Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wanted: Heroes for Kids

One hundred boys and girls are looking for heroes. These children have been referred to Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS), a mentoring program sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. For over 30 years, VIPS has screened trained and supported caring men and women who are positive role models and dedicated mentors to Bergen County children who have experienced abuse, neglect and/or social isolation.

The next 6-week VIPS mentor training program begins on Wednesday, January 13, 2010. Each Wednesday session is held from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the Volunteer Center, 64 Passaic Street in Hackensack.

“There are not nearly enough people enrolled thus far," says Faith Samples-Smart, VIPS Program Director. “There is an especially great need for men to mentor the boys, and for bi-lingual Spanish speaking mentors of both sexes."

The, 15-hour VIPS mentor training is provided at no charge and covers such topics as developing good listening and communication skills, working through challenges, understanding and recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect, the role of the mentor, the matching process and the ongoing support that is provided by staff after the mentor is matched with a child. Applicants are asked to supply references and undergo a fingerprint and background check.

For more information about the VIPS program, contact Eva Tobias at (201) 489-9454 Ext. 121, or visit and click on mentoring programs.

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