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Mentorship Program

SummerWorks Mentorship Curriculum

​The SummerWorks Mentorship Curriculum is designed to help guide mentorship relationships and meetings. This resource includes weekly discussion prompts, best practices, and icebreakers.

Overview of SummerWorks

The SummerWorks team would like to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation for your support of our mentorship matching program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have developed safe, alternative methods for our employers to be involved in virtual programming. It is part of our mission to create opportunities for young adults to explore career opportunities, build their professional networks, and develop essential skills. We are excited to announce that due to the overwhelming interest and support from our community, we plan to continue offering the mentorship component of SummerWorks moving forward.

In order to set you up for success, this document outlines suggestions for structuring your interactions with mentees in the form of activities, discussion questions, and talking points. Throughout this curriculum you will find a recap of topics covered in Mentor Orientation, such as the program structure, mentorship goals, staff support available to you, and more. In addition, we’ve outlined weekly suggested discussion prompts to help guide your mentorship meetings. Please note that this curriculum is meant to be a resource for you to consult as you wish; implementing these recommendations is up to your discretion, as you are experts!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email We greatly appreciate your generosity and participation; this program would not be possible without you!

Week 3 (week of June 28, 2021): Health and Wellness

Professional Development Topic: Post-Secondary Education

Icebreaker: When/where are you the most relaxed? If you have trouble coming up with something, what is something you do that makes you happy?


Potential Discussion Topics

Ideally, participants will complete this program with a solid idea of what it means to take care of their physical and mental well-being, not only in the workplace, but also in general.

  • Use this session to discuss the importance of wellness. Overall, conversations about health and wellness have increased. Normalizing that conversation—discussing one’s own wellness and what it means—not only de-stigmatizes struggles but also gives an opportunity to show vulnerability and build trust.

  • It may also be valuable to have a discussion about what the difference is between wellness and health. Specifically, it is possible to be well without being healthy; it is important to have an inclusive definition of wellness that does not exclude individuals with chronic health issues.

    • The World Health Organization (WHO) defines wellness as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.”

  • Managing health and wellness can be personal and vary widely between individuals. If you feel comfortable, share your own experiences and tips/strategies for managing your own health and wellness.

  • How does maintaining your wellness look different in different settings?

    • At school? At work?

    • With peers/friends? With family?

  • The Wellness Wheel from University of Michigan


Discussion Prompts

  • When I think of health and wellness I think about …

  • Health and wellness is important because…

  • I do_______when work/life begins to get overwhelming.

  • If you’re comfortable sharing, how do you typically cope with stress?

  • I make sure to do________in order to maintain wellness.

Week 4 (week of July 5, 2021): Program/Life Check In
Week 4

Professional Development Topic: Social Identities and the Workplace

Icebreaker: Describe a time when you received praise for your work. What in particular made it stand out from other positive feedback?


Potential Discussion Topics

Note for Mentors: All SummerWorks youth participants are required to create and edit a LinkedIn profile for themselves. You may want to ask your mentee how that is going and whether they need any guidance. The theme for next week’s mentorship meetings is “Building a Professional Online Presence,” and you can dig deeper then as well.

LinkedIn profiles are due on 7/28 or 7/30 (whichever day your mentee attends PD).

Now that we are at the halfway point, you may want to check in with your mentee on:

  • How is your mentee doing with the program? How is life in general?

    • It is a difficult time for everyone due to COVID-19, civil unrest, etc. If you feel comfortable, offering space to talk about those issues may be appreciated. You may also choose to share how you manage your well-being and stress.

    • Many of the young adults in SummerWorks care deeply about being involved in their community and engaging in advocacy efforts. It may be helpful to talk about the role of civic engagement (in all its forms) in creating social change. If mentors would like to discuss civic engagement, they can:

      • Talk about what civic engagement means to you. Ask your mentee how they engage with their community.

      • (If your mentee is eligible to vote) provide information on how to register. The Ginsberg Center at the University of Michigan has great resources about how to register to vote. Note that Michigan now has permanent absentee voting.

  • Discuss any concerns or other situations that may have come up in the midst of the program, and answer any questions that the participants have regarding professional development material. If your mentee has a summer internship, how has that been going?

  • Revisit the mentorship goals you set in your initial meeting together. Are you on track to meet your goals? If not, how can you redirect so you can meet them?

  • If your mentee is quiet, you can ask them questions about the material they have covered in Professional Development and other aspects of the program. You may also ask them what questions they have and what they want to learn more about.


Discussion Prompts

  • How are you doing?

  • How are you taking care of your mental health?

  • What is the most interesting thing you have learned so far in the program?

  • Which Professional Development session have you enjoyed the most? What did you enjoy about it?

  • What topic(s) from Professional Development do you still want to learn more about?

  • How do you feel about doing a job shadow / informational interview?

  • What questions or concerns do you have?

  • Is there anything that you learned about in Professional Development that you would like to discuss further?

Week 5 (week of July 12, 2021): Building a Professional Online Presence
Week 5

Professional Development Topic: Career Preparation

Icebreaker: What are the worst things to include on a professional profile? What are some things you’ve seen other people do that did not look professional?


Potential Discussion Topics

Use this session to provide some insight into how to build a professional online presence and why it is important.

  • Talk about what social media you use and ask your mentee which mediums they prefer. What are the differences between a “professional” profile and a “personal” one? What are the benefits of having a presence on LinkedIn versus other social media sites?

  • What do employers look for from someone’s online presence? This is a great opportunity to talk about how some potential employers look at candidates’ social media profiles to determine if they are a good fit for the job.

