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 award-winning on-site mentoring program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters for youth ages 8-12 who live or attend school in Maine Township. This is a unique opportunity for youth to build leadership skills that will enhance their self-confidence, social skills, and academic achievement to help shape them to become future leaders in today’s modern society. There is no cost to participate.
Participants are matched with highly-skilled adult mentors, many with extensive work experience in fields such as medicine, business management, and human resources, and participate in a variety of fun, diverse activities and field trip experiences. 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. 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.
Meetings are typically held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month from 6-7:30 PM at the District 63 Family Resource Center (9000 Capitol Drive, Des Plaines), which is next door to the Maine Township Town Hall building. Due to COVID-19 prevention measures, this program has been meeting virtually through Zoom.
To sign up for the program, please fill out the online application below or contact Anne at 847-297-2510 x272 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Below are some success stories that have come out of this program. (All names have been changed and stories are used with permission.) Could your child be our next success?
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!
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.
We are looking for volunteers, especially males, willing to give 3 hours of time a month to serve as mentors to youth ages 8-12 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 District 63 Family Resource Center (9000 Capitol Drive, Des Plaines), which is next door to the Maine Township Town Hall building.
Volunteers are matched with a child of the same gender. Activities are pre-planned by an experienced facilitator and take place in a group setting. Meetings consist of a combination of one-on-one time and group activities focused on the social and emotional development of youth. 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
- 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 will to commit to a minimum of a 1 year relationship
- Be willing to commit to attend, at a minimum, 80% of program sessions
- Be willing to allow BBBS to conduct a thorough criminal background check and public domain search
- Be willing to disclose and discuss current and previous medical and mental health conditions
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Miesha Ransom at email@example.com to request an online application. You may also contact Anne at 847-297-2510 x272 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.