Children’s Home Society of Florida, Brevard Division is still in search of a few good men and women for its MODEL (Mentors Opening Doors Enriching Lives) program.
Six months ago, CHS received funding for this one-to-one community-based mentoring program that pairs 4-14 year old children (who have a parent incarcerated in a federal or state prison) with a volunteer mentor.
22 mentors have completed the training and interview process. Of those, approximately 16 are awaiting the nationwide background screens before they can be matched with a youth. Despite the wait, six mentors are currently matched with a youth. With 18 children enrolled, another four soon to be enrolled, and referrals coming in weekly, we need more volunteers, especially men living in central and northern Brevard County.
All children are matched with a mentor of the same gender. Just what do the children expect? They want someone to “hang out” with, go fishing, throw a ball, read or color with, or just talk with about things that interest them. They want something that they are missing with a parent incarcerated.
Children’s Home Society plans to begin a quarterly newsletter and Mentor/Mentee outings–things like picnics or a day at the ball park and a back-to-school bash the end of July or early August.
This program is all volunteer, very rewarding, and takes just an hour a week. But it really can make a huge difference in the life of a child. Research indicates that children involved in mentoring programs do better in school, have improved family and social relationships, have increased social skills, and are less likely to use drugs or alcohol. That alone makes the program worthwhile.
A mentor must be 21 years of age and be willing to commit to at least one hour a week for a minimum of one year. They must also successfully complete an application, interview, background screening, fingerprinting, and provide references. Once approved, they receive orientation and ongoing training and support.
If you or someone you know is interested in referring a Brevard County child to this program or is interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Christy Baudek at Children’s Home Society, 3270 Suntree Boulevard Suite 100, Melbourne, FL 32940 Tel: 322-752-3170 ext. 228, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org