Tabor Mentoring Program Expanding in the Lehigh Valley!

We have recently contracted with the Lehigh County Juvenile Probation Office to begin offering Mentoring to youth involved in the Juvenile Justice system. We are very excited to expand our services to this population of youth. Studies show that mentoring reduces recidivism and that having a positive adult role model can change the course of a youth’s life. Mentoring promotes safer communities and schools by giving the youth a feeling of being connected to a community.
 

If you are interested in becoming a mentor in the Lehigh Valley, please contact Nykea Alvarez at Nykea.Alvarez-Macey@tabor.org

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

As mentoring advocates, we know the importance of keeping young people safe and healthy.  Physical and sexual abuse and trauma have immense effects on youth, and safety is a core component of the work mentoring organizations do every day. The Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) provides a critical tool for keeping kids safe. Ask your member of Congress to support CPIA today!

#ThankYourMentorDay

Today is #ThankYourMentorDay is a day for all who have had real life mentoring experiences to thank those who helped them on their path to adulthood and beyond.  Anyone who has had a mentor is encouraged to say thank you by sending a note, a card or sharing a story on social media using #MentorIRL.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR MENTORS!

“Thank you for…

….helping me by giving me someone to talk to.” – Makayla, Tabor Mentee

….teaching me not to bottle up my feelings.” – Ciara, Tabor Mentee

….being there to listen to me.” Lydia, Tabor Mentee

….taking me different fun places and teaching how to open up and talk to people.” – Candace, Tabor Mentee

 

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I Am A Mentor Day

Today is I Am A Mentor Day.
A day for volunteer mentors to celebrate their role and reflect on the ways mentees have enhanced their world.

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Here are a few things some of our mentors have shared while reflecting on their experience as a mentor:

Did your experience match what you expected?
“Yes and no. I found that he (my first mentee) learned to expect me to help him. But I also learned from him…. it was amazing to me how he dealt with adversity. He has overcome all kinds of adversity… foster care since the age of 4, multiple high schools, homeless for a winter, and yet he now has a decent job and lifestyle.”

What is your most memorable moment?
“At a Phillies game! We sat in the upper deck of right field, but by the end of the game, we were touring the stadium. The attendant behind home plate let us watch the last inning in the reserved section!”

What is something that surprised you/or that you were not expecting?
“I was often surprised at the reaction or misperception of who I was and my role. The mentees have (so many) people in their lives – Tabor counselors, county case workers, etc. The mentees thought I was a paid person like their counselors. One day, while waiting for my mentee to get ready, I got to talking to one pair of foster parents who asked me which county office I was out of and whether I got overtime for the afterhours work. They were surprised to find out that I was a volunteer doing this for the fun of it!

What is something you want the readers, new mentors, or potential mentors to know?
“You will provide more help than you can imagine and you will learn as well.

Katie and Anne

“My mentor motivated me to succeed in both school and in changing my life.”

-Katie, Tabor Mentee

 

Our program empowers youth who are preparing to leave the child welfare system. Youth are matched with caring adult volunteer mentors and it is through the means of a mentoring relationship that the mentor and mentee form healthy and lasting relationships centered around building confidence, stability, and life skills.

Katie entered the Foster Care system in 2011 when she was only 12 years old. Life in foster care can mean several foster homes, moving schools in the middle of the year and constantly having a turnover of friends, care givers, case workers and teachers. Challenges and uncertainty can quickly become the norm and the need for a concrete and caring support system becomes more important than ever.

“I met Katie in August 2013 while she was participating in our Adolescent Initiative Program (AIP) and taking Life Skills classes offered through this program. Katie was interested in being matched with a mentor and I had the opportunity to interview her for our Mentoring Program.  I was so impressed with how lively and ambitious she was despite her past experiences and current challenges. She demonstrated perseverance and immediately knew that with guidance and support, her perseverance would flourish and take her to amazing heights of personal success,” recalls Rosaleen Holohan, Tabor Mentoring Specialist.

Anne was a successful professional who had recently transitioned from a corporate job in Philadelphia to a quieter pace of life and was looking for a volunteer position to give back to the community.  Anne’s mentoring interview was memorable. She had a graceful and caring demeanor and it was clear how much she had to give to a young lady in Foster Care. When looking for a mentor, Tabor looks for someone who is honest, flexible, positive, an active listener and embraces differences. Tabor found all of these attributes and more in Anne.

Katie and Anne were introduced and a bond formed immediately. Katie and Anne met each week to spend time together. In the beginning, they went out for ice cream, a bite to eat and occasionally a movie.  The day before each meeting, Anne would call the house parents of the home Katie was living it to confirm that Katie and she would be able to meet as planned. As Katie recalls, “this is when I really began to build trust in Anne and her commitment to me. I was so happy that Anne wanted to spend time with me and was interested in helping me.”

Challenges began to increase in both Katie’s academic and personal life during her high school years and Katie was transferred to a residential school eight hours away. Katie’s perseverance was put to the test as she started to have doubts about her ability to graduate and her future. Anne never stopped believing in her.

“It was during this difficult time in my life that I realized Anne was more than committed to me, she was devoted.”  Anne never gave up trying to be in contact with Katie. They spoke on the phone and wrote letters to each other, letters that they both cherish to this day. Anne would even make the eight hour round trip journey to see Katie as often as possible. It was Anne’s devotion that gave Katie hope.

Katie eventually was able to move back to the area for her senior year of high school.  Knowing that Anne had her back, Katie worked extremely hard and was determined to overcome her obstacles, make smart decisions and graduate high school.  Katie not only graduated, she applied to colleges because of Anne’s encouragement.  She was even accepted to each school she applied. Katie decided on a small liberal arts college that offered the major she was interested in, Psychology.

In December of 2016, Katie completed her first semester spent a lot time with Anne over the holidays.  What have they done with their time together?  Baking cookies and pies for family and friends.

When asked what she thought her life might have been like if she did not have a mentor, Katie responded, “without Anne I can honestly say, I would never have graduated and become a college student. Anne motivated me to succeed in school and she changed my life.  She is like a second mother to me.”

Anne won Tabor’s 2016 Mentor of the Year Award

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Anne, Tabor Mentor and Rosaleen Holohan, Tabor Mentoring Specialist

 

 

What is Mentoring Really Like IN REAL LIFE? Joe and Robin’s Story

What is Mentoring Really Like?

Though each mentoring story is different, they are all inspiring.

We are sharing IN REAL LIFE stories throughout the month of January in honor of National Mentoring Month. We hope they inspire you get involved and attend our Mentoring Open House and Information Session from 5PM-7PM on January 31, 2017 at 601 New Britain Road, Doylestown, PA 18901.

Joe and Robin

As a young inner-city child in a single-parent household, Joe was one of many young people facing an opportunity gap – as he describes it, “the odds were stacked against me.” Robin became Joe’s mentor when he was just 8 years old, and they both saw immediate changes, notably in the improvement of Joe’s grades. But the changes, a “ripple effect,” as Joe notes, would extend far beyond that.

The video, The Mentoring Effect, tells the story of Robin and Joe who were matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay when Joe was just eight years old. Their long-term relationship has impacted the lives of many people as Joe has grown to be a man committed to giving back to his community. This story exemplifies the mentoring effect and was the opening that set the stage for the 2015 National Mentoring Summit.