In an ideal world of mentorship, all mentors would be able to fully commit to mentor one child for a minimum of two years, and ideally from fourth grade until they graduate high school. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. For various reasons, some mentors are only able to commit to mentoring for two years, and on rare and unfortunate cases, some discontinue the match prior to the two year Champions of Hope requirement, often resulting in the protege loosing a positive role model, advocate, and friend.
The Re-Matching Process
When a protege’s relationship with their mentor is terminated, the protege has the option to be re-matched with another mentor. Since Champions of Hope matches proteges while they are in fourth grade, fourth grade proteges are given match priority. Most (but not all) proteges who are matched after 4th grade are the result of a protege re-match (or previously mentored protege). This means their mentor needed to terminate their match through Champions of Hope, but the protege still wants to be mentored. Thus the protege is added to a waitlist until a new mentor who desires to mentor a previously mentored protege becomes available.
What to Expect When Mentoring a Previously Mentored Protege
The fact that a protege is open to having another mentor is actually a really good sign. This typically means their experiences with their previous mentor have been positive enough that they would like to continue to build a relationship with someone who will have a similar role as their first mentor. However, the negative side of the re-match is the potential for unmet expectations. Because some proteges come into the relationship with preconceived notions about how their mentor should be, they may be disappointed to discover that their new mentor is nothing like their previous one.
Potential Challenges & Ways to Manage Them:
It’s important not to be surprised if your protege goes through a period of mourning during the first few months of the re-match. This is completely normal and is an expected reaction for anyone in their circumstance, especially if the match was terminated abruptly and/or with limited closure. One way to respond to this challenge is by acknowledging their pain of losing a friend and advocate. Acknowledge that you’ll never be able to replace their previous mentor, but you will do your best as their new mentor, and are willing to grow alongside them as long as they are willing to do the same. Proving yourself to be trustworthy is an important aspect of any relationship, and it’s especially important when building a relationship with a previously mentored protege. The re-matched protege may feel abandoned and may not have a lot of stability in their life. Unresponsiveness from the protege and their parent/ guardian may be another challenge. Don’t be surprised if it takes time for the protege and their family to warm up to you, but as you continue to show yourself faithful, committed, and trustworthy you will see positive change in both your protege and their family.
Another potential challenge may be the result of bad habits that were established and perpetuated during the previous match. Habits such as purchasing expensive gifts for the protege or always doing “fun” activities and never doing activities that will enable your relationship to grow in depth and help the protege prepare for their future, can be disruptive. Dismantling these negative habits and traditions may be a challenge for re-matched mentors, and will require a significant amount of patience (one of the sanctifying aspects of mentorship), but in the end you and your protege will be better off because of it.
Although there are a number of challenges that are associated with mentoring a previously mentored protege, the benefits and rewards often outweigh them. Once trust is established, you will be able to build a relationship with the protege that is tailored to your distinctive style of mentoring and your unique relationship together. Mentors are able to build their own memories and plant seeds of influence that the previous mentor did not, while watering seeds in areas that the previous mentor planted. A benefit to mentoring a previously mentored protege is that one gets to pour into an individual’s life who may not have another opportunity to be mentored, especially not by one who is a solid believer in Christ. Another benefit is that some re-matched proteges are older and may be more mature than their 4th grade counterparts. The opportunity to mentor an older rematched protege can provide a means for richer conversations with more depth, the ability to help them prepare for life after high school can be rewarding (and is essential), and overall social, mental, emotional, and even spiritual maturity may be evident in the previously mentored protege.
In the end, the mentor/ protege relationship is a lot like any relationship (romantic, new friendship, etc). It may start off a little awkward and have it’s ups and downs; but ultimately, the time invested growing together will be rewarding. You’ll be able to appreciate the challenges of where the relationship first began all the more when you reap the benefits of where the relationship is going and the evidence of God’s sovereign provisions within your match.
Monique Alleyene, Relationship Coordinator