Answer the Call:
Become a Mentor


A little help from a friend.

We have all been there…something happens good or bad and there is that one friend we need to talk to. A problem arises, we get stressed and don’t know what to do, but we know someone who can give us advice and talk us through our problems. It may not always be what we want to hear…but sometimes it is exactly what we need to hear. In a nut shell, that is what mentoring is all about.

Interested in becoming a Mentor?

We are always seeking caring individuals who want to support our youth. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor, please complete a Mentor Application.

Mentor Role

Mentor a.k.a. trusted friend, role model, adviser, advocate and cheerleader or as the ancient Greeks put it: steadfast and enduring.

Community mentors begin working with Thunderbird cadets toward the end of the residential phase. A mentor's intended role is to support the cadets transition into an educational or career path and to help to reinforce any gains they have made during their time on the base. This mentoring phase is intended to last at least one year, but many matches last well beyond this formal period.

How it Works

During the Residential Phase, mentors maintain regular contact with their cadets in an effort to provide support, guidance and establish a relationship. This can be achieved by:

  • E-mails
  • Letters
  • Scheduled on-site visits
  • Scheduled off-site visits (Mentor Passes)
  • 1 hour of community service performed with cadet

After graduation when the cadet is back at home the Post-Residential Phase begins. At this time, Mentors help ease the graduates transition back into their communities and help them stay on track with their life goals.

An active, healthy Mentor relationship with graduates has proven to be the key ingredient to the long-term success of Challenge graduates.

Is Mentoring Effective?

Research conducted by Sarah Schwartz, Jean Rhodes, Renee Spencer, and Jean Grossman on the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program, found on a 21-month follow-up, previous cadets who were meeting regularly with their mentor (74% of participants) showed benefits in terms of educational attainment and engagement in meaningful activity, whereas the remaining NGYC participants showed no significant differences from the control group. At a 38-month follow-up point, the NGYC participants who were still in contact with their mentors (56%) had significant benefits compared to the control group in a range of academic, vocational, and behavior outcomes.1 These preliminary findings suggest that ongoing contact with a mentor in the post-residential phase was instrumental in helping the NGYC outcomes really stick.

1 Schwartz, S., Rhodes, J., Spencer, R., & Grossman, J. (2013) Youth initiated mentoring: Investigating a new approach to working with vulnerable adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52(1-2), pp.155-69.