Apply to Be a Mentor
Serving as a Community Reading Buddies mentor is a unique opportunity to make a measurable difference in a young student’s life and develop your own leadership and communication skills. Mentors receive considerable support from staff, Lead Mentors, and our digital literacy platform, BookNook, where youth mentors and their young readers engage in literacy activities via online video conferencing.
Fall 2023 Program Dates: October 2 – November 17, 2023
Apply HERE by September 15th!
Who can be a Youth Mentor & Requirements
- Be a 7th-12th grade student
- Attend two training sessions before you begin (see required training below)
- Commit to every Monday/Wednesday OR Tuesday/Thursday for 8 weeks
What is the Commitment?
The minimum commitment is 3 hours per week for 8 weeks (1.5 hours per session, twice a week); however, you can volunteer up to 12 hours per week.
During the program, youth mentors will meet with a K-3rd grade student engaging with fun literacy activities via video conferencing. We ask Youth Mentors to commit to the full seven weeks in order to build a strong relationship with their Buddies.
Each session is scheduled as follows:
- 15 min — Power Up! Skill Building Mini-Session
- 45 min — Ready? Set. READ! One-on-one literacy activities with your Buddy
- 15 min — Wrap Up! Youth Mentor Debrief
The 8-week program includes virtual training sessions, an in-person Program Kick-Off event, and an in-person End of Program Celebration!
“Reading Buddies forced me out of my comfort zone, in a good way. I learned to be more responsible and gained valuable people skills. Reading books to kids requires patience and understanding the pace of the buddy you are reading to, their learning style, and that everyone is different. Trying to keep your buddy engaged with a book or activity is a lot more difficult than it seems and CRB helped me balance multiple things at once. Overall, I am a more confident and understanding after being a mentor.”
– Adrianna, 12th grade
“Reading Buddies helped me to grow as a mentor and leader. I learned that it takes an entirely different approach to encourage reading/literacy techniques. I learned to adapt my methods for the levels of my buddies and how to make reading more of a game to keep them involved.”
– Lauren, 11th grade
“Reading Buddies taught me patience and diplomacy. My buddies were super enthusiastic; however, they liked to try and be the leader and create a lesson plan for the day. I learned to find a middle ground between what they wanted to do and what the lead mentors and I wanted to do.”
– Giovanni, 11th grade
All Youth Mentors MUST attend online training before they start. If this is your first time with us OR if you have only participated with us for our in-person program, the required trainings are:
- Building Strong Relationships with Your Buddies (1.5 hours) – This 1.5 hour training outlines techniques on how to engage with your Buddy online. We also learn about measures that are important for all of us to engage online safely.
- Online Tools to Support Literacy (1.5 hours) – This training goes over the BookNook platform that we are using to engage Buddies in literacy development, as well as additional tools and resources.
For those who have been trained as a Youth Mentor with our online program, you may instead opt to participate in the Returning Youth Mentor training, which will go deeper into how to use the various literacy tools to provide individualized support to your Buddy.
For those who apply to be Lead Mentors, you will need to attend an additional Lead Mentor training.
What Are the Benefits?
- Learn and practice critical workplace readiness skills
- Learn and practice early literacy and teaching skills
- Develop and practice important social-emotional skills
- Develop and practice leadership skills
- Find inspiration for future careers
- Network and learn from professional trainers
- Build your résumé; gain experience to include on your college applications
- Earn community service hours, a letter of recommendation and awards
- Make new friends with Youth Mentors from across the Bay Area!
- Create fun relationships with Buddies and give back to your community by helping Buddies learn how to read!
How do I apply?
*Note before applying: Due to the additional component of online and video interaction, please note that we will be recording all online interactions for the safety and protection of all parties. Our parental permission form will go into additional details, but we cannot accept Youth Mentors who are not able to be recorded at this time. Thank you for your understanding!
- Click the Apply Now button to complete a youth mentor application.
- A member of our team will contact you after we receive your application.
Important Reminder: We ask Youth Mentors to commit to sessions twice a week for the entire 8 weeks. Former Youth Mentors can tell you: having a consistent Buddy for every session is key to a great Buddy/Youth Mentor relationship. The more time you can consistently commit to the program, the more you’ll get out of it! If you are unable to make this commitment at this time, we hope you will reconsider becoming a Youth Mentor when you can!