Our Children and Youth in Care and Mentoring program matters. This program fosters meaningful relationships between adult mentors and young people, and the demographic of youth we support are facing unusual challenges – living in foster care, under government guardianship, and often involved in criminal activity. This puts them at risk for negative outcomes. That’s why having access to stable adult relationships can make the difference.
Last year, our Youth in Care program served 146 young people in Edmonton. This year, we’ve had 64 new referrals. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the good will of our community members. We are so grateful for all those who volunteer their personal time to connect with and support our kids. Volunteers are our foundation. At times, however, there is a strong disconnect between the need, and what we are able to provide. We need more mentors, but we struggle to close the gap.
Fortunately, the Government of Alberta, through the Alberta Human Services department has been funding this program in Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary for the past 3+ years, and are committed to continuing that support. Because of them, we’ve been able to go out and recruit more mentors, and invest more in our current mentors by providing additional training in mental health, addictions, and behavioral management so that they are fully equipped to serve our youth. In addition, we are committed to working with elders in our community to better serve our Indigenous Youth in Care participants.
80% of children who have been matched with a mentor have remarked, “my mentor has helped me to feel I am better at handling whatever comes my way.” This is why we do what we do – to increase the resilience of our youth so that they can transition successfully to adulthood.
The presence of healthy, positive adult relationships and experiences in the lives of children contribute to their improved future outcomes. It is one of the most effective interventions for at-risk children.
The need for mentors is ever present. If you wish to become involved in our programs and make a lasting impact on someone’s life, follow the link below.
The impact of a mentor on a child’s life, can be life-changing. Don’t hesitate to be that person, to make the difference.
Written by one of our amazing volunteers, Attena Hill.