Information for Mentors
What is Mentoring?
Mentoring is one of the key’s to our success here at the Freestate ChalleNGe Academy. Mentoring model is a “friendly match” in which the youth identifies someone who will be a friend and support system for him or her during the 12-month post-residential phase. Mentors will play an ongoing role in the student’s life during the Program, and very often, beyond. Potential mentors are screened and trained prior to being matched with a student mid-way through the residential phase.
Mentors are required to have four monthly contacts with the cadet and one meeting in person. Mentors and students discuss the student’s future plans and spend time together, often providing service to the community or exploring job and school options.
Why are mentoring programs needed?
In a closely knit family and neighborhood, children and adults alike could readily forge many kinds of supportive relationships. But today those opportunities are often missing. Many children no longer attend school in their own neighborhoods. Single-parent families are no longer the exception, and some families live in geographic or emotional isolation from relatives and neighbors. Young people today often lack skills to develop helpful social networks.
Who is eligible to be a mentor?
Any adult (minimum age of 25 unless otherwise approved) who is interested in and committed to the young person’s success is eligible to apply. Attributes of a mentor include maturity, integrity, leadership, commitment, availability, and compatibility to the young person.
How can one apply?
A mentor application may be obtained by calling (410) 436-3301 or via download at: Mentor Application. A criminal background check will be conducted on all mentor candidates prior to being matched to a student.
All mentors are required to attend a training workshop. The workshop lasts approximately four hours and consists of a multi-media presentation from the Academy staff. Visitation with the student follows the training.
Young people want support. The majority of young people cite parents or other adults as the first source of advice for troubling personal problems. There was a time when our society was made up of extended families and close communities. Aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends often served naturally as mentors. While families bear the primary obligation to care for their children and to help them become healthy, contributing citizens, other institutions can help families acclimate to a rapidly changing world.
A mentor can provide the nurturing, supportive adult relationship absent in the lives of many of our young people. Adolescents today are an increasingly isolated population. Changes in the structure of the family, in the community and neighborhood relationships and in workplace arrangements have deprived young people of the adult contacts that historically have been primary sources of socialization and support for development. Many young people lack nurturing and supportive primary adult relationships. A mentor can provide that role, and perhaps more importantly, teach and guide the young person to find others to fill that role as well.
A mentor must be willing to make a commitment and keep it!
Do you have what it takes to be a mentor? The youths of Maryland are counting on you.