GROWING TO MEET THE NEED.
We have matched thousands of children facing adversity throughout the state with caring, supportive mentors. But the need for mentors has never been more pressing.
The following innovative approaches to expand mentoring opportunities are the next steps in helping close both the achievement and opportunity gaps that exist for too many underserved children and youth.
1-TO-1 Community Based Mentoring
The community-based program is our "traditional" mentoring program, where Bigs and Littles are matched in a one-to-one friendship based on gender, interests, personalities, and geographic locations. Volunteers are carefully screened and trained to create a positive impact by sharing their friendship, guidance, and support. Pairs meet at least twice per month for a couple hours to spend quality one-on-one time together, and form meaningful memories just by hanging out.
Mentors take the time to listen, encourage, and model positive behavior while doing everyday activities. Each match is professionally supported by a Match Support Specialist, who is there to support and advise Bigs and parents on this journey.
We partner with businesses to offer a unique mentoring experience. Littles visit a company office or workplace twice a month to meet with employee Bigs for group and one-to-one activities. These incredible partnerships offer companies on-site volunteer opportunities for their employees and give Littles a window into the workplace. By 2024, we envision expanding to eight workplace mentoring sites in key regions and industries throughout the state.
BIGS IN BADGES
Partnering with select law enforcement, fire, and ambulance departments in the state, our Bigs in Badges are matched in community-based or site-based settings with Littles in their communities. By 2024, we aim to expand this newly launched occupational mentoring program to a total of four communities throughout the Granite State.
Because of stigma and discrimination, LGBTQ+ youth are more likely than non-LGBTQ+ youth to struggle with their mental health. More than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ youth ages 13–24 in the United States are estimated to have seriously considered suicide in the past year and are four times more likely than their peers to consider, plan for, and attempt suicide. Connecting LGBTQ+ youth with caring adult mentors, who can relate to their experiences, provides a supportive outlet that can help change those odds. We aim to strengthen our outreach and support of this underserved group through collaborations with other community partners that serve the unique needs of LGBTQ+ youth.
TRAUMA-INFORMED MENTORING PRACTICES
Toxic stress suffered from experiencing adversity early in life, such as abuse, neglect, or other trauma has been shown to increase the risk of negative health outcomes in children, including heart disease and diabetes; poor academic achievement; and substance misuse later in life. In a new collaboration, we pair college mentors from behavioral health and sciences programs with children who have suffered trauma. The program offers an extra layer of support to youth, while providing their mentors with training on trauma-informed practices to better prepare them for mentoring and their future practice.
Mentor 2.0 is a technology-enhanced, one-on-one mentoring program that provides transformative support for low-income and first-generation high school students. Mentors are matched with high school students and, through weekly online communication and monthly in-person meetings, work with them within a curriculum that builds skills for college and career success. More than 10,000 students across the country participate in this program, which has been shown to significantly increase the odds that children will apply for, enroll in, and complete their first year of college.