  • Discuss ways to maintain professionalism online. You may want to talk about the fact that nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet.

  • Provide the best practice of Googling yourself in incognito mode every few months to see what results come up. Making sure your name is not connected to anything unsavory is key in keeping your online persona professional.


Discussion Prompts

  • I look for___________when viewing someone’s professional profile.

  • This is how you get on LinkedIn. I include            on my LinkedIn profile.

  • I would expect to find___________in a personal profile.

  • I would expect to find___________in a professional profile.

  • I use my online presence to…

Week 6 (week of July 19, 2021): After High School and Beyond
Week 6

Professional Development Topic: Civic Engagement

Icebreaker: (tailor based on the age of mentee) What was your favorite song the year you graduated from high school and/or college? What is your mentee’s favorite song right now?


Potential Discussion Topics

Post-high school plans look different for everyone. This session is the time to talk about different options for youth after they graduate, or, for those who have graduated already, a time to reflect on their professional path thus far.

  • If you feel comfortable, share what it was like for you while you were trying to determine what to do after high school and/or college.

    • What decisions did you make?

    • How did your actions get you to where you are now?

  • Discuss the various factors that are important to consider when deciding on a postsecondary education program or plan.

    • You might discuss the college choice process or what engaging the workforce after high school is like. What factors did you consider when deciding what to do or where to go after high school (cost, degrees, campus diversity, etc.)?

  • Ask your mentee what their plans are once they graduate, if they are comfortable sharing. If your mentee has already graduated from high school, have a reflective conversation with them about the path they’ve taken and where they want to go.

  • For older youth, talk about how to conduct market research and why it is important to track industry trends and changes in job stability. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides these data.

  • Discuss the process of finding jobs based on your education. Help them identify job titles and tasks that may appeal to them.

    • What resources are available to your mentee to help them find a job?

    • Which transferable skills can they use across an array of industries?

    • How does one identify the professional growth opportunities they want to pursue, and how do they make sure that is part of the job they take?

    • Also, share that while it is ideal to go to school for the field you want to be in, it is always possible to change your career.

Tip: if your mentee is very unsure about what direction they want to go in, discuss their possibilities in terms of parallel plans. This will help them consider all possibilities and determine what path is really the best fit for them.


Discussion Prompts (tailor based on the age of your mentee)

  • After I graduated high school, I…

  • What do you know about college?

  • Have you received any help or resources regarding making a college choice?

  • What questions do you have about the college choice process?

  • I went about finding a job after high school by…

  • These are some things to keep in mind if you are looking for a job out of high school and/or college: .

  • Have you thought about plans after high school? If so, can you say more? If not, what do you already know?

  • I wish I knew_______after I graduated from high school.

  • My post-high school decisions did_________for me.

Week 7 (week of July 26, 2021): Workforce Advice
Week 7

Professional Development Topic: Job Shadow Day

Icebreaker: What is your dream job and why?


Potential Discussion Topics

  • Use this session to provide your expertise on how to thrive in the workplace and explore workplace values.

  • Remind your mentee that they now have a lot of knowledge about how to obtain a job. Now is the time to provide them with information about how to keep a job and succeed at it. Everyone is always learning!

    • You could discuss topics such as: networking, managing your manager, receiving and providing criticism/feedback, and more.

      • More advanced topics might include salary negotiation, asking for a promotion, etc.

    • One skill you may want to highlight is transferable skills. Many youth (and adults) struggle with this. Practice translating the tasks your mentee is doing (or has done) at work or school into skills to highlight on their resume.

  • You may want to discuss different workplace values and how they may change over time. What may be important to someone in their 20’s is likely going to be different from someone in their 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s.

    • The Work Values Inventory can be valuable for anyone to reflect on. Participants will have completed a similar assessment, and it may be a useful tool in guiding your conversation.

  • Provide career development resources:


Discussion Prompts

  • I maintain my network by…

  • The best way to manage your manager is to…

  • I look for________in my employees.

  • I provide feedback by….

  • I provide criticism by…

  • Have you thought about how you best receive criticism/feedback? How has it changed over time?

  • Have you thought about how you best communicate in general? What are your strengths and growth areas?

  • I prefer for my employees to do_________when communicating with me.

Week 8 (week of August 2, 2021): Program Reflection
Week 8

Professional Development Topic: Celebration

Icebreaker: What has been your favorite part of the program?


Potential Discussion Topics

This is the end! It is an opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments and debrief/reflect on the program.

  • Provide an opportunity to reflect on the summer and revisit your original goals for the mentor/mentee relationships.

    • Did you achieve your goals?

    • What have you gotten from meeting with one another?

    • In hindsight, is there anything you would have done differently?

  • Tie up any loose ends and make sure your mentee has their current questions answered.

  • Discuss next steps. It is up to your and your mentee’s discretion, but this is a good session to make plans on if/how to keep in touch after the program ends.


Discussion Prompts

  • What has been your favorite part of the program?

  • What have you learned that has stuck with you the most?

  • How can you implement that into your future plans?

  • What do you wish you could have done while in the program?

  • Are there any other resources I can provide you with?

  • What are your plans for the next year?

Resume Review
Explore & Discuss Core Values
Crafting a Vision Statement
Writing a Personal Statement
Asking for References and/or Letters of Recommendation

Additional Resources and Helpful Links

Additionl Resources and Helpful Link

Once again, thank you for becoming a SummerWorks mentor. Below is a list of helpful program documents and mentoring resources that you may want to reference throughout your time as a mentor. If you have any useful mentoring resources you’d like to see added to this section, please email us at


SummerWorks Documents



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