top of page

Elevating Youth Mentorship: The Continuous Learning Approach

Passion and dedication are crucial ingredients for making a meaningful impact in the lives of young people. But, to really make mentorship work, it’s essential to keep expanding your skills and know-how. We recently caught up with Kerianne Baylor, Senior Program Manager at First Tech Fund, to discuss their team’s commitment to continuous learning. Discover how this approach equips their mentors with the skills to guide mentees with empathy and insight.  

Ongoing Growth, Ongoing Impact 

Whether you're a mentor, coach, or work with young people in any role, the benefits of mentorship training are boundless. Workshops and courses offer a wide range of opportunities for new and seasoned mentors alike. From setting goals with mentees to understanding teen mental health, there's always something new to learn.  Effective mentor training allows First Tech Fund to create a "holistic support system" for their students, Kerianne explains. By continually evolving their practices, they stay ahead of the curve, nurturing students' potential while addressing the unique challenges they face in today’s world.    

Fostering Understanding through Education 

Professional development in mentoring isn't just about honing skills; it's about gaining a deeper understanding of mentees' diverse needs and experiences. Equity-focused training, for instance, helps mentors build empathy and cultural competency while empowering programs to create more inclusive environments for the youth they serve (and those they currently don’t).

Kerianne highlights free resources like MENTOR New York’s Amplify Equity Toolkit for those who want to ensure their program design is “inclusive of students' life situations and the systemic barriers they've experienced.”

“We definitely point our mentors towards the resources that MENTOR New York offers,” Kerianne notes. “I think that has been really key for us in building a sense of cultural competence within our students, too. We have communities that are coming from a variety of different places ethnically and racially, so building those kinds of skills is really important.” 


Nurturing Collaboration and Community 

Now, let’s talk teamwork. Collaboration and shared experiences are vital for enhancing mentoring skills. Through interactive workshops, conferences, and learning groups, mentors and program staff can broaden their perspectives while connecting with a supportive community of peers.   

For Kerianne, digging into the Amplify Equity Toolkit with other youth professionals sparked meaningful conversations and took her learning to another level.

“It's one thing for me to connect online and watch a bunch of modules,” Kerianne says. “But to go along in a multi-tiered experience with other people… it makes you feel less alone that other people are working through these similar challenges and professional situations.”

Ultimately, collaboration allows mentoring programs to exchange best practices, tackle shared challenges, and collectively advocate for policy changes on a broader scale—strengthening the fabric of youth mentorship across New York State. 


As you gear up for your own mentoring journey (or keep the momentum going), let First Tech Fund be your inspiration. We've got your back every step of the way! Sign up for one of our free trainings, dive into mentoring resources, or, like Kerianne, join a learning cohort to explore the lessons in the Amplify Equity Toolkit. Together, let's create inclusive spaces where young people can thrive—and strive to be the best mentors we can be.   

Kerianne Baylor, Senio

Kerianne Baylor is Senior Program Manager at First Tech Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering low-income high school students in identifying, navigating, and attaining academic and professional opportunities. Kerianne approaches her work with empathy, collaboration, and big-picture thinking while simultaneously honing in on small—yet exceptionally important—details. She believes in the power of storytelling, educational access, and seeking daily personal growth adventures.


bottom of page