These children have been referred to the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s Mentoring Youth program. For more than 30 years, this program has trained and supervised adult volunteers to serve as mentors to children age 5 to 18, who are confronting adverse challenges (social, emotional and behavioral) at home and in life.. Mentors serve as positive role models, providing guidance, friendship and support, and advocate on behalf of children when necessary.
The next Mentoring Youth volunteer training program begins on Wednesday, April 30. Training is held on four consecutive Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, 64 Passaic Street in Hackensack.
“The men and women in the Mentoring Youth Program improve the lives and experiences of children who need someone they can trust; someone to show them they are not alone,” says Janet Sharma, Volunteer Center Executive Director. “There is an
ongoing need for men to mentor boys and an especially critical need for bi-lingual, Spanish speaking men and women to accommodate the growing number of Spanish speaking families entering the Mentoring Youth program.
“These children are waiting for someone to step in and believe in them; to encourage them to laugh and succeed,” 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.