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What It Takes To Mentor

Mentors have time available and will commit to staying the course, showing up every week (minus holidays) to meet for 3 hours per week with their student.

Mentors are empathetic and non-judgmental: They are able to listen, learn, and sometimes change their own beliefs and behavior as they learn more about the circumstances keeping mentees from doing their best. They have patience and the ability to keep their cool as they move, sometimes very slowly, to inspire trust.

Mentors are knowledgeable: They can help high school students get their homework done in classes required for graduation (English, math, or science – not necessarily all three).

Mentors are motivated. Some want to do something really worthwhile and help make the world a better place. Some want to get valuable experience and build theirs resume. Some are looking for internships. All honorable motives are fine.

Mentors are cooperative. Mentors understand that teachers and administrators are often working in difficult circumstances in Oakland’s schools and that the program of Oakland Serves depends on working cooperatively with them. It’s not up to us to tell them how to do their jobs!

Mentors have background clearances or are willing to get one, and are willing to make time for a three hour training. We provide the training and help new mentors go through the clearance process, step by step.

Mentors always remember that the young people chosen by their teachers and counselors for this program do not qualify on the grounds of merit, however smart and talented they may be, but on the grounds of need (however smart and talented they may be. They are students who need help to join their classmates and graduate on time.

If this sounds like something you would like to do, go to and click on the Volunteer page, then scroll down, fill out the simple form and submit it. We will get back to you within 3 days. Or just contact the O.S. Coordinator, Kay Lawson, 510-849-1245 or Personal interviews, the training and clearance process, and an orientation session at the school will follow.


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