Giving Compass' Take:

• This MENTOR paper examines ways that mentors can help support young people who have experienced trauma in their personal lives or their environment.

• Among the key elements here are tools to empower mentees within larger, more difficult conversations. Are we doing enough listening as we advise others?

• Here's more on the benefits of long-term mentoring for foster families.

Episodes of violence and trauma in young people’s communities, especially those that arise from a place of systemic inequality, prejudice and racism, impact young people’s lives in a variety of ways. Mentors are uniquely positioned to help young people process these experiences by providing a space to express their emotions, ask for help, and channel uncertain feelings into positive, constructive action. However, mentors may need strategies for supporting these discussions and actions as well as support for being allies to young people trying to make sense of their feelings. For example, in the aftermath of tragic incidents of racial profiling and violence resulting from police actions, young people may feel unsafe, angry, frustrated, sad, and powerless.

This guide was developed to help mentors build relationships with young people that affirm their experiences and cultivate a sense of safety after incidents of violence or traumatic events occur. Additionally, we encourage mentors to convene with their networks and affiliated organizations to discuss these recommendations and apply them to the unique experiences of the communities and young people they serve, and we emphasize the importance of collaboration between youth-serving groups and organizations to facilitate affirming, healing and supportive conversations with young people about violence they have experienced or encountered, and their reactions to these tragic events.

Download the full PDF on supporting young people in the wake of trauma at MENTOR.