Hello and welcome to another Building Futures YouthBuild AmeriCorps blog post!
In an earlier blog post, All Students Need Mentors, we discussed the YouthBuild Mentoring program and how mentors assisted our students to complete the Army Corps of Engineers outlook. Well, I have exciting news! Building Futures has formed new partnerships that will enhance the mentoring program. Let me give you a short recap from our previous blog of what the YouthBuild mentoring program is all about.
All Building Futures staff are trained to be caring mentors for students, while they are in the program. In order to provide adequate adult support for Building Futures graduates transitioning into employment or college, YouthBuild USA has developed a mentoring model to engage adult volunteers in 15-month mentoring relationships to assist students during this transition. Building Futures has obtained YouthBuild USA funds from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to create this mentoring model.
Lewis and Clark Community College’s Building Futures YouthBuild program has been a recipient of the OJJDP mentoring model since 2014. Two new partnerships has just been developed, which will strengthen the mentoring program. The first partnership, which is with Lewis and Clark sociology instructors and the criminal justice program, will assist students as they transition into post-secondary education. The second partnership, which is with Lowe’s, will provide more mentors, who will aid students, as they complete their GEDs and transition into college.
The first partnership allows YouthBuild students to vertically integrate into college by providing them with a mentor that is already in college. This establishes more of a peer-to-peer relationship, so when the student has obtained his/her GED they have a friend who is already familiar with Lewis and Clark Community College to assist them in their transition. This opportunity is also beneficial to the criminal justice program, as explained by Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Jessica Noble.
“I see this internship as beneficial because my students will gain practical experience through a reputable organization. They will be able to learn soft skills, such as communication, positive attitude, mentoring and encouraging, and they will also gain work experience. A lot of my students want to work with troubled youth and this is one way for them to do this without having to wait until employment.This partnership definitely adds meaningfulness to my juvenile offender and corrections courses. As an instructor with a background in this field, I feel that this is an invaluable experience that can enhance a student’s learning through real world experience. It is not enough to simply tell an example, now they can really experience it.”
~ Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Jessica Noble.
As I mentioned, the second partnership is with Lowe’s. Local Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Alton and Glen Carbon have been integral partners in the Central Avenue Beautification project, donating $2,500 each toward materials, for a total of $5,000, along with 15 volunteer work hours. In addition, Lowe’s has also agreed to become a mentor. Adrienne Portell, Alton Lowe’s store manager explained Lowe’s interest in partnering with YouthBuild.
“Lowe’s is excited to partner with YouthBuild because we share similar core values of being a part of something bigger and making a difference in someone’s day, every day. Lowe’s has had several very positive experiences partnering with YouthBuild in the past, and we are excited to continue to build our relationship with YouthBuild and our community. I do have personal interests in partnering with YouthBuild. As a teenager, I know that having a positive mentor in my life helped me look past life’s circumstances and helped me realize my full potential. Having been graced with having such amazing people in my life, I feel drawn to help in any way I can and be a positive mentor to those in similar situations. I am excited to be able to bring a strong partnership to the table with YouthBuild. As a home improvement retailer, we have a plethora of resources and expertise in the home improvement sector, as well as strong business acumen and several advanced degrees from our senior staff that we are excited to draw from to help anyone who may benefit from the expertise we bring.”
~ Alton Lowe’s Manager Adrienne Portell
Check out more photos from the Youthbuild Central Ave. Beautification Project Kickoff:
After reading this blog If you or your organization is interested in becoming a mentor and making a change in a young person’s life please contact me at 618.468.4159.
Until the next time signing off…
Community Services Coordinator
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King