Mentoring Youth—a program of the Bergen Volunteer Center—is designed to provide our community’s most vulnerable children with a trusted adult committed to helping him/her take steps to achieve a brighter future. The program recruits, trains, supports and supervises mentors to ensure they have the tools necessary to positively impact the lives of children impacted by abuse, neglect or other trauma. Mentoring Youth also hosts an array of educational, social and cultural events/activities throughout the year to strengthen the mentoring relationship.
It is impossible to describe the important role mentors can play in the lives of children whose life circumstances may lead them to believe no one cares. As one mentee describes it, “[my mentor] saw potential in me, I never saw in myself.”
Who needs a Mentor?
The children in the Mentoring Youth program are some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Some have been abused or neglected, while others suffer from mental health issues, learning disabilities and/or social isolation. Despite these challenges, we recognize children are incredibly resilient, curious and trusting. They love new experiences and can benefit from having a friend they can count on in their lives.
There is a particularly high need for male and bi-lingual Spanish-speaking volunteers, though all are welcome.
Do I have what it takes to be a Mentor?
Do you know how to be a friend? Would you be proud to be a role model? Are you willing to let a child know how special he or she is? Then, you have what it takes to be a mentor.
Mentors are caring adult men and women who provide friendship, guidance and support to youth through twice monthly outings. Through consistent visits, support and encouragement, mentors help build a young person’s confidence and trust. Additionally, mentors help to promote personal growth, decision-making skills and goal-setting.
Most importantly, the talented staff of the Bergen Volunteer Center will be there to support you every step of the way. Program staff address your questions and provide advice and support to facilitate your mentoring match. You will also have the support of other mentors, some of whom have had multiple matches and/or been mentoring for extended periods of time.
What skills or training is needed to become a mentor?
All volunteers are provided with 7.5 hours of comprehensive training. Training sessions are mandatory and occur over three consecutive weeks during fall, winter and spring. Mentors must be at least 21 years old and must successfully complete a rigorous screening procedure for consideration. Written references, as well as fingerprint, background and motor vehicle checks are required.
What do mentors do?
After completion of training and screening, the volunteer mentor is matched with a youth. Mentors are asked to commit to bi-weekly visits with a youth for a period of 2 years. Once matched, the mentor and youth meet at mutually agreed upon times and enjoy social, educational and recreational activities together. Volunteers are reimbursed up to $35 per month for expenses incurred on behalf of the youth they are mentoring.
Interested in becoming a Mentoring Youth mentor?
Mentoring Youth holds mentor training sessions in fall, winter and spring.
Call 201- 489-9454, ext. 210 to find out more.
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