I think I want to be an AMP mentor. What do I need to know and how do I apply?
How does AMP work?
AMP pairs autistic youth, ages 14 – 18, with autistic adult mentors (age 21 or older) who meet online once a week from October to May, offering opportunities for participants to build meaningful connections with one another.
What do mentors do?
Each mentor provides support for an autistic teen by meeting with them online once a week to hang out and talk, play games, and connect.
What does a virtual mentorship session look like and what happens during the session?
At each session, AMP mentors will join a Zoom meeting. The exact time and date of these meetings will be determined. You may be asked to arrive up to 30 minutes early so AMP staff can prepare you for meeting with your mentee, give you program updates, and any other support you might need. The mentoring session itself will last one hour.
The meetings are hosted by AMP staff and consist of about ten minutes of group welcome, announcements, and ideas for activities or topics mentors and mentees may want to engage in. Next, each mentor/mentee pair goes to an assigned breakout room to talk, play games and connect for the remainder of the hour. AMP staff check in with each mentor/mentee pair during their session together to see if anyone needs support. If you’re ever unsure of what to do with your mentee, AMP staff can help.
At the end of the session, everyone is alerted that it’s time to head back to the main room to fill out a short exit form so that AMP staff knows how your session went and can follow up on any questions or issues.
Who will I be matched with?
If you are selected, you will be matched with an autistic youth (age 14-18 at least 3 years younger than you) from the Twin Cities 7-county metropolitan area.
Will I be compensated for my time?
If you are selected to participate in the program, you will receive a small stipend for your time.
Why do participants have to be from the Twin Cities 7-county metro area?
AMP is a small organization that began offering an in-person program serving youth from a single high school in Bloomington, MN. During the pandemic, we pivoted to online programming with our Bloomington participants. We are now in the process of expanding to serve more young people. We are growing gradually by limiting the area we currently serve to the Twin Cities 7-county metropolitan area.
Why am I requested to participate in the research study and what will the research involve?
Our research partners from the University of Minnesota are collecting data to gauge the effectiveness of the program. Their findings will help us ensure we are effectively supporting our participants and guide us to future program improvements.
You will be interviewed by research staff and asked to fill out questionnaires about yourself before the program starts and at the end of the program. You will also be asked about your experience in AMP at the end of the program.
Why are you requiring proof of diagnosis?
The University of Minnesota research study requires proof of diagnosis. Once the study is complete, self-diagnosed autistics will be welcome to apply.
Am I eligible to be a mentor?
You can find the eligibility criteria for mentors here.
Are non-speaking mentors eligible?
Yes, we are excited about AAC users participating. Please reach out to us so we can discuss the most effective way to support your AAC use if you are chosen as a mentor.
How do I apply?
To apply to be a mentor, please fill out the mentor application.
How are mentors selected for the program?
Once you submit your application, our Program Coordinator will determine if you are eligible. If you are, they will send you a set of questions about your background, interests, etc. After you’ve submitted that material, they will contact you for a Zoom or phone interview to get to know you better.
The Program Coordinator also interviews all youth who apply to be mentees. The Coordinator will look for a match for each mentee based on personalities, interests, and needs. If you are a match, you will be asked to participate in the program.
NOTE: Before mentors can be matched with mentees, AMP runs background checks on all mentor applicants. We will provide you with more information about how this works during the application process.
What can I do if I’m not selected for this year’s program?
In rare cases, you might not be selected because you are not a good fit for the program. Most of the time the reason you’re not selected is because we don’t have a good match for you. In this case, you will be considered an alternate who may be asked if you’d like to fill in if a mentor needs to leave the program. If you are interested in being a mentor in a future program year, we can keep your application on file and you can re-apply without having to redo the entire application the following year. There may also be volunteer opportunities with AMP; let us know if you’re interested in volunteering!
What else do I need to know?
- Mentors are required to attend two 2 hour online training sessions that will take place in September before the program begins. There will also be a required training/reflection session midway through the program.
- Our autistic program consultants offer monthly “Mentor the Mentors” sessions, with topics ranging from Autism Self Advocacy to Managing Executive Function to Applying for Jobs. Occasionally, we may invite other guests from the autism community to present on different topics and take questions. All mentors are invited to attend!