Community Helping Adolescents Cope Effectively
Through our 1:1 mentoring program, the Youth Diversion Program matches adult volunteers with promising youth. The youth will be matched with a mentor for a minimum period of six months. The Youth and mentor will meet once a week for a minimum of 2-3 hours each time. Throughout the match the understanding is that the youth will be committed to achieving their goals set by themselves and the Program Coordinator.
What is CHANCE Mentoring?
Mentoring is the process of encouraging, teaching, sponsoring, and guiding the development of another individual. It involves a special bond of mutual commitment. Mentoring is an experience that rewards individuals with increased self-esteem, increased opportunity, increased respect for oneself and others, and a new outlook on life events. Mentoring is a relationship, a process of working together to achieve agreed upon goals.
Mentoring is not meant to "solve" all the problems of adolescence. There are many situations where mentoring through the Youth Diversion Program would not be appropriate. Some examples are:
- Where the youth has a history of sexual offending
- Where the youth refuses or indicates an unwillingness to participate
- Where staff believes the level of risk is better managed by professional support
- Where the safety of the mentor cannot be assured
- Where the parent of the youth is unwilling to consent or actively or passively undermines the mentor.
Youth can be referred by social workers, school personnel, mental health professionals, probation officers, other service providers, parents and youth self-referrals. Youth are referred as they may have experienced or have exposure to risk in their family, home, community and social environments. Without the proper support this could lead to educational failure, early school leaving, substance use or other challenging/concerning behaviours. Volunteers develop a therapeutic relationship with the youth in order to achieve goals established by the program and the referring agent. This is accomplished by engaging in a variety of social, recreational and educational activities.
What does a mentor do?
Mentors advise, coach, teach and model successful behaviours. These roles vary depending on the abilities of the mentors and the needs of the young person.
A mentor could help the young person to:
- Translate his/her life experience into learning opportunities.
- Improve academic skills by helping with school projects, homework or encouraging the young person to discover and use the resources within the community. Frequent visits to a College or University may also help youth to seek out goals that they may not have previously considered.
- Introduce the youth to the realities of the work place, work settings, appropriate work habits and attitudes (job shadowing).
- Help the youth to learn to apply what he/she is learning in school to everyday life.
- Broaden his/her knowledge by providing opportunities to explore new situations and new places or cultures.
- Assist the youth to identify with their community and learn to be of service to others
- Assist the youth to achieve success in school
- Develop in youth pro-social cognitive skills, and appropriate coping skills.
Successful mentoring depends on the volunteer achieving the following objectives:
- Establish a relationship based on mutual respect and trust.
- Provide opportunities and positive experiences through which the youth can explore interests and activities that are pro-social.
- Achieve the youth's specific goals established by the referring agent and the program coordinator.
- Model positive behaviours to the youth.
In most circumstances, the youth is living with his/her family. The role of the volunteer is to support the youth in their surroundings, and to assist them to deal with their day to day reality. The volunteer must work cooperatively with the family, and display respect to the youth's parents and siblings. Ideally, the volunteer will have a limited yet cordial relationship with other family members. The volunteer does not replace a family member but rather provides support for the youth in that family.