is to provide an intentional semi-structured buddy and support system for first year and transfer LGBTQ+ students transitioning to life at UMass, with a trained mentor who is knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ life and services at the University and local community. It is our intention to promote a sense of belonging, positive identity development, personal and academic success, and healthy practices for LGBTQ+ students at UMass through this program.
Mentors in our program are returning LGBTQ+ students who are successfully navigating life at UMass, including being out on campus to the extent desired, and are knowledgeable about various LGBTQ+ campus resources, policies, student groups, and support people that can assist in navigating life on campus.
Mentors should have a realistic but positive outlook on growth and personal development as a queer or trans person in the UMass community and be comfortable supporting a mentee through difficult issues around identity, sense of belonging, finding community, academic focus, other personal issues, and be a reliable helper in transitioning a first-year student to life at the University. Mentors should be positive role models for their mentees, with an ability to demonstrate strong decision-making skills and encourage safe behavior and risk reduction. Mentors are an integral part of a first-year student’s support system and, as such, may provide direct individual and personal support, but also aid in connecting mentees to appropriate care and support services offered through the University when needed. A successful mentor will be personable, open-minded, have sense of humor, be able to set and maintain healthy boundaries with their mentee, and view this relationship as a partnership instead of a hierarchy. They should also value a strengths-based perspective over a deficit-based worldview and have the ability to learn how to reduce harm and provide trauma-informed support for mentees in difficult times. Mentors are responsible for initiating, maintaining, and developing their relationship with their mentee over time, and should have the appropriate availability in their lives to take on a mentee and hold themselves accountable for meeting minimum standards for check-ins and engagement with their mentee.
Mentors must be available to attend a Mentor Training and Orientation before the start of the school year in mid-August (date yet to be determined). This training will enable mentors to meet each other; clarify roles and expectations; offer an overview of LGBTQ+ services for referrals; and provide training on mentoring and relationship-development skills, crisis support skills, and procedures for responding to crises.
At a minimum, mentorship pairs will connect 2-3 times per month, with at least one in- person or virtual (Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) engagement per month.
At the end of each month, mentors will be asked to check-in with the Stonewall Center.
This program is not intended to act as a dating service. Mentors and mentees may not engage in a romantic or sexual relationship while paired in the program.
Mentor and mentees may not engage in the recreational use of any illicit drugs or alcohol together at any time during their mentorship year, even if they are both at or above the legal drinking age or have prescription access to substances for medical use.
Mentors will seek to respect and maintain the privacy interests of their mentees, except in specific cases where reporting and support are required.
Mentors will alert the Stonewall Center professional staff if a crisis intervention is necessary or has occurred.