Proceedings of The 3rd International Conference on Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
I-Mentors’ Training Program of the ‘UMBRELLA’ Project
Ioannis Ioannidis, Eleftheria Taousani, Iraklis Grigoropoulos, Ilias Nitsos,Chistina Megalonidou and Zoi Tziortzioti
The project “UMBRELLA”, partially funded by EU (Operational Programme – Human Resources Development, Education & Lifelong Learning), aimed at providing the necessary psychological support and counseling, especially to disadvantaged students, towards the completion of their studies. To this end, a network of academic experts were asked to select and train the iMentors, who were students in International Hellenic University (IHU) (Greece) and willing to support and help their counterparts. The main idea of iMentors network was to held upon its person-centered character, that facilitates the direct student-to-student communication, without the intervention of the teaching staff. The purpose of this study was to present the philosophy and the training program of i-Mentors network. The volunteers who enrolled in the consulting structure ‘UMBRELLA’ were trained by experts prior to initiating the support of vulnerable and at-risk students. The main themes and topics of the i-Mentors training seminars were: self-management of personal time, goal setting, practical solutions and skills related to self-improvement, coping with procrastination, effective counseling, basic communication skills, active listening, empathy, verbal and non-verbal ways of communication, etc. The importance of the existence of an i-Mentor support model allowed the development of an individualized support approach. The personal communication of the i-Mentors with their protegee students and the ability of an i-Mentor to understand the personality, the specific needs, the abilities and the skills of the vulnerable students, allowed the provision of targeted support that cannot be achieved through the traditional or non-individualized counseling services.
keywords: Higher education, support programme, volunteers, training program.