YWCA – Cortland Community Mentors

Posted by  //  February 20, 2012  //  Local Business

In Cortland, there are three organized mentoring programs: YWCA Bridges for Kids, Youth Assist Program of Family Counseling Services, and the Peer Mentoring Program through Access to Independence. Currently, these three agencies have over one hundred adults mentoring in our community. The reality, however, is that there are a hundred more children and young adults waiting for a mentor of their own. In an effort to recruit and train more mentors, these three mentoring programs collaborated to form Cortland Community Mentors.

Our agencies are often asked, “What is a mentor and what does that entail?” A mentor is a guide, a trusted friend, a positive role model, and a good listener. Mentors can show an individual that, no matter how difficult things get at times, there is always someone there for them, someone who will listen objectively and help put things back into perspective.

It has been shown that individuals who have a mentor are far less likely to partake in high-risk behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use. Mentored children have better school attendance and tend to graduate from high school. To some extent, this is common sense- if someone shows they care about you, meets with you regularly, has an open mind and heart, listens to your concerns, offers suggestions and guidance, then your self confidence and self esteem are raised. You are going to be less likely to get involved with risky behaviors when you feel valued as a person.

To become a mentor, interested adults complete our new application form available from the YWCA, Family Counseling Services, or Access to Independence. References and backgrounds are checked. After an interview with the particular agency, a 2-hour training is required. Once matched with a child or young adult, the mentor will have the support of the program directors for additional opportunities to meet with other mentors and to gain new information.
So, spread the word…. Community mentors are needed! We have individuals in the city as well as rural areas. There is an enormous need for males as so many boys are growing up without a positive adult role model. You know it in your heart; it only makes sense- Mentoring Matters.

Sara Earl, Program Director
Bridges for Kids
YWCA of Cortland

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