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MAKER MENTORS

Maker Mentors uses fabrication, technology, and art to foster relationships, teach technical skills, and expand opportunities for youth.

Generator matches mentor and mentee pairs and provides membership, materials budgets, and tool trainings to the mentors and mentees so that they can use Generator’s resources for their projects. Maker Mentors empower mentees to be thoughtful, responsible community decision-makers and to be leaders in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics).

The goal of the Maker Mentors program is to provide Vermont youth pathways towards STEM careers while also providing active and creative learning opportunities, meaningful social relationships, and the joy of making.

 

Maker Mentor Learning Cycle

Experiential learning leads to growth. We help mentor and mentee pairs develop collaborative projects that allow the mentee to develop new skills, relationships, and the ability to navigate failure in order to reach success. The process includes:

Hands-On Learning. Build a drone, make a table, develop a video game. Make whatever it is you want. We intentionally and collaboratively create projects with the technical support of mentors, shop leads, and other Generator community members.

Reflection. We believe that reflection is key to growth. Processing and identifying key learning concepts is essential to intentional growth and supporting our core values.

Transfer. Fabrication, technology, and art go beyond the shop. Together, we explore how concepts learned through making are related to our everyday lives.

Next Project. We finished a build. Now what? Using the lessons we gleaned from our previous project (both technical and mental), we identify what skills we want to expand and learn before identifying and beginning a new project with these in mind.

 

C6 Core Values

Our C6 Core Values are the guiding principles of Generator’s Maker Mentor Program. While these values will look slightly different for each individual because of their unique backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, the C6 Core Value System is our universal beliefs that we all can connect, celebrate, and agree on.

  1. Curiosity. Asking questions and exploring deeper leads to meaningful connection and  further understanding.
  2. Courage. Developing and understanding how we can move from our comfort zone into our growth zone
  3. Collaboration. Co-creating projects and embracing our unique personalities and skill sets. Everyone has something to teach.
  4. Creativity. Exploring and celebrating the intersection of disciplines, experiences, and ideas.
  5. Commitment. Defining and honoring our own goals and agreements we make to others
  6. Community. Sharing, respecting, and creating space, relationships, and projects for a vision bigger than oneself

Prospective Mentors

Generator is looking for creative and caring Maker Mentors who want to support the next generation of inventors, designers, and engineers.

Maker Mentors partner one-on-one with high school youth to share their craft, profession, and life skills. Mentors help mentees become curious, courageous, and community-focused.

Generator’s mentors devote four hour each month to their mentee. Generally mentors and mentees collaborate on a project of that mentees and mentors create together and utilize the tools and workshops at Generator to make their vision a reality.

Mentors are not meant to replace parents, guardians, or teachers. Each mentor is part of a team of caring adults in a young person’s life.

Expectations

Generator asks that each mentor:

  • Agree to a one-year commitment to the program
  • Commit to meeting at 4 hours a month
  • Meet bi-weekly for the entirety of a year
  • Complete the screening procedure
  • Make consistent contact with the mentee
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a Vermont resident*
  • Adhere to Generator’s Maker Mentor Program policies and procedures
  • Attend initial mentor orientation training. Attendance at additional mentor trainings is strongly encouraged. Trainings enhance the mentoring friendship and experience as well as help mentors obtain a higher level of satisfaction with program involvement.
  • Communicate regularly with the program coordinator and submit monthly meeting and activity information
  • Have a clean criminal history: not a convicted felon
  • Have never been accused, arrested, charged, or convicted of child abuse or molestation
  • Not be a user of illicit drugs
  • Not use alcohol or controlled substances in an excessive or inappropriate manner
  • Not be currently in treatment for substance abuse. If a substance abuse problem has occurred in the past the applicant must have completed a non-addictive period of at least five years
  • Not currently be under treatment for a mental disorder or have been hospitalized for a mental disorder in the past five years
  • Not have falsified information during the course of the screening process

*Residency requirement can be waived with a compelling reason and Advisory Board approval

What We Provide

Mentors receive:

  • Possibility of scholarship for General Membership to Generator
  • Bi-monthly trainings in one of the seven Generator workshops
  • Guidance and training on best mentorship practices
  • A meaningful way to impact a young person’s life as they enter adulthood
  • Small materials budget for mentor-mentee projects

Ready to start?

