Become a Coach
What Does It Mean to Be a Mentor?
Your role as mentor consists of three main functions.
1. You are a special friend to the Partner Family.
You provide them with the emotional support and guidance they need throughout the Habitat process. This means finding out as much about the family as possible. Do you share any interests or hobbies? You are also there to listen to the problems—whether Habitat related or not. Families might have financial difficulties, personal difficulties or difficulty understanding or adjusting to being a Habitat Partner. You can help them with this.
2. Your second main function is to serve as a direct and supportive link between the family and Habitat.
A Coach can make sure that there is an open channel of communication between the Partner Family and Habitat. It is very important for Partner Families to understand and fulfill their Habitat Partner Agreement. The Partner Family Chair and the family’s Mentor welcomes the new family to Habitat. They present this agreement to the family, explain the agreement, has the family sign it , and returns the signed copy to the Habitat office. A copy of the agreement is left with the family for their records. The new Partner Family also receives a Handbook which helps explain the Habitat process and the Partner Family Agreement: however, there is often some confusion. When this happens, the mentor becomes the vital link between Habitat and the family. The Mentor clears up any further questions by answering them or finding the answers from a Habitat contact person. A new family relies on their coach for support and advice in completing the Habitat process. Sometimes families become frustrated or overwhelmed with the process. Keep them involved and encourage them to keep going! For example, every family must contribute 300 hours of sweat equity. A family might need some help scheduling time for sweat equity. You might be able to help them figure out a workable schedule. Your family may have special needs and may need to consider other forms of sweat equity to supplement construction. You and the Partner Family Chair would work with the family and Habitat fo find a solution. If the partner is having trouble making monthly payments, you might need to discuss a payment strategy with them. You are NOT expected to know the answers to all questions a Partner may have, nor are you expected to assist the family financially. Your responsibility is to work together with Habitat and your Partner Family to find solutions and answers.
3. Your third goal as a mentor is to help the Partner Family feel connected to the entire Habitat community.
Habitat is dedicated to building communities, not just individual homes. Individual Habitat partners will benefit from working with other Habitat Partner Families to address family and neighborhood concerns. As a mentor, you can help meet this goal by getting to know other Partner Families and by introducing the partners to each other. It is often difficult in the inner city for neighbors to get to know each other and form a strong, mutually supportive community. A high tenant turnover rate and the high crime rate can make residents fearful and suspicious of one another. Cultural and language differences contribute to the residents’ sense of isolation. Coaches and Partner Families can help each other overcome these barriers and can help develop a sense of community in Habitat neighborhoods. For example, Partner Families can help each other by organizing a neighborhood watch program, forming a child care cooperative or sharing skilled labor. One avenue for building a sense of community is Habitat events. In the summer the East Trenton Center hosts National Night Out where dinner is served to all residents in the East Trenton neighborhood. This is a great place to mingle with others in the neighborhood along with Habitat staff and the local police, fire departments and city council members. All are eager to listen to suggestions and ideas from the residents of the neighborhood. Ground breaking ceremonies and House dedications are another way to meet neighbors. As time goes on, more activities will be planned for the Habitat Families. B. Your Commitment as a Coach. 1. How much time does being a coach require? Being a coach is a long-term commitment. It is important to maintain a stable relationship between the Partner and Habitat. This is done through long term, stable and well-established Coaching relationships. It take time to get used to your family, for your family to get used to you, and to get to know all about Habitat. You should commit to coaching for at least one Try to reach out to your family at least once a month in addition to the education classes. These visits can vary greatly. Do what works best for both parties, but at least one phone call to see how things are going is needed to keep the lines of communication open. 2. How are coaches chosen? The Partner Family Committee match coaches with families based on the different needs and interests of each family such as native language, makeup of family, similar interests and hobbies, etc. Habitat makes the best possible matches. There is no specific time of year when Habitat recruits new coaches. New Partner families are approved throughout the year, so there is always a need for new coaches. 3. How are coaches trained? This source of training is this workshop and the manual provided. Both should answer many of the questions you may have about coaching. If you are uncertain about any aspect of coaching, contact Lacreda Riley at 609-393- 8009 X 226 or Chelsea Naylor at 609-393-8009 X 229. Both have been coaches and have experience with Habitat. Twice a year (or more often if needed) Habitat will offer a Coaches Workshop—an introductory program for new coaches.
Accountable to: Chair, Partner Family Committee
Description: The Partner Family Mentor, as a member of the Partner Family Committee, is committed to carrying out the stated purpose of the committee and Habitat for Humanity. The position’s primary importance is to support the homeowner family by empowering them through homeownership. The Mentor recognizes the family as part of God’s creation and relates to them holistically, respecting the values and individuality of each family member.
• Each volunteer Partner Family Mentor will attend a one-day training
• Ongoing training sessions will be provided as needed.
• Responsibilities begin when you are matched with a family and continue for at least one year or until the family has moved into their new home.
• Attend new partner family education classes with your family for 2 hours
• The Partner Family Mentor may choose to discontinue involvement after the family term is complete or to renew by asking to be matched with a
• Build a rapport with the family you have been assigned.
• Serve as a liaison between the family and Habitat to ensure that the family understands the requirements of becoming a Habitat homeowner such as sweat equity hours, down payment requirements, payment procedures,
• Attend the education classes with your family.
• Help partner family prepare for their house dedication and closing
• Search for opportunities to integrate the family into Habitat activities.
• Assist in media interviews. It is vitally important that the dignity and respect of the partner family be honored.
• Encourage your family to tap into appropriate community resources.
• Make at least two contacts per month—one for the education class and one other just to encourage, support, answer questions, or “prod” as • Provide help to the family in moving i.e. transferring utilities, obtaining homeowner insurance, and other important issues needed to be taken care of prior to moving into their new home.