This guest post is courtesy of Emily Heaton, Highland Street Corps Ambassador of Mentoring at AFC Mentoring. Emily answered some questions from Mass Mentoring regarding her program and its National Mentoring Month events.
- What is your role at the organization? Please give us some information about your program.
- Why is mentoring important?
- What did your program do to celebrate National Mentoring Month?
- What was the response to the event?
- Did you do anything else for National Mentoring Month?
- How people can get in touch with your program for additional information?
[caption id="attachment_765" align="alignleft" width="100" caption="Emily Heaton, from AFC Mentoring"][/caption]I serve as the recruitment & outreach coordinator at AFC, as well as a Highland Street Corps Ambassador of Mentoring. Adoption & Foster Care (AFC) Mentoring is the only mentoring organization in Massachusetts that caters strictly to youth who have experience with foster care. AFC was founded in 2001 and continues to grow. We match youth who have experience with out-of-home care with caring adult mentors. Our average match length for one-to-one relationships is more than two years. We work to provide consistency in the lives of youth who are experiencing transition.
Mentoring at AFC is considered the best practice for reaching an incredibly poignant goal: to provide a consistent adult in the life of a youth in foster care. For many of the youth in our program, a mentor is the only stable relationship they have. Our goal is consistency - we provide stability in the face of chaos and transition. We provide a lasting friendship. We believe mentoring has the power to influence a young person’s life and to act as a preventative measure against the harsh realities for many youth with experience in foster care, including homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration. Working with an especially vulnerable and often overlooked population, mentoring at AFC is not just beneficial—it often provides youth with opportunities they otherwise would not have had, a person on whom they can depend, and a community in which they can participate and feel safe.
In honor of National Mentoring Month, AFC used its monthly survey (which goes out to mentors to collect valuable match information and data) to ask which three group events mentors would most likely participate in the following month. Mentors returned the survey and voted on an ice skating event. The mentors then received appreciation gift cards, purchased with the help of Mass Mentoring Partnership, to use on future match “dates” with their mentees. This gift card is meant to help offset the cost of regular mentoring activities.
I think this event has received a very positive response from mentors. More than half of our mentors returned the survey, and since many of our mentors spend money on match activities, I know the gift cards will prove to be useful and appreciated.
AFC participated in Youth Mentoring Day at the State House, and nominated BNY Mellon for the business category of the Ignite Award. AFC Staff participated that day by attending the program and meeting with our local legislators. An AFC match, mentor Justin Pasquariello and mentee Henry spoke at the Youth Mentoring Forum held by MMP. We have also distributed National Mentoring Month materials here at the office—potential mentors have received "Thank Your Mentor" postcards and NMM bookmarks.
Contact Emily Heaton, Emily@afcmentoring.net or 617-224-1302.