New programs, same mission
Our mission is to serve young people in Cleveland who have been impacted by foster care in their childhood—by helping to connect them to groups of caring volunteers. When they leave foster care, often at age 18, the majority are without many supportive relationships. Our program is about growth and learning. The work we do is about youth growing up, and communities growing together.
We are proud to launch TWO new programs that will serve young people in Cleveland:
The HOPE Program
This is our very own Cleveland-based group mentoring program for youth impacted by foster care, homelessness, and poverty. It is trauma-informed, culturally humble, and filled with meaningful activities that help groups build life-long relationships with a young person.
It has training for both volunteers and youth. Training that sets expectations and vision around what healthy relationships look like, and it really focuses specifically on working with young people impacted by trauma, abuse, poverty and loss. The trainings mirror each other so that by the time youth and volunteers meet they have all gone through similar preparation.
We have trained staff supporting each Community (or Team) of volunteers. Our staff are the bridge between youth and their Communities when difficulties arise, and they are resource experts in Cleveland.
The structure of our groups is individualized to meet the needs of the youth, with a tool kit of activities designed to guide our Communities into closer relationships with one another and with our youth. Each group is 5-6 people with 1 young person (18-29) and groups meet as a whole and in smaller subsets about 3-4 times a month. We believe that trauma makes it difficult for the youth to get to know everyone so we have designed some smaller group times to help accelerate relationship building.
Our youth training was designed by youth who have lived-experience with mentoring groups and with foster care and trauma. The youth run the trainings and staff are also there as we develop trust and understanding with newer young people coming into our program. Youth who are in our program create their own vision for what they want out of their Community.
Our desire is to create long-lasting relationships for our youth so that they have people in their lives supporting them well past one year. We believe the secret to our success is 1)training and preparation of everyone in a Community; 2)support and resources when crisis comes along; and 3)understanding the impact of trauma, poverty and culture on young people.
Our program follows these core values: 1.) We have integrity. We do what we say we are going to do. 2.) We are transparent. How we show up matters. 3.)We are committed. We don’t give up when it gets hard. 4.)We don’t tear down, we build up. 5.) We create a space of peace and belonging. 6.) We grow stronger when we grow together.
Urban Community School/Community of Hope Wolfpack Program
We are excited to be in partnership with Urban Community School on the west side of Cleveland. Together, we are creating a new and innovative group mentoring program for students entering the 6th grade in the fall of 2019. Three mentors and one 6th grader will get together monthly for dinner, games, and support. Parental support and participation will also be a part of this work. Once relationships are built, we hope to see this Wolfpack of mentors and students grow together and stay together as students move through middle school and beyond. Training, support and commitment are at the core of this work as well.
We are looking for more mentors for these new programs and we have an event coming up on June 6th from 6-7pm at the YWCA (4019 Prospect Ave) to share ways people can get involved.