YMCA of Greater Cincinnati one of five Ys nationally to implement new mentoring program

The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is one of six Ys across the nation that will implement a new Mentoring Program that will replicate the successful Building Futures program at the San Francisco Y.

"Nationally recognized within the YMCA movement as a key leader in urban youth and community development, the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati responded quickly to the mentoring opportunity.  Cincinnati’s selection fits perfectly with the Y’s strategic plan, leadership of the CincyAfterSchool Network, and engagement with Strive’s education initiatives,"  said Rebecca Kelley, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati district vice president.

The San Francisco Program is geared toward at-risk kids aged 6-18. It's an intensive, hands-on program that pairs mentees and mentors one-to-one for an average of two hours a week for one year. The program helps children cope with issues like low self-esteem, peer and family conflict, academic problems and decision-making skills. Mentees are referred from schools and other YMCA programs.

"We are thrilled to be bringing such a strong life changing program to Hamilton County. Lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our youth and our neighbors. This is a great opportunity for caring adults to give back by inspiring young people to grow and thrive," said Jennifer Pugh, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati regional mentoring director.

Mentors will undergo 15 hours of training over four weeks in understanding cultural/social development, youth culture and risk factors. Mentors will also have ongoing support by a YMCA mentoring coordinator and the YMCA Mentoring Resource Center and have access to other support through optional monthly mentor support meetings. YMCA mentors will meet with their mentees weekly for a year either at their local YMCA branch (they will have free use of the branches during their visits) or at the student’s school.

Students who will be involved in the YMCA Mentoring Program attend a CincyAfterSchool site managed by the YMCA (for Westwood Elementary, Mt. Airy Elementary, Riverview East or the Skyline Community Center) or participate in the YMCA Black & Latino Achievers college readiness program at Hughes High School, Academy of Multilingual Immersion Studies or Withrow International.

The backbone of the program consists of helping students complete a 'goal plan' including career exploration and participating alongside them in service learning projects.

YMCA Mentoring is funded by a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Oakland, Phoenix, Nashville and Baltimore are among other cities implementing the program.

If you're interested in being a mentor, call 513-246-3230.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Lisa Desatnik, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati

You can follow Feoshia on twitter @feoshiawrites

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