Lead4Life: National Mentoring Month

CAP: Destiny and Ms. Jodi make crafts together at a mentor/mentee craft night. Craft nights are sponsored once a month through the program.

National Mentoring Month
by Angie St. Clair
Program Manager for the Lead4Life, Inc., Washington County Diversion Program Mentoring Initiative

January is National Mentoring Month and the Lead4Life, Inc. Mentoring Program is proud to be a primer option for Washington County volunteers interested in mentoring. Throughout January the Lead4Life, Inc. Mentoring Program has hosted events, engaged in community presentations and informed the public on social media and partner websites about the benefits and importance of mentoring at-risk youth. We are currently recruiting caring and responsible adults to mentor at-risk teens.
History of Mentoring:
A mentor is often defined as "a trusted counselor or guide" or "a wise, loyal advisor or coach." The action of mentoring itself is classified as one-to-one encouragement, advice, or then befriending of an individual. In Greek mythology Mentor was a figure in the Homer legend of the Trojan War. Mentor was responsible for the upbringing, education and the character shaping of the King of Ithaca's son, Telemachus, when he went off to war. Like Mentor, in the Homer epic, our mentors guide at-risk youth during critical transitions in their lives. Mentoring relationships are one of the most important a young adult can have. Historically professional mentoring relationships have been the precedence by which mentoring value has been determined. These relationships are established in scientific, medical, business and academic communities. Mentors have many names: teacher, sponsor, advisor, and role model. Mentors introduce their mentees to the social world, acquainting them with norms and mores, provide counsel, moral support and directions, and provide the mentee with examples of life virtues, achievements and examples of healthy lifestyle. D.J. Levinson wrote in 1978 "Seasons of a Man's Life" that the most critical function of the mentor is to support and facilitate, "the realization of the Dream." The mentor fosters the mentee's belief in him or herself. Mentors help youth define themselves and structure how to accomplish their dreams.
About the Lead4Life, Inc. Program:
The Washington County Diversion Program (WCDP) serves first time youthful offenders, Child In Need of Services (CINS), and its new addition of a mentoring initiative. The goal of the Diversion Program is to assist youth in a variety of positive decision-making such as increased school attendance, rejection of negative peer pressure and diverting youth from future contact with the Department of Juvenile Services. The Mentoring Initiative matches youth with caring and responsible individuals to engage in yearlong mentoring relationships. The initiative operates three types of mentoring programs: one-to-one, group and peer-to-peer. The at-risk youth who are referred for mentoring relationships are involved in the WCDP.
Adult mentors, those over 21 years of age, choose one-to-one or group mentoring. Our Mentor Interest Survey matches youth and mentors based on personal interests, personality type, geographic proximity and personal preferences. A peer-to-peer mentoring option is available for 16-21 year olds. They meet with their peer mentee at a public location such as a recreation center, club, library, school or one of our local partners. Peer mentors can receive student service learning (SSL) hours toward high school graduation requirements.
The mentoring program is set on national evidence based standards. All of our mentors and mentees, along with their parents, receive two hours of orientation training. They also receive additional in-service training through the course of their relationship. There are fun monthly activities that encourage relationship development and monthly case management from the Program Manager supports matches. If you would like to become a mentor call or email Angie St. Clair, 301-791-7314 or stclair@lead4lifeinc.org.
Website Options: "Like" our Facebook(r) Page @ Lead4Life, Inc. Washington County Diversion Program Mentoring Initiative, volunteerwashingtoncountymd.org, lead4lifeinc.org, www.nationalmentoringmonth.org, and md-mentor.com

Angie St. Clair is the Program Manager for the Lead4Life, Inc., Washington County Diversion Program Mentoring Initiative. For more information visit lead4lifeinc.org.