HOW TO MENTOR AN INMATE
A Mentor is the "Hopemeister."
Upon entering a jail or prison to visit an inmate, prepare yourself. Abraham Lincoln is a good example of preparation: "“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” You need to spend some time filling yourself with hope so you can dispense hope. For a 2 hour prison visit, spend 4 hours filling up your hope tank. Read stories about hope and perseverance, soak up hope in any way you can.
Most prisoners will have a lot to say. They will lament about loneliness and spending another birthday or Christmas behind bars away from their family. They may express regret over the past. Let them talk and listen with your eyes and your heart. Let them know you air listening empathetically.
A farmer breaks the ground before he can plant a seed. He let's go of the seed. He builds a silo to hold a crop that is not yet grown. The farmer does not control the sun or rain that will help his crop grow. A prisoner needs something to believe in. Everyday is a new planting opportunity. Everyday has brokenness. Your words of hope become seeds in the broken heart of the inmate. Let them know that they are valued and loved unconditionally. Help them plan a future that contains a purpose - WE ALL HAVE A PURPOSE!
Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.