Mentor FAQs

All mentoring at C4K involves collaboration, goal-setting, fun, exploration, discovery, consistency, friendship, trust, advocacy, coaching, curiosity, listening, and learning.

What types of mentoring opportunities do you offer at C4K?

1:1 Mentoring

Mentors are paired with a young person based on shared interests. Both adult and youth commit to meeting for at least one hour per week for 9-12 months (a total of 36 hours).  Mentor pairs work together to complete two STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) projects chosen by the youth.  Projects vary depending on youth interest, and can range from programming a website to building a 3D modeled architectural model, designing sound effects for an animated film, to creating a video game.  Mentors help C4K youth discover new interests and build skills while developing a positive connection.

Group Mentoring 

Clubhouse mentors engage in group mentoring in our drop-in makerspace and come in for two hours per week for 9-12 months.

Mentors and youth collaborate on a variety of short and long-term projects: animations, robots, movies, websites, artwork, music, 3D projects, and much more! Mentors support youth as they explore career/college opportunities.  Mentors focus on developing positive relationships while helping youth express themselves through technology.

Why should I become a mentor?

You can make a positive impact on the life of a young person and join a community of young people and adults who create, invent, and explore together using the latest technology.

In both mentoring roles, mentors are not only guiding members through activities that will strengthen their STEAM skills. They are also providing members with consistent engagement with an adult who cares about them and helping them succeed, which is proven to increase academic achievement and psychosocial well-being. Additionally, they are demonstrating for members that one never stops learning—we refer to our mentor-member pairs as “mutual learners.” Mentors don’t have to be experts in STEAM skills, as they are learning alongside members. In fact, mentors empower members by encouraging the members to teach them about STEAM.

Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them know they matter. Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations.

Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development and social and economic opportunity. Yet, one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset. We encourage both our mentors and youth to be curious, ask questions, be open, and have fun!

Would I be a good mentor?

An essential qualification is curiosity and a genuine interest in working with young people. C4K provides mentors with training, support, and access to learning tools. Check out our mentor portal with tutorials, projects, events, and other mentor resources.  Successful volunteers vary in age, background, interests, and skills. Mentors have a variety of interests and occupational backgrounds.

Who mentors at C4K?

We currently work with over a hundred volunteer mentors—UVA students, UVA faculty and staff, local software engineers, scientists, designers, teachers, parents of youth, retirees, business-owners—a truly diverse cross-section of our community.

“One afternoon, I was in the front part of C4K working with my mentee. One young lady came in, and it was almost like she was at home. She dropped her books and a book bag and violin and things like that, and she let out a big sigh as if she were saying, “I’m in a safe place. I’m at home.” I thought, “This is what we need for our youth. This is what our youth need.”” – Juan Wade, C4K mentor and member of the Charlottesville City School Board

How do I become a mentor?

All volunteers complete an initial two-hour training and agree to a background check.  Orientations are held at C4K’s mentor studios (945 Second St SE, Charlottesville, VA 22902) on the first Thursday of every month from 6pm – 8pm.

Who do I connect with for more info?

Contact Tricia Howell, Volunteer Coordinator at 434-817-1121 ex. 2 or to learn more.

How do I apply?

Click here to apply, and we’ll reach out to schedule an in-person orientation!