Discovery ChalleNGe Academy


Mentors Help Change Lives

If you have a desire to make a difference in the life of a youth, now may be the perfect time to apply to become a Discovery ChalleNGe Academy mentor. Mentorship is a vital component of our program. After Cadets complete the 22-week program, they are matched with a mentor for a year to ensure that the skills and positive momentum they have obtained in the program are being used in their daily lives. Our mentors listen, guide and connect our graduates with resources to help them maintain responsible behavior, continue their personal growth and transition into productive members of their community.

Learn more about mentoring below, or, if you are ready to learn more specifics about our mentorship program, explore here.

What is a Mentor?

A volunteer mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective volunteer mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee.

Good mentors have usually had successful careers or consistent employment and are:

  • Good listeners
  • Honest
  • Nonjudgmental
  • Able to network and find resources
  • Willing to devote time to developing others


The value of mentorship at Discovery ChalleNGe Academy

Matching the cadets with a caring, responsible volunteer mentor is the most critical component of the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy experience. The mentoring relationship begins in the Residential Phase, the first five-and-a-half months, and continues for a full year during the Post-Residential Phase of the program. Not only is mentoring important for the development of these young men and women, but it is essential for their continued success after the program.

The Cadets at our completely free voluntary program made a decision to improve their lives by obtaining their high school diploma and acquiring critical skills to navigate life and careers. Joining the program took courage and strength. Now they need your support and mentorship to continue the path to a better life.

Who is eligible to be a mentor?

Our students, many who have had difficult family situations, enjoyed being mentored by good role models. If you meet the following criteria, you are encouraged to apply. Note that if you have been convicted of a crime related to a sexual offense, or if you reside outside of DCA's service territory (Northern California), you are not eligible to apply to be a mentor.

We require mentors to be:

  • At least 25 years old
  • Employed, in school or retired
  • A good role model
  • Commit to the entire 17 ½ month program
  • Willing to work with youth who are experiencing a variety of life challenges
  • Willing to take and pass a Department of Justice background check
  • Complete Mentor Day orientation

What are the commitments?

Mentorship changes lives, but it takes time, and we want to ensure you understand and are willing to invest in this commitment. Mentors attend mentor training followed by 3 scheduled academy visits during the session.The length of the mentorship program is essentially a year and a half (17 ½ months). You will be paired with a Cadet during his or her Challenge Phase, and your mentorship will continue for a full year after the Cadet completes the program. Each mentor submits a monthly Post-Res Report for a 12 month period once a student exits the program.

Mentor Day

For mentors that have officially been matched


Thank you for considering becoming a mentor for the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy. DCA is a unique opportunity for a young person who is struggling in school. It truly is a second chance to turn a life around. A very critical component of this program is the involvement of mentors. When a candidate has a mentor who is committed to helping them succeed, he or she is much more likely to finish the program and return to his/her community as a productive citizen. Being a mentor is often life changing for opportunity for both participants.
Please complete this application, and our staff will contact you shortly.