How can my church/organization get involved?
Each Common Grace church/organization is partnered up with a local elementary school. We look for mentors that have willing and loving hearts ready to help be a friend to the kids at the local school. If this sounds like something that interests you and would like to get more information, you can contact us at 808-282-4335 and request an information kit.
Is it okay for the mentors to bring refreshments for the students when they meet with them after school?
Mentors may bring refreshments for their kids with parent's written permission. Yes they may. It is up to the team and the individual aunty or uncle. Please read on because we'd like encourage all mentors to bring 3 things that are much more important and memorable than cold juice or crispy Doritos. 1) Yourself. Kids will be looking forward to spending time with you. YOU are the best treat! 2) A "Word of Encouragement." Long after the child has forgotten whatever refreshment you brought, he or she will remember hearing you say "Good Job!" "I'm so proud of you!" "I love you!" Recently a 5th grade boy flashed an expression of confusion and curiosity across his face when his mentor said, "I love you." The mentor asked what was wrong and the boy replied, "I dunno. I neva wen' hea' dis kine talk befoa." And 3) Prediction of something wonderful to look forward to--like a Christmas party or going to a movie together. One movie with her or his beloved mentor is worth more than 100 snacks.
Can I mentor more than once a week?
Yes, you can. It is up to you if you want to mentor more than one child a week, although we do not encourage that only because we have kids who ask their mentors if there are any other kids they mentor. We want the children to feel like they are your "favorite." In addition, we host special events of which we encourage mentor-mentee bonding time. It would be better if at these events the mentor only had one child to pay attention to instead of multiple ones.
What happens after my kid graduates from elementary school?
Keeping in contact with your Common Grace child after they age out of the program is wonderful. We encourage life-long friendships. However, Common Grace does not provide any programs after they graduate 5th/6th grade. It will be completely under your own supervision.
What if my child and I don’t connect?
Sometimes, it may take longer for a child to connect with you due to their circumstances or prior experiences. We encourage you to be creative in your time with your child. If they don’t want to play with you, maybe they’ll want to play with your dog. Perhaps you can bring them out to see a movie after school, with a parent or guardian’s approval. If it still does not work, please notify the Common Grace staff. The counselor may be able to match you with another child as the last resort.
What if I can’t handle my kid? If he or she acts up can I discipline him?
Many of the children that schools match with Common Grace mentors are neglected and don’t have a caring adult that gives them the love and attention they desperately want and need. We suggest positive discipline. Positive discipline is to issue boundaries like saying, “Auntie or uncle can’t play with you if you don’t pay attention to the rules,” or “please behave properly because we care for you and would like to spend quality time with you. Let’s spend this time, which is my favorite time, carefully.” If the situation becomes out of control, please contact the school counselor.
What if I suspect physical or sexual abuse?
Please notify your church pastor and the school counselor immediately. Refer to your training material under Child Safety program and Code of Graceful Conduct.
Can I get together with my child over summer or breaks from school?
We absolutely encourage keeping in touch with your child. Your kid would love to see you during the summer. This will show them that you care for them and enjoy their company. It’s a great time to see a wonderful summer movie or enjoy the beach!
Can I have the same kid next year?
It is recommended that you stay with the same child until she or he graduates. This relationship and commitment will help the child’s feeling of security and confidence.
What if I need more training after the orientation session? Could someone help me with reading, playing and listening skills?
We would love to provide you with any additional training that you would need in order to connect with your keiki. Common Grace is working on quarterly workshops to provide a review in playing, reading and listening. Please check our website for upcoming training dates and contact us if you have any questions.
What kind of background information will I receive about my kid?
Because of confidentiality rules, only a basic background can be provided by the schools or by Common Grace. However, you can learn a lot just by being a good listener and by gaining your child’s trust. Your child may volunteer more information after simple “getting-to- know-you” questions: Do you have brothers or sisters? Do you watch TV and have a favorite show? Do you have a pet? Reading and playing games will also tell you a lot about your child’s academic and social skills. There are many suggestions throughout the training manual on getting to know your child.
After I finish my mentor training orientation session, how long must I wait to be matched with my child?
We will try our best to get you going with your kid in six weeks or less from the time of your mentor training.
I go to the school but my kid is not there to meet me. What do I do?
If this happens more than twice, talk to your team leader or your church coordinator about the problem. Your coordinator will follow-up with the school counselor to figure out the problem.
I know we have to be restrained in expressing our religious convictions but what if my child asks me a direct question about God, the Bible, church or anything related to personal faith?
Answer the specific question clearly and briefly then move on to the book you’re reading or the game you’re playing. You will have opportunities away from the school campus to share more fully your personal faith.
What if my kid is a bully? What if my kid is being bullied?
Again, check with your team leader who may begin a conversation with the school counselor. In YouthGrace we use a terrific book called Holu the He'e which addresses the problem of bullying. If you would like a copy of this book let us know.
How long is my commitment to be a mentor of a child in Common Grace?
Ideally, the commitment is for one school year. If situations arise that make it impossible for you to mentor for the entire term, we can always find someone to pick up with your child and we will give you our blessing and gratitude for even a few weeks of touching a child’s life with your kindness.
What if I can’t make it on my mentoring day?
This is why Common Grace operates as a team. Let another mentor know that you can’t make it that day and time and they will include your child alongside theirs.
If I know a child in my neighborhood who really needs a Common Grace mentor, can I refer that child to Common Grace?
Usually, we are not able to respond to individual appeals of this nature. But if they attend a school where our program is already implemented, we can give the child’s name to that school’s counselor and see what we can do.
What if my child doesn’t like to read?
Reading with your child may be a hard task, especially if they have been sitting in a classroom for the whole day. Even if your child doesn’t like to read, you can suggest books like I Spy, Where’s Waldo, magazines or comic books. There are so many ways to read! Some children don’t want to read in front of you because they’re afraid of getting corrected. Bring your dog! The child won’t be scared to read in front a fuzzy friend. But if it becomes stressful for you or the child--stop reading and do something else your child enjoys. We want your time with your child to be fun and enjoyable for both parties.
What material or support does the school provide?
The only thing that the school provides is a child and most likely a space to mentor. We ask that you to bring your own reading and playing material. Common Grace is stocked with games and books! Please feel free contact us if you would like to use any of our material.
What do I tell my child if they ask why they're being mentored?
The school counselor should have already spoke to your Common Grace child about our program, but in the case that they do ask, you can say something like this: "Somebody thought you would be happy to have a new friend."
What should I do if my child wants to add me on social media (Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, etc.)?
To respect our relationship with the DOE concerning child safety, please do not add your Common Grace child on social media (even if they add you). Instead, you can say something like this: "I would rather spend time with you in person. Do you have my phone number? You can always call me if you want to talk," but make sure you have an ok with their parents/guardians first.
What if my question is not among the FAQs?
You can reference the Code of Graceful Conduct in your training manual or just call us at the Common Grace office at 808-783-1097.