I just got off the phone with someone from Mentoring USA to find out if she had any words of wisdom for mentoring older youth/young adults. As it happens, Mentoring USA is trying to develop their own program for that demographic, since one of their interests is to help youth age out of foster care with a connection to a caring adult. One of the avenues they are investigating is a peer-mentoring model where 25-year olds might mentor youth between the ages of 18 and 20.
We got to talking about how the young adults coming out of the mentoring program Adoptment still find themselves drawn to the group long after their twenty-first birthdays. Similarly, many members of the Youth Advisory Board at New Yorkers for Children expressed the desire to continue on even after heading off to college and aging out of the foster care system. There is a real need for social services and a shared space for people in their early twenties who are just beginning their adult lives and looking for a ways to participate and serve in a community setting. If anyone knows of programs that target this population, let me know!
We are trying to figure out what a professional mentoring program for YAB would look like. There are a lot of logistical details we need to work out, such as how and how often matches would be in contact. I know that the YAB members are busy enough with school and/or work that it takes real effort for them to attend monthly meetings with any sort of consistency. I’d like to set up a program that will work with everyone’s schedules. In contrast to the iMentor model, which relies largely on e-mentoring (weekly emails are supplemented by monthly in-face meetings), Mentoring USA runs programs where mentor matches meet one-on-one for two hours twice a month or four hours once a month. Off the top of her head, the woman from Mentoring USA said that NYFC might consider a three-tier model where board members might mentor the officers of the YAB, who in turn could serve as peer mentors for the other members. We are going to keep in touch to see if we might be able to help each other get something off the ground.