January is National Mentoring Month, which means there’s no better time to become a mentor for someone in the Fairfax area. If you’ve always wanted to volunteer to become a mentor, here are some great places in need of supportive mentors.

Fairfax County Public Schools. Inspire children in the area by volunteering to become a mentor through the FCPS MentorWorks program. You can volunteer in a mentoring team of 10 volunteers to mentor 10 or more students from August/September to June. Mentoring takes place a minimum of 30 minutes per week on weekdays during the school day throughout the school year.

BeFriend-A-Child Program. For more than 40 years, this local organization has partnered local children who have been abused or neglected with professionally supported, caring adult mentors. If you become a mentor, you’ll take your mentee ice skating, hiking, to annual parties and to local celebrations in the Fairfax area. You’ll receive the proper training and preparation before being partnered with a child, and you’ll spend at least eight hours per month with your child.

Fairfax Families4Kids. Become a mentor for children in foster care with this impactful organization. You’ll act as a trusted role model. a reliable person to provide advice or assistance when needed and a link to the community for children in the foster care program. Mentors must be over 21 years old, able to make a two-year minimum commitment and complete 10 hours of training each year in order to maintain certification.

Tips for Being a Good Mentor 

Be reliable. Always be there when your mentee calls.

Be open-minded. Listen without judgement or anger.

Act as a positive role model. Share appropriate parts of your life with your mentee.

Be a happy, enjoyable part of your mentee’s life.

Ask questions. Encourage your mentee to share, but don’t get upset if he or she doesn’t.

Encourage your mentee to dream big and help him or her achieve those dreams.

Make the commitment. Many mentorship opportunities require a time commitment, so make sure that you can honor that commitment.