Our institutional mentoring is very similar to our field mentoring. Once rapport is established in a group setting via our guest speaker/mentors we offer a signup sheet for any youth that would like to meet with the speaker/mentor on a one on one basis. From there an informal mentoring relationship is established within the institution and very often carries over into the field when the youth is released.
Every youth we mentor will either got through a goal setting workshop (as a group within the institution) or fill out the goal setting form with their individual mentor (one on one during re-entry). This goal setting form will be the compass that guides the relationship between the mentor & mentee. Again he mentor will play the role of a life coach helping the youth to accomplish each one of their positive goals.
We have several group motivational speakers with strong personal testimonies that we initially bring in to address the group. The reason for this is to establish and initial rapport with the youth so they are able to see that our mentors have been in their situations and beyond. This allows us a foundation for communication and an avenue to pass on positive messages that the youth might not otherwise pay attention to coming from someone who hasn’t “walked in their shoes”.
We have developed a 3 part victim’s awareness workshop facilitated by one of our senior mentors. It includes a introspective look into the youth’s life and family relations, then relates their personal relations to that of their victims. For example the youth has a brother, sister, mother, father et cetera, so did their victim. We attempt to allow the youth to put themselves in the victim’s shoes and understand how their actions have affected not only the victim but also the victim’s family and relations. We partner with several local victims groups juvenile crime to share their testimonies.
We have a specific career counselor at California State University Sacramento that volunteers her time to sit with our youth and create/fine tune their resumes.
We have established connections with several Sacramento Works Youth Coordinators that assist with not only resumes but also job search assistance, interview skills, and internship opportunities in vocational trades (Janitorial, Truck Driving et cetera.
We have established relationships with not only California State University but also the Los Rios Community Colleges to hand hold our youth in the college/financial aid enrollment process.
Our matching coordinator looks to match youth and mentor based on several specific factors, such as gender, race, and geographic location then finally by similar life experiences. Of course not all above listed criteria is always met as it is the matching coordinators intuitive discretion to perform matches based on the mentor/ mentees compatibility. The key is that all of our mentors have overcome their situations and are now productive and successful members of their community. The purpose and importance of having a mentor is to serve the youth with a positive role model/ life coach. Once officially matched our mentors and mentees agree to a 1 year commitment with 2 contacts per month, one of which needs to be face to face.
When I was young I was always a reachable kid. I just didn't have anybody that I really looked up to and respected enough to listen to...