Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with my mentee?

The possibilities of this ranges vastly. When it comes to ideas we have you covered! Head on over to our list of 100 Free Things to do in Dallas or our monthly calendar, here. Also, be on the look out for Mercy Street’s Monthly Events email that comes out twice a month.

Don’t overthink it. Don’t underestimate the community park, where you can take a walk or shoot some hoops. Get a feel for your mentee by actively engaging and observing them.  When we ask mentees what are their favorite moments with their mentors, the majority of students did not describe big, expensive events or places like 6 Flags – it was car rides and grocery store shopping. It was the daily life activities that they were able to share with their mentor.  

Keep this in mind if you feel anxious to perform. Your goal is not to “entertain” but to show up and be faithful.

Am I allowed to have my mentee spend the night?

In short, no. Please understand our heart behind this policy. At Mercy Street, we take our responsibility to care for children very seriously. These guidelines are intended to facilitate a safe and nurturing environment in which children can learn and grow in a strong spiritual environment.  

Although we see the benefit of extended time periods together, our number one priority is a child's safety. All of our mentors are interviewed and undergo a background check, however, we must take every precaution to protect vulnerable children.

Can I buy a present for my mentee?

YES! However, we ask that your spending does not exceed $25 for special occasions like Christmas or birthdays. This is to keep the relationship top priority and not allow material items, and incorrect assumptions or expectations, to get in the way of the mentoring relationship. Reach out to your Mentor Coordinator if you have a special idea or more questions about this.

What happens if my mentee’s family is in a tough situation and needs money or asks for financial help?

The best thing to share with a family is that “Mercy Street says that I can’t personally give you money, but I can mention it to them to see if there is anything that the organization can possibly do, or if there are other community partners that may be able to help.”

Again, make sure you reach out to your Mentor Coordinator if this happens and be prepared to listen to the mentee’s family. Be a compassionate witness to whatever is going on and listen well.

Can I drink in front of my mentee?

In accordance to Mercy Street’s guidelines, we do not take any Biblical issues with drinking in moderation without your mentee, but we do ask that you abstain from drinking alcohol or using any form of tobacco in your mentee’s presence. This, again, is for the protection of the child and to remain above reproach.

What if I hear something harmful is happening at home that could be considered child abuse/neglect?

In accordance to the Texas State Law, mentors, volunteers and staff must report any instance of child abuse or neglect. If you have any further questions, the best thing to do is to call your Mentor Coordinator. 

Can I travel alone in a car with my mentee?

Of course, we just ask that you transport your mentee directly to and from the destination. Be deliberate in your travel times for both accountability and your safety’s sake.

What ways are appropriate for me to show physical affection to my mentee?

Appropriate physical affection in the presence of others, such as high fives, side hugs, and fist bumps, are acceptable. Keep in mind some mentees may be uncomfortable with physical touch, so always aim on the safe side with this.

Can I be friends with my mentee on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc.?

In accordance to Mercy Street’s guidelines, we ask for no social media connection with minors.

How can I visit my mentee for lunch at school?

Each school is different, and we typically only have relationships with schools in West Dallas – which are DISD public schools – along with Uplift Heights Preparatory and West Dallas Community School. We are also building relationships with schools in Northeast Dallas.

Please bring a photo ID and ensure that you come 15 - 20 minutes ahead if they need you to sign-in or fill out any forms to get into the school. Contact your Mentor Coordinator or your mentee’s school to check the day/week of to make sure there aren't any state tests that could get in the way of a great visit! 

How can I get my mentee’s report card?

If your student goes to a school located in West Dallas or near The Hive apartments, reach out to your Mentor Coordinator who can get this for you! If your student is not in one of our partner schools, talk with their parent/guardian.  Most schools have an online “Parent Portal” type of login for viewing grades and attendance. 

How can I get my mentee to talk?

Unfortunately, there is no formula for getting your student to talk. However, there are ways to create space for your student to feel safe and secure.

  1. This part is for YOU - learn to be okay with silence and not filling the gaps. Sometimes silence is needed. Sometimes silence can mean safety and a lack of chaos; it isn't always bad. Often, we fill silence due to our discomfort, but be slow to speak in these moments. Silence is not inherently a bad thing.
  2.  Be mindful of the length of time that you have been with your mentee and remember that sometimes communication and trust simply takes time (months and sometimes years). Be patient, be consistent, be prayerful.
  3. There are some tactics to get conversations going that you can try. Ensure that questions are open-ended and cannot just be answered with "yes/no."  (i.e.: start questions with “tell me about…”). Playing games together can help create a stronger connection and also produce conversation. We also recommend making a list of questions to keep in your car and draw out of a plastic bag for car rides. Don’t expect all serious answers, and questions. Students need to laugh and trust their mentors and will do so likely before they share life experiences and insights about their life.

Check out this guide by Fuller Youth Institute on helpful tips for getting teen boys and girls to talk.

Can I hang with my mentee at Mercy Street?

Of course! We have our diner, a great library, board games, a basketball court, and a host of many other amenities. Be sure to check our hours of operation. Please note, there are times where Mercy Street may be open due to a special event. If this is something you are planning to do, it would be a good time to check in with your Mentor Coordinator to find out what may or may not be going on in the building at the time.

Can I take my mentee to church?

Yes, we would love for you to bond with your mentee via church. There are a couple of things to consider.

  1. If you attend a church where there is a separate kid’s ministry, it might not be wise to just drop them off and have minimal contact during a church service. If this is the case for you and your church, bring a friend of your mentee’s along. 
  2.  f the relationship is new, it is important to try and stick around West Dallas and maybe visit Mercy Street Church or another church in West Dallas.
When is Bible Study at Mercy Street for students?

Mercy Street Church is now operating our Bible Study for Mercy Street, Inc students. Here is the link to times and dates.

Can I come with my mentee to Bible Study?

YES! Always!

How am I supposed to balance my time between my mentee and life?

Being overwhelmed and feeling guilty is the #1 thing that the enemy tends to use directly against us as believers wanting to continue in a covenant relationship.  

  1. Communicate even if you can't be around. This includes, texting and calling. Simply communicate and let them know that they are on your mind and that you wish you could be around! This is huge. Not showing up can allow a mentee’s mind to wander and believe that you have left for good, when in reality you are simply finishing a major project at work, traveling or may have a loved one that is ill.
  2.  lso, if you are feeling overwhelmed, PLEASE share this information with your Mentor Coordinator. That is why they are there. It's entirely normal to feel this way, but it's also the number one tactic used by the enemy to destroy any semblance of a relationship.  
My mentee is looking for a job, any ideas?

Mercy Street has a great internship program in the summer! Applications come out early spring, so be sure to ask your Mentor Coordinator to see if your student qualifies to apply!   Additionally, McDonalds, Sonic, and Chick-Fil-A are local favorites for students to work at. However, it’s best for the student to work close, if they do not easily have transportation.

My mentee would like to go to a community college, are there any that you’d suggest?

It is exciting that your mentee would like to further their education! Here is a link to local Dallas Community Colleges to get them started.

Are there any activities or events that parents can be a part of?

Yes!  We offer a few events for the whole family throughout the year and also have specific parent events just for the parents/guardians of children through Mercy Street. These events are held to encourage and bless parents/guardians and to let them know they are not alone in their parenting journey.