Rachel explains the importance of mentorship
Cup of Cool Water’s Mentorship program started February 2015. This program was started to address the needs of our youth who are very committed to CCW and want more responsibility, like a family member. As one youth said, “This place is like a home, and we are the kids, so when we make a mess we should clean it up. We should have chores.” The past 21 years of working with youth who are homeless has shown us that these youth are more likely to exit street life when they discover an asset, skill, or need about themselves that cannot be actualized while remaining homeless. Cup of Cool Water’s Mentorship program is one way our youth are challenged to learn more about themselves while testing out new skills.
Each Mentorship course lasts 8 weeks and each youth is expected to commit to the full course. Every week our mentees meet with their mentor one-on-one, attend the Tuesday class (topics vary depending on course curriculum), and volunteer 3-4 hours either in drop-in or at Cool Water Bikes. This is a valuable program because it provides the youth with positive experiences connected to life off the streets. For example when volunteering, each youth must set a schedule, be on time, log his/her hours on a time card, and demonstrate proper work ethic while serving their peers. At the group meetings, each mentee learns how to share his/her opinions and listen to others respectfully. Also, weekly one-on-one meetings with a mentor provide each mentee the opportunity to talk about what he/she is learning and receive feedback.
Since February 2015 we have had 15 individual youth complete multiple sessions of Mentorship resulting in 23 graduations. Out of these 15 youth: 13 have acquired housing and 9 have begun school and/or a job. One of these graduates will be transitioning from a mentee to mentor because he has successfully completed 24 weeks of mentorship!
In order to have more of these transformations with our youth, we will be offering five sessions this year to provide more consistency. Increasing the number of mentorship sessions will increase our expenses. A fully funded Mentorship session cost $1000. This money goes towards office supplies, service day project, fun day, and items mentees require like I.D’s, food handlers permit, and bus passes. Donations of items are greatly appreciated to offset these costs. We need bus passes, gift cards to fast food, notebooks, tickets or food for fun day, and a CCW t-shirt for each graduate.