What is Youth Mentoring?
Youth Mentoring involves a partnership between a well-trained FIT team member and a youth with behavioral challenges. Through a dynamic process of role modeling, teaching and coaching, the youth is provided with the opportunity to learn, practice and master the necessary skills to improve functioning both as an individual as well as within relationships.
The program director meets with the youth, parents and family to assess problem areas and determine goals. This assessment process determines which mentor is most appropriately matched to the youth in question. This match is typically based on common interests between youth and mentor, the youth's specific needs and/or the specific attributes and abilities of a mentor.
A plan is developed and includes the number of hours to be spent between the youth and mentor each week. Typically, our mentors meet with youth for a minimum of 2 hours at a time and up to 5 times per week. During the initial phases of the mentoring process, there is an amplified need for higher frequency and longer duration of meetings. This will dissipate as skills are being developed and goals accomplished.
The mentoring process involves the development of a connection between the youth and mentor through regularly scheduled meeting times that include shared activities, discussions, direct teaching and coaching. This occurs mostly through a natural process of relating to one another. At times, however, it can and will involve the utilization of training worksheets specifically designed for each individual youth. A significant aspect of this process includes the youth participating in events or activities that have been challenging in the past. During the course of this process, the youth is provided with education and training prior to an event, coaching within the event, as well as feedback and training after the event.
A key component of this system is the efficient problem solving tool called ProbSolv™. This pared down template eases the process for more seasoned leaders to quickly identify the factors influencing the causes of a problem and the development of beneficial and sustainable solutions.
The ultimate goals of the mentoring process are to assist youth in developing the necessary confidence and competence to better manage their behavioral patterns and relationship dynamics. Understanding and overcoming both internal and external barriers will greatly improve a youth's ability to accomplish his or her goals. We believe that, in order to accomplish these goals, the 5 SKILLS OF SELF-LEADERSHIP presented in this program must be learned and consistently practiced.
Through the course of a mentoring relationship, our team members will be focused on assisting youth to balance both the expectations of their parents and their own personal goals. We will also focus our energy on improving and developing the following skills:
Effective communication skills
Problem solving skills
Effective conflict resolution skills
A balanced approach to activities and interests
The mentoring process generally provides both immediate and long-term benefits. Ultimately, our goal is for youth to seize every opportunity to learn, practice and refine their skills so as to confidently and competently navigate life's many challenges. Through our training process, you can expect each youth to gain the following improvements and benefits in his or her daily life:
Improved self worth
Improved self care
Increased perceived self-efficiency