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Engaging and Connecting Volunteer Mentors with System Involved Children

San Bernardino County, CA
Program Year: 2018

Abstract:
Mentoring programs have received serious attention as a promising approach to enriching children’s lives, addressing their need for positive adult contact, and providing one-on-one support and advocacy for those who need it. Mentoring is also recognized as an excellent way to use volunteers to address the problems created by poverty. Through a mentoring relationship, adult volunteers and participating youth make a significant commitment of time and energy to develop relationships devoted to personal, academic, or career development and social, athletic, or artistic growth. The San Bernardino County Mentoring Taskforce is a County/community collaborative effort with a vision that focuses on encouraging citizens to enroll as a mentor in their local youth mentoring programs and commit to inspire, challenge, and motivate a youth in need. California Department of Education reports that there are over 400,000 students enrolled in San Bernardino County Schools and 321,000 are between the ages of 8-18 years of age. One third of these students or a little over 107,000 are potentially reaching adulthood without the support of a positive, caring adult in their life. (www.cde.ca.gov) The goals of the Mentoring Taskforce are:  Launch an awareness campaign that highlights community mentoring programs, depicting the effectiveness of mentoring and the need for mentors throughout the County of San Bernardino.  Identify gaps in mentoring services and help organizations develop, implement and evaluate mentor programs.  Connect community members (including County Employees) to mentoring programs.  Provide continuing education opportunities to the County-wide mentoring community.  Provide a mentor for every youth that needs one. Additionally, as a Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Program, the Mentoring Task Force has the following mandatory goals:  Increase early access and linkage to services for at-risk children and youth with severe behavioral illness to medically necessary care and treatment provided by County Behavioral Health programs and include strategies to improve timely access.  Improve timely access to services for underserved populations.  Reduce stigma and discrimination related to being diagnosed with a mental illness or seeking behavioral health services

Contact:
Ms. Doreen Ivery
Social Worker II