Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Volunteers Needed to Mentor Mothers and their Families

Make a difference in a family’s life!  Mentoring Moms, a program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, trains volunteers to work with mothers, who are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of children and life.  Winter training begins January 27.   When a parent is supported by a mentor, the entire family is helped, because mentors become important role models for the children, as well.
“It is so great to have a friend, someone I can really talk to!”  “I have learned so much about raising my son.”  “I feel better as a parent and a person since meeting my mentor.”  So say mothers working with volunteers from  Mentoring Moms.  The volunteer mentors are caring women who understand how hard it is to raise children and want to make life easier for other moms, who are often referred through community or child service agencies.    The mentors listen, share ideas and offer support as mothers deal with daily challenges or raising children.
Registration is now open for Mentoring Moms Winter training, which begins Monday, January 27  from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. Call (201) 489-9454, ext. 123 to learn how to become a Mentoring Moms volunteer.
“Mentors provide the needed support and resources that help strengthen a family”, says Cindy Andrake, program director of Mentoring Moms.  “We know that parents with a social network of emotionally supportive people in their lives find it easier to care for their children and themselves.  Most parents need someone they can call on when they need a sympathetic listener, some advice or ongoing support—our mentors fill that role.
There is an especially great need for bi-lingual Spanish speaking women to become mentors.
Volunteers are provided with a free four-session, 10-hour training program and ongoing support from program staff. During this time, the volunteers take workshops on developing listening skills, communication and problem solving. Guest speakers such as current mentors, mothers who have participated in the program, and social services case workers share their experiences so that new mentors have the background and knowledge to help support moms who may be single parents, or struggling with a child’s illness, or who are simply overwhelmed. Through weekly contact, mentors offer emotional and practical support to the mothers.  While each situation is different, one mother aptly described her mentor as “Someone I can talk to besides family, who understands and cares. She makes me think about my life and encourages me.”

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