Having a positive adult role model can make a lasting difference in the life of a child. In today’s world of single parenting and dual incomes to support a family, kids often feel left out. Many of them spend too few hours with positive role models in their lives.
To help address this need, MaineStay offers an on-site evening mentoring program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Participation is open to students in grades 4-8 who live or attend school in Maine Township and limited to 20 matched pairs of the same gender. Meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month from 6-7:30 PM at the Maine Township Town Hall. There is no cost for youth to participate.
The program involves a combination of group activities and one-on-one time with mentors and youth in a safe, structured environment. Group games and activities focus on the social and emotional development of youth and include themes such as academic success, avoiding risky behavior, relationship building, and increasing confidence. Activities include homework help, discussions about bullying, how to create a healthy snack, simple ways to relieve stress, and much more. Group field trips will be planned to off-site activities a few times per year. The goal of this program is to help youth take positive steps towards academic and future success. All mentors undergo a thorough screening process, which includes an application, interview, background check, and training. No outside contact between mentors and youth is permitted.
If you would like to enroll your child in the program, please contact Anne at 847-297-2510 x272 or email@example.com.
Below are some success stories that has already come out of our mentoring program. (All names have been changed and stories are used with permission.) Could your child be our next success?
Anika is a high-achieving student who sometimes feels like she is overlooked at home, due to her parents needing to care for her three younger siblings. While she has been entrusted with a lot of responsibility around the house, Anika sometimes struggles with managing her emotions. Because of this, Anika’s mentor, Sarah, has made sure to provide Anika with a listening ear during their time together, offering Anika suggestions on managing her extracurricular involvement, avoiding stressors, and maintaining positive relationships with her family members. Additionally, Sarah continues to encourage Anika to try new things throughout their participation in program activities, which has led Anika to discover an interest in both baking and softball.
Camila’s mom enrolled her in the program because she felt that Camila could benefit from having guidance in communication skills, building relationships, and discussing her feelings. Since being matched with one another, Camila and her mentor, Julia, have spent a great deal of their one-on-one time working on each of these areas. With the help of Julia, Camila has shown growth in her ability to express her feelings and perspective and willingness to participate in group activities with her peers. Not only that, they have also explored Camila’s interests through their participation in program activities, such as a cooking workshop and future-self vision boards. Camila’s mom recently informed us that she has seen the positive impact the program and Camila’s mentor has had on her.
Jakub’s parents enrolled him in our mentoring program because they wanted Jakub to improve his communication and social skills as he was struggling with peer relationships at school. In particular, Jakub’s parents hoped that the additional one-on-one support of an adult mentor and the structured group activities with other kids his age would help build Jakub’s self-confidence and give him the skills to interact positively with his peers and make new friends. In the three months they have been matched together, Big Brother Mike has been a consistent, patient, and caring friend and role model to Jakub. Mike follows Jakub’s lead as he slowly grows more comfortable in the match. Jakub and Mike have used coloring as a way to connect, beginning each session by creating a new picture together and building on their conversations more every time they meet. Each week, the smile and excitement on Jakub’s face has grown when he walks in the door, eager to see Mike and participate in activities with his peers. In the short amount of time he has been in the program, Mike has watched Jakub come out of his shell exponentially—he now runs up to other mentors to show them his drawings and asks other kids to play tag with him. We’re all excited to watch this match continue to grow and see where it takes Jakub and Mike!
Independent research shows Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs have a measurable, positive impact in children’s lives. In a nationwide study, Little Brothers and Little Sisters were:
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school
- 37% less likely to skip a class
- more confident of their performance in schoolwork
- one-third less likely to hit someone
- getting along better with their families
We are looking for volunteers, especially males, willing to give 3 hours of time a month to serve as mentors to students in grades 4-8 for our on-site evening mentoring program offered in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month from 6-7:30 PM in a structured group setting at the Maine Township Town Hall.
Volunteers are matched with a child of the same gender and meet with the same youth throughout the course of a year. Activities are pre-planned by an experienced facilitator and take place in a group setting with 20 matched pairs of mentors and youth. Meetings consist of a combination of one-on-one time and group activities focused on the social and emotional development of youth. Activities include homework help, discussions about bullying, how to create a healthy snack, simple ways to relieve stress, and much more. No outside contact between mentors and youth is permitted. A small contribution of your time can change the course of a child’s life. Volunteers must meet the following criteria to be matched with a child in our program:
- Be at least 18 years old (high school students cannot serve as mentors)
- Meet residency criteria of being a US citizen for at least 1 year, legal resident for at least 2 years, or having a student/workers visa for at least 2 years
- Be willing to commit to attend each program meeting or at minimum 80% of program sessions
- Be able to attend the entire program meeting for a minimum of 1 year.
- Be able to participate in regular phone contacts with a Big Brothers Big Sisters staff person
- Be able to provide their own transportation to and from the program meetings
- Be willing to pay a one-time application fee of $35
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, please contact Anne at 847-297-2510 x272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.