Through The Matthews House Mentor Program, we pair youth with adult volunteers in our community to establish mentor-mentee relationships. The purpose of our Mentor Program is to provide additional supports to at-risk youth to help them improve social and emotional development. Mentors provide youth with positive experiences to build strong relationships and instill confidence. This can look like anything from playing board games or going on a bike ride together, to going deep and talking through issues and advice.
All young people need caring adults in their lives. Many youth we work with haven’t experienced healthy or positive adult relationships. While parental support is also crucial, mentors can provide extra relational support as well as guidance on issues that youth might not feel comfortable discussing with their parents because of strained relationships or distrust. With caring, positive role models, youth can learn how to navigate tough decisions and make smart choices leading to a more successful and full adult life.
One of The Matthews House volunteer mentors is Jef. When working with his mentee, Jef understood that in order to build a meaningful relationship, he needed to identify common interests. The youth he works with loves gaming, software development, and any project that involves problem solving, such as riddles or puzzles. For his mentee’s birthday, Jef decided to set up a trip to an escape room and invited other staff from The Matthews House to help him and his youth crack the code. Five staff members happily agreed to spend their time outside of work with this young man. They had a great time and went out for dinner afterwards. This is an example of how experiences with mentors can show youth that adults in their life care about them and take interest in their lives.
The longer the mentoring relationship, whether official and organized or not, the better the outcome. By inviting natural relationships into the mentoring, adults are able to get to know their youth and the youth are able to see healthy adult friendships in action. The foundation of mentoring is to provide care and guidance to young people, enabling them to be successful in their lives. It promotes positive social attitudes and relationships.
We’re always looking for adults interested in mentoring our youth! Through The Matthews House, a volunteer mentorship is a six-month commitment and requires our normal application, interview, and appropriate background checks. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator for more information!