  1. Fill out our application: Maker Mentor Application
  2. Fill out these forms and email them to Jon Weisbecker.
    1. Verified Volunteers
    2. SECTION II ONLY – Request for a Child Protection Registry Check

Questions?

Reach out Community Outreach Coordinator, Jon Weisbecker.

Prospective Mentees

Generator’s Maker Mentor Program is a one-on-one mentoring opportunity for high school students to build meaningful relationships with designers, engineers, animators, and other STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) professionals while meeting graduation proficiencies.

Mentors and mentees are selectively matched based on shared interests and personalities, along with other criteria. Mentor pairs spend a minimum of 4 hours per month together learning about various technologies through the completion of collaborative projects.

 

Expectations

Mentees are expected to:

  • Be entering 9th-12th Grade
  • Commit to meeting 4 hours a month with the mentor
  • Agree to a one-year commitment to the program
  • Be willing to communicate with the mentor regularly
  • Be able to obtain parental/guardian permission and ongoing support for participation in the program
  • Demonstrate a desire to participate in the program and abide by all Generator’s Maker Mentor Program policies and procedures
  • Complete screening procedure
  • Agree to attend mentee orientation trainings as required
  • Be willing to communicate regularly with the program coordinator and discuss monthly meeting and activity information
  • Be willing to complete annual program feedback survey
  • Be a Vermont resident

What mentees receive:

  • One-on-one mentoring with fun, experienced, caring people who want to help you create and succeed!
  • Opportunities to be trained on tools and machines in Generator’s seven workshops
  • An exciting way to meet graduation proficiencies
  • Insight to professions of people in engineering, science, and creative fields
  • A stellar activity to put on a college resume
  • Summer internship placement assistance after the completion of 11th and 12 grades
  • Access to the Generator network that includes corporate members such as, Dealer.com, LogicSupply, and Seventh Generation; craftspersons who have graduated from Vermont Woodworking School, Yestermorrow, and New School in New York City; and artists who have been featured at Burlington City Arts, worked for Phish, and completed international artists residencies

How does Generator support mentees?

  • Generator’s Maker Mentor program staff work with mentees and parents/guardians to match the youth with a mentor that fits their interests, personality type, and needs
  • A Generator staff member or a trained volunteer is on-site for all mentor-mentee interactions
  • Generator’s Maker Mentor staff keeps diligent records of mentor-mentee activities
  • Generator Maker Mentor Program Director is available 24/7 via phone and will respond within 24 hours of any inquiry
  • Generator provides bi-monthly opportunities for mentor-mentee pairs to gather and learn a new tool, skill, or simply hang out and socialize

Ready to start?

Please fill out our Maker Mentee Application.

Questions?

Reach out Community Outreach Coordinator, Jon Weisbecker.

FAQs for Parents & Guardians

What Is a Mentor?

A mentor is a caring and responsible adult who takes time to be a friend to a young person. A mentor listens, supports, and guides a young person on a consistent basis over a specified period of time, usually at least one year. Mentors are volunteers in your community who know that young people can make a positive difference in the world if given the chance.

A mentor develops this friendship with a young person—whom we call a “mentee”— in order to help him (or her) be successful at home, at school, and in the community. By developing this positive relationship, a mentor can:

  • Help a young person define and achieve his own goals
  • Help a young person improve in school
  • Nurture a young person’s self-confidence and positive self-esteem
  • Listen to a young person and help her solve problems
  • Introduce the young person to new ideas, activities, and opportunities

Mentors are not meant to take the role of parent, guardian, or teacher. A mentor is not a disciplinarian or decision maker for a child. A mentor’s main role is to spend time with the child doing positive and fun activities that help the mentee become more self-confident. By doing this, the mentor becomes part of the team of caring adults who support the healthy development of your child: parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, faith leaders, and friends.

A mentor is a . . .

  • Friend
  • Coach
  • Companion
  • Supporter
  • Advisor
  • Role model
  • Resource for new ideas and opportunities
  • Someone your child can talk to

A mentor is not a . . .

  • Social worker
  • Parent
  • Teacher
  • Counselor
  • Cool peer
  • Nag
  • Parole officer
  • Baby-sitter
  • Source of money
  • Disciplinarian

Why Does My Child Need a Mentor?

