Mentorship

Get a Mentor

Would you like to have support from a mentor to accomplish your goals?

Volunteer to Be a Mentor

Would you like to help others achieve their goals and dreams? 

Minority Contractor Mentorship

Learn how we are helping contractors in Asheville's African-American community

Hear about our Contractor Mentorship Program

Want to Be Mentored? Start Here...

What is a Mentor?

The role of a Sphere mentor is to get to know you, to ask questions, and to offer guidance for possible “next steps” toward a chosen field of interest or endeavor. Our mentors will have a broad range of life and professional experience; they also tend to have expertise in one or two specific areas. Mentors help you accomplish your goals by providing supportive feedback, by being a “sounding board” for plans and for any concerns that may arise, and by facilitating learning pathways. They can also offer concrete suggestions for research, inquiry, or actions that keep you on track and moving forward.  

How does Sphere Mentorship work?

After an initial session, which could be up to two hours in length, mentors will meet with participants a minimum of 30 minutes (maximum 60 minutes), one time per week. Sphere uses a 3-Phase Program to help participants accomplish their goals efficiently and effectively. 

  • In Phase 1, mentors help participants identify and get clear on goals, and establish a learning plan,
     
  • In Phase 2, mentors guide participants to acquire the tools and skills that are needed to meet the goal, and

  • In Phase 3, a participant puts their newly acquired knowledge and skill into practice through a real-life project,  designed in conjunction with and overseen by a mentor, or group of  mentors. 

We ensure competency by moving students to the next level only after they have demonstrated proficiency in certain skills or tasks. 

What is unique about Sphere Mentorship?

What makes Sphere's mentorship program unique is that our mentors oversee your entire learning experience, and work with you until you accomplish your goal. We believe that a strong primary mentor-mentee relationship over time delivers the best results and success. 

Who is eligible for Sphere Mentorship?

Sphere College Project offers mentorship services to adults 18+ from all walks of life. If you desire support in both personal and  professional enrichment and are looking to move forward in an area of your life, you may be a perfect fit. Consider mentorship if you are:  

  • currently enrolled in college or other learning programs and desire assistance in accomplishing academic, career, or social goals;
  • contemplating a life transition, such as a new career or vocation, pursuit of a new skill, hobby or endeavor, or a geographic change; or,
  • uncertain about what you wish to do next in life, and looking for some guidance in discovering next steps.

What does Sphere Mentorship cost?

Each participant contributes an appropriate amount of time, money, and/or expertise, which is discussed at enrollment. The purpose of our payment structure is to make learning a joyful experience, from start to goal satisfaction; no one should have to end their learning experience because of a lack of money. We would be delighted to discuss how we can help you fulfill your goals in meaningful ways.  

What can I expect from Mentorship?

Every person gets something different from mentorship. These are some of the outcomes people have shared with us:  

  • learning and comprehension of new topics and subjects
  • better understanding of how to navigate the learning experience
  • less stressful, more in-depth learning
  • an improved likelihood of achieving goals
  • increased awareness in many areas of life
  • the development of appropriate and helpful support networks
  • a boost in self-esteem and confidence
  • enhanced collaboration skills
  • growth in and enhancement of problem-solving skills

Become a Sphere Mentor

Why Mentorship-based education?

Sphere College Project is an exciting new learning paradigm centered on high-quality mentorship. We believe that trusting relationships are at the heart of positive learning experiences, and that adults are better able to thrive in a welcoming, friendly environment that focuses on an individual’s talents and gifts. High quality mentorship inspires confidence, and causes adults to want to learn. Mentees also integrate learning at deeper levels, as mentors work to create a safe space that reinforces the importance of competency, and moving at ones ideal rate of learning, in success.  

What are the qualities of a Sphere Mentor?

The primary qualities of a Sphere Mentors is someone who cares…deeply about self, other and the interconnected nature of all. With this understanding comes the great responsibility of quality communication and action. In addition, we are seeking individuals who:

  • are passionate about helping others
  • appreciate the benefits of collaboration
  • listen well and are proficient, balanced communicators
  • have the ability to inspire mentee creativity and a high level of care for self and others
  • are enthusiastic about participating in the evolution of Sphere’s mentorship practices
  • are well-rounded, bringing a broad range of knowledge and experience.  

What are the requirements for becoming a Sphere Mentor?

We desire a minimum commitment of up to one hour per week per mentee, with an investment of two hours in the initial intake meeting. Some mentees may require more than one hour/week.

Compensation

Until the time at which we receive funding, we are only able to accept volunteer mentors. Our vision for the future is that mentors are paid on a sliding scale up to $60 per hour based on experience and need. Sphere College Project is a non-profit organization with the mission of providing innovative, high-quality education to any adult, regardless of means. Because of our social orientation, we aim to run with a generous but lean budget to ensure that we are serving as many in the community as possible.   

Minority Contractor Mentorship

Beginning on January 3, 2017 Sphere College Project launched a mentorship program for African-American contractors in the Asheville  area for the purposes of helping them achieve their DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) certification from the NC Department of Transportation, as a first step toward sustained development and growth. 

Background

DBE certification is a rigorous undertaking of paperwork and pre-qualification, including a field visit from North Carolina’s Department of Transportation. It provides two critical advantages to minority contractors: 


1. It establishes credibility for a contractor:  Contractors who are DBE/DOT certified are taken more seriously and viewed more favorably in the industry, because their competency is affirmed by the Department of Transportation. 


2. Guarantees greater access to federally funded contracts as well as other opportunities. Congress initiated the DBE program after learning that discrimination and related barriers pose significant obstacles for minority and women-owned businesses seeking federally-assisted surface transportation work. The program has been reauthorized by Congress several times since its inception, and provides that at least 10% of monies for federally funded projects be expended with DBEs. 


However, with few active DBE-certified contractors in the Asheville community, the majority of available contracts are awarded to businesses outside of  Asheville. This not only increases construction costs but also denies local workers much needed income. 

Why the African-American Community?

Asheville’s African-American community is currently in great need of support for economic development and mobility through reliable pathways. For years, urban development has negatively impacted many in this  community. Helping contractors in the African-American community become viable, long-term employers will aid in increasing economic mobility as well as overall economic growth in the community – the single most important factors impacting poverty. Presently, there are no comprehensive programs in place that develop African-American contractors who wish to grow an already existing business, or become business owners. 

The Plan

There are services in any community that can benefit minority businesses; however, many individuals are not able to access them for meaningful outcomes. Sphere endeavors to bridge the gap between individuals and pertinent services, but to also provide personal and professional skills development through mentorship until a goal is satisfied. Mentorship provides a stabilizing force as well as guidance, support and encouragement to ensure successful outcomes. 

Results

As of September 2017, Sphere has assisted three contractors through the NC-DOT/DBE  paperwork process, and two have been certified. Beyond this, we aim to continue to provide development in essential skills  (communication, market research, critical thinking, and more) and critical vocational skills, such as navigating bid platforms, estimating, submitting bids, networking, and human relations – all of which are required to succeed  in a contracting business. We are doing this in conjunction with Asheville's United Community Development, a non-profit located in the south side.

Help us Reach Our Goal!

Over the next 5-10 years, nearly $3 billion will be spent on construction services in Asheville. The potential economic impact to Asheville’s African American community is significant. Because of our desire to have an immediate impact on the situation, we implemented a no-fee program, so that there were no barriers to  participation for contractors. We need funding in order to continue this program, and to provide these vital services to this community. 

We cannot do this work without your support...