Finding a Mentor


What is a mentor?

A mentor is someone who supports you in finding success. They listen to you, give advice, and encourage you to figure out your own dreams and goals. A mentor can expand your resources and ways of thinking about the world. When you fill out your application, your mentor will advocate for you and give an outside perspective on your goals. You will go to your mentor for self-reflection and guidance.

Who is allowed to be your ABF mentor?

At the Ann Bancroft Foundation, we encourage grant applicants to find mentors who are not parents or close family members. We also do not allow mentors who are employed by the activity provider. Your mentor may not be someone who will financially benefit from the grant. Mentors do not need to be female-identifying.

EXAMPLE: Nicole is applying for a grant to attend a dance competition with ABC Dance Studio. Emily is her dance teacher who works at ABC Dance Studio. Because Emily is employed by Nicole’s activity provider, she is not permitted to be her mentor.

Steps to finding a mentor

Make a list of adults you know and trust. Your mentor could be your teacher, coach, school counsellor, neighbor, family friend, or community member. Then, think about who might be the right mentor for you. Who can support your goals? Whose advice do you trust the most? Who can you talk with openly and honestly? Who is knowledgeable enough to advocate for you?

Then, decide which person would be the best one to ask. You might not immediately think of somebody whose interests align with yours. That is okay! You can ask your list of trusted adults if they have any suggestions for who you can ask. Your school or local community center may also have a program to match you with a mentor. There are many possibilities in your community if you just ask! 

If your mentor is not someone you know well, then have a conversation with them about your dreams, goals, and plans with the grant. Once you get to know each other, your mentor will be able to advocate for you on your application.

Tips and Tricks

Asking someone to be your mentor can be scary. Remember, many adults will be thrilled for the opportunity to mentor a young person. Send a message explaining the role and responsibilities of a mentor. To learn more about the mentor’s role, click here.

If they say no, don’t get discouraged. Even if someone seems like the perfect mentor, they may not have time to take on this role or may think that they are not the best fit. There are many people out there who could be a great mentor. It may take a few tries to find the right one for you.

Remember, what you put into your mentor relationship is what you get out of it. If you put effort into forming a strong relationship, then the mentorship will work out better for you.