Monday, October 29, 2007

What can you do to help? Become a Mentor!

Successful mentoring programs are all about children and their mentors doing things together that they both like –having a good time as they build a relationship. We provide individualized match support that increases the probability that the matches will strengthen over time and last more than a year – sometimes for a lifetime.

The purpose of New York State’s ‘Children of Promise’ program is to create quality, lasting, one-on-one relationships that provide young people with caring role models for future success. In collaboration with networks of public and private entities, Big Brothers Big Sisters will match children, ages four to eighteen, who have an incarcerated parent with a screened and trained adult volunteer for a one-on-one (one adult matched with one youth) mentoring relationship.

What does a mentor do?

Caring adult mentors interact with mentees on a regular and consistent basis to provide support, encouragement, and advice. They provide opportunities for mentees to gain new skills and interests and expand their experiences beyond their families, schools, and neighborhoods. Successful mentors do not try to take the role of parent or teacher, but act as a trusted friend, guide, and role model for mentees.

Across the State, BBBS staff will recruit, screen, and train volunteer mentors; identify and recruit eligible children of prisoners; and match each mentor with a mentee based on the interests and preferences of the mentor, mentee, and caregiver(s).

What does Big Brothers Big Sisters do to support the mentor and mentee?

The benefit of a mentoring relationship accrues when that relationship lasts longer than one year, so staff will monitor and support these relationships to ensure that the needs and expectations of the mentor, the mentee, and the mentee's caregiver(s) are met and matches continue successfully. Staff will provide orientation, make suggestions and share tips, and help make sense out of issues that might arise.

If you or your organization would like to learn more about what it takes to be a mentor, call 1-888-230-7701.

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