I had a mentor all through high school. He was a youth leader at my church and was one of the most impactful people in my life. This is my driving passion for building the mentorship program.
I mentored a student for three years when I lived at the Parks apartment - located off of Fruit and Ashlan. When I first met him, he was a kid who didn’t listen to us at our after school program, talked about what gangs he wanted to join, had multiple girlfriends, and didn’t have good grades. I saw that he was just a kid who was hurt, had grown up poor, had never met his dad, and was just trying to fit in with the culture around him. After three years of mentorship, he was a leader in our after school program who listened and invited his friends, talking about what he could do with a master’s degree or bachelor's degree, had one girlfriend, and had good grades - he even became the president of a club he was in at school and was on the news for it. It wasn’t anything special: I just took the time to hang with him, talk to him, meet his family, do fun things like go eat or go to the movies, and showed that I care. The special thing was that I chose him and he kind of chose me, and that I was present and consistent in his life.
When I got hired on April 1, 2019, we had 5 people mentoring students. Our goal was to have 30 mentors by December 2018. Our December 2019 goal was 45 mentors and I am excited to say that we reached that goal. We built the program from the ground up and we continue to grow.
Mentors commit to mentoring a student for a year, spending four hours a month hanging with them, at least twice a month. They focus on three areas which are career/education, personal development, and healthy relationships. The only reporting they do is monthly reflections that include how many hours they did, what they did that month, anything they learned, and if they have questions/concerns about anything. They go through an online training which takes 1-2 hours, an in person training, are background checked, and then connected with a site where they meet the kids and find which youth they want to mentor. Each parent also goes through an hour orientation where they can ask questions about the program.
We would love to help you build a mentorship program of your own and/or get you connected and mentoring with us.
There are still youth who want mentors. Our goal is to find a mentor for every youth who wants one. Partner with us, give up four hours a month, and mentor a student.