All children need the support of caring adults in order to be successful, not only within their family but at school and in their communities. Growing up isn’t easy, and there are many roadblocks along the way that can cause difficulties for children. Sometimes parents don’t have all the answers, and sometimes children need someone outside the family with whom to share their thoughts. Having a variety of people positively involved in a child’s life provides her with new opportunities and experiences that will help her grow and gain self confidence.

You may be able to think of adults — a teacher, a coach, a pastor — who helped you out when you were a child, encouraging you through rough spots along your road to adulthood, or just showing you a new way to look at your world. Although this may not have been a formal mentoring relationship, this person was a mentor for you.

A mentor can give your child another person to talk to — a safe, concerned, and responsible friend who can help sort out a problem or just listen and be supportive. A mentor can also help your child thrive in school by encouraging her in her studies and after-school activities, and by getting her to think about her future goals and dreams.

 

Who Serves as Mentors?

Mentors are as varied as the people in our community, but they all share in their desire to make a positive difference in the life of a young person. Nationally, 18 percent of all volunteers — 11.5 million Americans — are involved in some kind of mentoring activity with young people. Many volunteer mentors are young people themselves, but over 40 percent are between the ages of 41 and 59. Mentors are likely to be working full time, taking time from their workday to volunteer.

Generator’s Maker Mentor Program has mentors who are architects, engineers, designers, and developers. We pull from our community of tech professionals, craftspersons, artists, and entrepreneurs to build a diverse pool of mentors. Mentors are carefully screened and selected, and they receive initial and ongoing training so that they are ready to work with your child.  

 

What Will Mentoring Accomplish for My Child?

Research shows that having positive and ongoing support from several caring adults other than family members contributes to children’s healthy development and can help them become more self-confident.1 Mentoring can help children improve their grades and attitudes about school. Mentoring may also help students improve their classroom behavior, reduce absences, and increase self-confidence. And having a mentor can also help things go more smoothly at home as the child experiences more successes and becomes more confident.

Mentees who are part of Generator’s Maker Mentor Program not only enjoy the companionship of their mentor and the activities they share, but also learn and grow from the experience.

The particular ways that your own child may benefit from the mentoring relationship will depend on his needs, strengths, and many other factors. Sometimes the benefits of mentoring aren’t visible right away, but over time this friendship can help your child gain new skills and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Our goal is to help mentees build STEAM skills and provide internships and other professional opportunities, as they become more confident in their abilities.

 

How Do I Know the Program Is Safe?

We know that you’re putting your trust in our program and in the mentor we assign to your child. In partnership with MentorVT, we screen our potential mentors using researched best practices to ensure the safety of your child.

Everyone who wants to be a volunteer mentor begins by filling out an extensive application and has at least one interview with a staff member. Candidates go through a screening process that includes a criminal history background check using local and national resources. We also gather driving records and talk to personal references and employers.

Candidates who pass these steps go to a program orientation. This gives us another chance to see them in a group setting and to get to know them better. And before volunteers are matched they attend a longer training session about working with young people that includes information about child safety.

Safety doesn’t stop when the mentor is matched with a child. In fact, our work is really just beginning. Our staff checks in with all mentors, mentees, and parents or guardians as long as the match is active. You can expect to hear from our staff at least once a month — more often in the first few months. These check-ins help us see how things are going and if there is anything we can do to help the relationship develop. We also encourage you to email or call your Mentorship Coordinator any time you have a concern or question.   

We are confident that our volunteer screening procedures and the program rules and guidelines we have developed ensure that our program is safe for your child. We ask all our parents to help keep it this way by:

  • Reviewing Generator’s Maker Mentor Policies and Procedures
  • Not approving any activities outside of those that the program has approved (for example, an unscheduled weekend trip or an invitation for an overnight visit to the mentor’s home).
  • Talking to your child about how to stay safe and reminding them to follow your own safety rules when they are away from home.
  • Keeping the lines of communication between you and your child open so that they feel comfortable letting you know if there’s a problem.
  • Reporting any concerns to the mentoring program staff immediately, such as a change in your child’s behavior or a concern about how the match is progressing.

Generator prides itself on its record of having no incidents of child abuse or other unsafe incidents. Mentors are a wonderful addition to the lives of the children we serve. With your help we can be sure that all children in our mentoring program receive the benefits of a caring and responsible mentor.