Insight Continues to Improve Mentoring Program

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Thanks to all of the mentors who attended last night’s in-service!  It was a great one (if I do say so myself)! My colleague, Madison, and I feel fortunate that our supervisor, Dawn, could join us to expand upon all of the services offered to adolescent foster youth in Bucks County and how the role of the mentor fits in.  We had an enlightening discussion on the critical need for these youth to have a natural connection, separate from all of the programming offered by the county.

It also highlighted for me how much our program has evolved thanks to mentor feedback.  We really pride ourselves on our ability to partner with our volunteers and respond to their insights and changing needs.  Mentors are the ones on the front lines, connecting with their mentees each week.  For our program to continue to be a success, we need that valuable input of their experience.

When I arrived home last night, a friend of my who is a therapist posted this blog:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/understanding-how-children-develop-empathy/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

I found this to be a continuation of the discussion of how mentoring is a proven intervention that impacts how adolescents relate to the world around them.  It talks about prosocial behavior and how the human brain wiring works that makes humans want to do good.  I can’t help but wonder how many layers of influence our mentors can have on the youth’s development by the simple virtue of volunteering our world’s most precious commodity:  TIME.

I look forward to our discussion at the next in-service on July 22nd!

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Hot Fun in the Summertime!

As we become adults and enter the working world, many of us still anticipate summer with the excitement that the living is going to be easy. It is true that the three months stretching ahead of us might remain filled with job and family responsibilities; rather than the sleeping in, hanging at the beach, and endless games of capture the flag that were the staples of our youth. However, I would argue that the warm weather makes us move a little slower and take some time off to enjoy the sunshine and more likely to connect with our inner child and make time for fun.

The good news is that the greater Bucks County area offers plenty of ways for us to make the most of June, July & August! For mentors, this can afford a greater opportunity to connect with your youth in a unique way. With the Tabor mentees finishing up school in the next couple of weeks, we thought this would be a great time to look at some low-cost and affordable ways for our matches to try new things and pursue activities for which the winter months are just too hectic. Thanks to our mentor, Teresa B., we have started to compile a list of activities and websites to make it easy for our mentors to have a fun summer with their mentees.

Please feel free to add any ideas or websites to this blog. And don’t forget to check back as more activities are publicized!

• Philadelphia Flea Market
Bucks County Technology Park, 4800 Street Road, Trevose
732-558-5016 or 1-888-665-8558
New and used Merchandise
Sundays 8 a.m.-2 p.m., March-December

• Columbus Flea Market
2919 Route 206 South, Columbus, NJ. 08022
609-267-0400
http://www.columbusfarmersmarket.com<http://www.columbusfarmersmarket.com>
Flea market open year round 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
Indoor market open year round 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Free parking
Inside retail stores and outdoor flea market items, produce row, flower row

• SUMMER CONCERT SERIES:
http://myadmin.wilderco.com/assets/specials/VS_concert_flier2014_web.jpg

• SPRING AND SUMMER FESTIVIALS:
http://www.uwishunu.com/2014/04/roundup-our-updated-guide-to-the-more-than-60-spring-and-early-summer-festivals-hitting-philadelphia-in-the-coming-weeks/

• GENERAL WEBSITES FOR EVENTS CALENDARS:
http://www.visitphilly.com/events/
http://www.visitbuckscounty.com/groups/free-things-to-do/
http://buckscountyalive.com/events/index.cfm?webname=bcalive
http://bucks.happeningmag.com/

• LEHIGH VALLEY
http://www.musikfest.org/
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Loosening the Apron Strings: Thoughts on Parenthood and Mentoring

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Recently at school my sixth-grade daughters had classes on the “birds
and the bees,” and next year they start middle school. I can’t think of them
as my “little girls” anymore; they are becoming young ladies and all too
soon, young adults. About a week ago they participated with their father in
the Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, where some talented and
successful women might have made a strong impression. I really hope so.
It is impossible as a parent to not have hopes and dreams for our children,
and to hope that they have their own personal and career aspirations. At
the same time I don’t want to be the kind of parent that pressures my
children into educational choices, athletic endeavors, or career fields that
do not interest them. Sounds a bit like mentoring, doesn’t it?

For me, still very much in the early stages of a match and relationship with
my mentee, “loosening the apron strings” on my daughters is a reminder
of the influence I can have on my mentee, a teen mom, and the roles that I
should not play. She has her own educational and career aspirations, in
which I should support her without judgment of her choices. While
mentoring is not parenting, in both roles I am becoming keenly aware of
how influential other people can and will be on these three ladies in my life,
and how careful I must be in guiding them without pulling or pushing too
hard.

Peers, media, and societal expectations are all playing an increasing role
in today’s adolescent lives, and a parent or mentor often runs counter to
all those other influences. Many of these pressures did not exist when I
was the age my daughters are now. There was no internet, no Facebook or
cell phone providing constant contact to the world wide web. My world
was not very wide, nor worldly, in a small town in Maine where even a
movie theater struggled to survive. The most influential people I recall were
high school teachers, and contrary to the trend today, most of my
strongest teachers were male. They pushed me academically, and
encouraged me to look beyond my small town and state for college
choices. I listened.

I hope my mentee and daughters will make good choices in how they feed
their bodies and minds, but I can’t be with them all the time and their
desire and need for independence grow stronger daily. In some ways, my
sway on my daughters is waning, and I recognize how limited it is as a
mentor.

It is nerve-wracking as a parent to feel the loss of control over our
children’s development and safety as they spend more time in school and
with friends, using the internet and social media. But it is also exciting to
watch them become their true selves. As a mentor, I come into my
mentee’s world having had no say, little knowledge or experience of what
brought her to this point, and knowing she can turn away from me at any
moment she chooses. But I already feel somewhat vested in her future. I
hope she is realistic about her goals and sincere enough in her desires to
pursue them despite setbacks. I’ll always be my children’s mother, but I
can’t yet know how long my mentoring relationship will last. Still, when I
imagine these girls as women in the future, I imagine them strong and
secure. If my influence has in some way helped them get to such a place,
if they remember a comment or gesture the way I remember my high
school teachers, I will give myself just a little pat on the back, and thank
Tabor for giving me the opportunity.

 

-Theresa

Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series: Thursday, May 15th, 2014

 

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The National Mentoring Partnership is facilitating a discussion between three leading researchers: Andrea Taylor, Ph.D. (Temple University), Renee Spencer, Ph.D. (Boston University), and Antoinette Basualdo-Delmonico, Ph.D. as they talk about strategies for family engagement in a mentoring relationship.

Often it is difficult to know how or when to include family members in the mentoring relationship, and this discussion hopes to shed some light on a topic that many mentors would like to learn more about. While boundaries and respecting the dynamics of the match are the predominant focuses while building a mentoring relationship, there are often times where including family members is appropriate and helpful (and sometimes when it isn’t!). For more information on this webinar–and others hosted by the National Mentoring Partnership, please visit the link: Collaborative Mentoring Webinar Series.

Webinars are free and held online on the 3rd Thursday of each month at:

  • 10:00AM-11:15AM Pacific
  • 11:00AM-12:15PM Mountain
  • 12:00PM-1:15PM Central
  • 1:00PM-2:15PM Eastern

 

Tabor Disclaimer: As always, these views do not necessarily represent those of Tabor and its staff. Please remember to consult the Mentoring Specialists with any questions/concerns.