Mentoring Works! Mentor a Child & Change a Life
Royal Oak, Mich. —January 7, 2020— Child Safe Michigan, an affiliate of multi-county social service agency Judson Center providing foster care, adoption and mentoring services to neglected and abused children in Southeast Michigan, is celebrating national youth mentoring month in January with a new campaign, ‘Mentoring works! Mentor a child & change a life,’ to attract adults of all ages to mentor youth in foster care. Child Safe Michigan’s mentoring program is the only community-based program of its kind in Michigan that focuses solely on children in foster care.
There are currently more than 13,000 children in the foster care system in Michigan and they are among the most at-risk populations in the region. 75% have experienced trauma ranging from neglect and separation by a primary caretaker to severe abuse by those closest to them. The goals of mentoring through Child Safe Michigan, which mentored 70 children in 2019, include teaching life skills, positive community involvement, increased self-esteem, establishing caring and consistent relationships, improved age appropriate behavior at home, school, and in the community, and completion of high school. Children with a mentor are 55% more likely to attend college or trade school and 52% less likely to skip school.
Khadija Walker-Fobbs, Chief Strategy Officer at Judson Center and a leader in Michigan’s foster care services sector, has personally mentored more than 50 youth in foster care during her career and knows first-hand that #mentoringworks. She notes that many of Child Safe Michigan’s mentor/mentee relationships have lasted more than three years.
“Mentoring brings its own joys and challenges, but the reality is that it presents adults of all ages with the opportunity to change a young life through a positive, ongoing relationship. That’s pretty impactful,” Walker-Fobbs said. “With our ‘Mentoring Works! Mentor a child & change a life’ campaign, we want to increase our mentoring network and emphasize the potential for life-changing opportunities for both mentors and mentees through a formal mentoring relationship.”
Mary Albertson, a member of the Child Safe Michigan Board of Directors, has been mentoring the same young woman for eight years.
“I love mentoring! We’ve been together for eight years and she is now 16. We have really grown close and enjoy our time together; I am a trusted friend, which is important to every child,” Albertson said. “Shopping and attending musical theatre events are among our favorite activities. The fun adventure continues for both of us!”
Noah, 19, was matched with a mentor through Child Safe more than five years ago and they have grown close. When asked what he most appreciates about his mentor, he didn’t hesitate.
“Having an older person in my life who cares about me as if I’m one of his own. I trust (my mentor) and I’ve learned a lot about life from him,” Noah said.
More testimonials from Child Safe Michigan mentors and mentees can be viewed here. To become a mentor, individuals must submit an application to Child Safe; attend an interview with a Child Safe staff member experienced in mentoring; complete a background check; attend a detailed training session on the mentoring program; and then be matched with a mentee based on common interests and geographic location. All qualified mentors are encouraged to apply; there is a particularly strong need for male mentors. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the mentoring department at 248. 353.0921.
Additional Statistics on Children in Foster Care:
Children and youth in foster care experience a higher rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than American combat veterans. These youth are also significantly more likely than the general population their age to become:
- Homeless after 18 (20%)
- Incarcerated or involved in the criminal justice system (25%)
- Unemployed by age 24 (50%)
- A high school dropout (58%)
- Pregnant by age 21 (71%)
Child Safe’s Mentoring Program helps kids in foster care defy these statistics and live fuller, happier, and more successful lives. According to statistics on mentoring from the National Mentoring Resource Center and Mentoring Works:
- 46% of youth who regularly work with a mentor are less likely to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking than their peers
- 81% are more likely to participate in sports or extracurricular activities.
In addition, a 2013 study of at-risk youth funded by the Bill and Melinda French Gates Foundation found that mentored youth report fewer depressive symptoms, better grades, and greater peer acceptance.
About Child Safe Michigan
Child Safe Michigan, an affiliate of Judson Center, provides foster care, adoption and mentoring services to neglected and abused children in Southeast Michigan. More than just meeting the basic requirements, Child Safe provides safety and stability allowing children to grow and thrive in our care. Child Safe received the 2019 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Team Excellence award for its commitment to Michigan children and families. Visit https://www.childsafemichigan.org/ to learn more.
About Judson Center
Judson Center, trusted by Michigan families for more than 95 years, is a non-profit human service agency that provides expert, comprehensive services in Southeast Michigan that strengthen children, adults and families impacted by abuse and neglect, autism, developmental disabilities, and behavioral health and primary care challenges so they are successful in their communities. Since opening its doors in 1924, Judson Center has grown to change the lives of over 12,000 children, adults, and families each year. Judson Center has offices in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Headquarters are located at 30301 Northwestern Highway, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3277. Learn more at https://www.judsoncenter.org/.