We are joining hands with parents who have children in the black community to give them this message- we are providing them with the village to help raise their children.
Our "Mentorship Program" is the cornerstone of our organization. It encompasses traditional mentee/mentor elements, along with groundbreaking components. We effectively expand the parental role by surrounding young people in the black community with a full-time, hedge of protection, love and support -- from the time they wake up, until they go to bed.
In order for our young to truly learn, prosper and grow, they must feel safe in their community. Therefore, ABC Foundation mentor program offers four "levels" of involvement. Whether it's 5 minutes a week, or 40 hours a week we have a level that fits your schedule.
Simple things we do as adults can have a powerful and positive effect on a young life. Ten minutes of your time a week may save a young life. Your time will help build a better black community for next generation.
As noted, we understand that lots of caring individuals want to give back and help the community, but simply do not have the time to commit to a traditional mentoring program due to a hectic work schedule, or other necessary commitments. ABC Mentorship program is comprised of 4 levels:
"Level 1" Mentor Program requires a minimum of 5 minutes of your time a week. The program is simple: You log-on to any of your internet connected devices (phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop) for a few minutes each week, and give advice to a young person and/or answer questions they may have about a particular occupation, or life problem that you have experience with.
"Level 2" Mentor Program was created with the caring but extremely time pressed person in mind. This level requires a minimum of one hour a week giving youth advice and answering their questions online, with the commitment to meet once a month with one youth a month in person in our program offices, or at their home.
"Level 3" Mentor Program is a traditional mentor level of commitment. You either be assigned a mentee or the mentor will choose their mentor. ABC Foundation will give you all the tools and guidance you need to be an effective mentor in the life of a child, this includes topics to discuss, suggested activities, events and organized field trips. There's online engagement, and our office will be open for scheduled meetings.
"Level 4" Mentor Program (or "Mentor Army" as we call it), is a new intense mentoring model, where the mentor works with assigned youth on a full time basis -- augmenting or shadowing the parent(s). You'll effectively be a child's parent or guardian outside of their household in the streets, which is the toughest yet missing and needed component of all. Together with the parent(s) we will access the child's needs and challenges, and design a specific game plan to essentially surround him/her with a blanket a love and protection. This may even require walking a child to and/or from school, or even to the mall or the corner store. The goal is to let the child and the neighborhood know will have protection around him or her -- and that they are safe to learn, grow, and be successful. Mentors on this level have to eat, live, be successful, and grow themselves as well. For this reason, our "Level 4" Mentors will be offered pay and benefits -- along with an opportunity to receive ownership in the for-profit businesses that our sister, for-profit organization, ABC Real Estate & Business Development.
We will work with the individuals, groups, and organizations such as:
- Local community programs
- Youth leaders
- Juvenile courts and detention centers
to make our mentor program mandatory for youth living starting with Long Beach.
We will also market directly to displaced or disenfranchised youth, providing strong incentives (educational grants, training, job placement, & housing) for them to sign up voluntarily.
We will work with the same individuals, groups, and organizations above to recruit caring mentors. We will also market directly to black professionals online and offline, encouraging them to join the team and help make a difference. See below for our specific screening process for mentors to ensure that they are properly qualified and equipped.
We're Using the Best Partners & Program Practices ...
To ensure the best service and have the maximum positive effect in the community, we're partnering with "MENTOR", a well established, "National Mentoring Partnership". This is an alliance with between many mentoring organizations across the United States. Please read information below and on the "MENTOR" website at www.mentoring.org for more information on our mentoring format, recruitment, screening/background checks, training, administration, and program controls.
Preliminary research suggests that there are substantial differences in the success of mentoring programs based on the length of the relationship, the needs of the mentee, the frequency of the interaction, the quality of the relationship between mentor and mentee, and the organization and structure of the program. Successful mentoring programs relies on the balance of the mentor-mentee relationship and the structure and organization of the mentoring program as a whole.
Successful mentoring programs
- Target youth that will benefit most from mentoring, namely those most at risk
- Have clearly defined and articulated goals and expectations
- Include a level of flexibility that accommodates the diverse personalities and needs of mentors and mentees
- Have mentors with previous relevant experience in helping others and who are committed to at least 12 months of participation
- Incorporate activities that facilitate relationship building
- Supportive and involve parents and families
- Collaborate with other services and supports as needed
- Careful matching between mentors with mentee's
- Training for mentors both before and after they are matched with youth
- Rigorous and reliable screening practices for mentors in order to protect children
- Consistent support including early problem detection to ensure that needs of mentee's are being met
- Concerns are being addressed effectively
- Regular evaluation and monitor program implementation and youth and mentor outcomes and change when necessary
Specifically, MENTOR (2009) provides the following guidelines that they have found to be essential elements of strong mentoring programs:
Recruit appropriate mentors and mentees and ensure clear expectations for the program. Because mentoring relationships can vary with the type of program, it is important that both mentors and mentees have a clear understanding of the program’s expectations. For mentors it is important that they have a realistic expectation of the benefits and challenges associated with mentoring. It is also important that the needs of the youth recruited for the program match the services that the program can provide. Eliminating mismatches between mentor and mentee expectations can help diminish the chance that the mentoring relationship ends prematurely, and ensure that it is a positive experience for both the mentor and the mentee.
Conduct reasonably intensive screening of potential mentors. MENTOR suggests that the screening process include an application, time commitment of at least one year and one face-to-face meeting per week, a face-to-face interview, a reference check, and a criminal background check. MENTOR also suggests that mentees should be screened. This includes parents or guardians filling out an application, providing consent, and committing to participate in the program for at least a year through the schedule designed by the program.
Provide at minimum two hours of training prior to the match. At a minimum, trainings should include the following topics:
- Program rules
- Mentors’ goals and expectations for the mentor/mentee relationship
- Mentors’ obligations and appropriate roles
- Relationship development and maintenance
- Ethical issues that may arise related to the mentoring relationship
- Effective closure of the mentoring relationship
- Sources of assistance available to support mentors
Research on mentors participating in BBBS showed that mentors receiving less training prior to being matched with their mentee, specifically less than two hours, had less positive mentoring relationships. These mentors reported that they did not feel as close with their mentees, spent less time with them, and were less likely to continue the relationship the following year compared to mentors who had received two or more hours of training prior to beginning the mentorship. (Herrera, Sipe, & McClanahan, 2000).
Make matches based to encourage sustained relationships. MENTOR suggests that characteristics of the mentor-mentee should be considered during the matching process.
Offer continuous support and training to mentors that extends post-match. While initial training can be helpful for mentors, continuous ongoing support is also essential. MENTOR suggests that programs contact mentors and mentees at least twice a month during the initial month of the relationship and at least monthly after that. Programs should also provide mentors with resources such as experts, publications, connections with experienced mentors, and social service referrals to help address challenges that they may face during the mentoring relationship, and at least one or more opportunities for training following the initial training. MENTOR also suggests using evidence-based evaluations and assessments to assess the relationship.
Though practice and research suggest some best practices for mentoring programs, it is important to recognize that the needs children and youth face are unique to their circumstances. Programs designed for them are most effective when the needs of the mentees are taken into account and factor into the structure of the program and the pairing of mentors and mentees.
-- Source, MENTOR, the National Mentor Partnership