On behalf of the Board of Directors, the staff and most especially, the Mentors of the Bergen Volunteer Center, we want to thank BCB-Your Community Bank for establishing the BCB Community Bank Mentor Support Fund.
Bergen Mentors, which is both Mentoring Youth and Mentoring Moms does such outstanding work to support some of our most vulnerable neighbors. It is hard to describe the generosity of spirit Mentors bring to their mentees. For them to know that the Bergen Volunteer Center is now has a fund to help in an emergency and to provide more and more exciting strengthening activities to help build trust, friendship, joy and love is so comforting to those who already give so much of themselves.
In 2015, we used the BCB Community Back Mentor Support Fund in the following ways:
- To reimburse mentors for expenses they incurred meeting with their mentees. While many mentors never seek reimbursement, we are committee to having it available so that anyone with the will can be a mentor. With your support, we have increased the Mentoring reimbursement level to $35 a month.
- To help mentoring families in an emergency. We replaced a broken refrigerator and provide grocery store gift cards to restock it for a Mom in August. We purchased bunk beds for a family moving out of the shelter into their own apartment. When we discovered that some mentors were using their reimbursement money to buy groceries for their mentees, we started to keep grocery store gift cards on hand for that purpose.
These examples are extremely important; they give mentors peace of mind as they advise their mentees. However, the best part of your support is the number and variety of experiences we were able to organize for mentors and mentees and for mentoring Moms, their children and their mentor. These family strengthening activities are essential to building lasting relationships and lasting change in lives that have been fractured.
In 2015, Bergen Mentors organized the following activities:
- A trip to Gravity Vault for wall-climbing;
- A trip to the Bronx Zoo;
- A Thank You brunch for Mentoring Youth Mentors;
- A Mentoring Moms and Mentors Mother’s Day Brunch;
- The Bergen Mentors Picnic;
- A Halloween party;
- Two Holiday parties; and
- A trip to the Botanical Garden.
It is impossible to quantify the impact of your investment, except to say thank you and to show you the transformation and joy your generosity has created.