Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Local boys and girls are looking for heroes

For more than 30 years, the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s Mentoring Youth program has provided a lifeline of hope to boys and girls by matching them with trained mentors.  The mentors serve as positive role models; provide guidance, friendship and support, and advocate on behalf of children when necessary. 
The Mentoring Youth program recruits, trains and provides ongoing supervision to adult men and women who serve as mentors to youth age 5-18 confronting emotional or behavioral challenges.  The next  Mentoring Youth volunteer training program begins on Wednesday, April 17.  Training is held on Wednesdays  from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.
“The men and women with our Mentoring Youth program help kids who need someone they can trust, someone to show them they are not alone,” says Janet Sharma, Volunteer Center Executive Director.  “We especially need men to mentor boys and bi-lingual Spanish speaking mentors of both sexes.  And we need more volunteers to sign up!”
“These children are waiting for someone to believe in them, to encourage them and help them see a brighter future,” says Dr. Faith Samples-Smart, Mentoring Youth Program Director.  “We consider time spent with mentors as free time:  free of the challenges children confront in their daily environments at home and/or at school.  What a gift to have this respite and safe zone with a caring adult.”
Mentoring Youth volunteer training is provided at no charge and covers such topics as the benefits of mentoring for volunteers and children; child and adolescent development; understanding child maltreatment; effective listening and communication skills; building rapport and developing strong mentoring relationships; the role of the mentor; and the matching and closure process.  Applicants are required to undergo a comprehensive background check and must submit written letters of recommendation as part of the training course.
For more information about the Mentoring Youth program, contact Dr. Faith Samples-Smart at (201) 489-9454, ext. 115, or visit Mentoring Youth online here..

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