Pathways YouthBuild Mentoring Gains Momentum

By Jacqueline M. Owens, Mentoring Coordinator, Pathways YouthBuild

Those of us who work with YouthBuild have always welcomed other program staff's involvement with YouthBuild students. It may sound trite, but it is nonetheless true, that students "feel" the support of a program whose staff members want to be involved with them in a very personal way. However, with tight budgets and staff shortages, it is often difficult to pull staff away from their other responsibilities, no matter how compassionate they may be.

But a wonderful thing happened this year at Pathways YouthBuild (of Petersburg, Va) as we began the second cycle of our mentoring program. Following two workshops in which previous mentors and members of our staff served as "consultants" to the YouthBuild students, things began to change. Our first indication that this would be a unique cycle was that more than fifty percent of mentors from the previous cycle "re-upped." Then came the next great burst of luckā€”more than seventy percent of Cycle II's mentors are Pathways staff (and one is a member of its board of directors, who is also a second-time mentor)!!

The impact of these seminal events has been impressive. Many of our matches were a result of natural mentoring, with partners having already had some familiarity with each other. Additionally, having new mentors with years of experience with our organization and knowledge of YouthBuild, our cycle was off to an enthusiastic start. Moreover, with matches being housed in the same building, daily contact is the norm, and bonding is accelerated. Our mentors' energetic ownership of this year's program is reflected in their innovative and creative contributions during this period of sustained uncertainty.

This year, there has also been renewed energy felt in our group mentoring program, with some of last cycle's mentors taking the lead. Additionally, our new partnerships with Virginia State University, our local health department and Planned Parenthood, have added a depth of knowledge and diversity of talent.

All of these dynamics have come together to enrich our program this year, and we plan to bottle this magic as we continue the mission of YouthBuild Mentoring into coming years.

Hear more stories about how YouthBuild mentoring programs are building their success and see what our sites are up to in the News Section.

You can submit a YouthBuild mentoring story of your own too!