Age Minimum (with Adult): 21+, Minimum Age:21+
Dare to Dream Mentor
Young people who have grown up within the foster care system have experienced instability in their lives and often experience learning disabilities, limited life skills, health problems, emotional problems, and behavioral problems that lead to negative developmental outcomes. Children who age out of foster care have less financial, emotional, and social support than the general population who become adults at the age of 18. Youth who are out of the foster care system are often expected to be as self-sufficient as their peers not in foster care who still have parental support and guidance. This lack of support and resources combined with the multiple traumas these youth have experienced affect their success and well being in life upon aging out. As a result of having to overcome a childhood of abuse and neglect, removal from their caregivers, unstable living arrangements as well as multiple homes, and weak support systems, youth who age out of care are expected to enter young adulthood with no solid foundation upon which they can build their futures.
The heart of the Dare to Dream program is to walk alongside youth as they navigate through life's challenges. The youth in our Dare to Dream program need the wisdom, advice, encouragement, and community that mentors can provide. Mentors meet practical and emotional needs as well as provide guidance through developmental milestones. The goal is for youth to be engaged and to feel supported and equipped to navigate life. A mentor commits to meeting with the youth every other week to set goals and help them achieve their dreams. These relationships will hopefully last a lifetime, but the program is a year commitment. Mentors matched with a high school student are strongly encouraged to stay with the youth until high school graduation.
We tell mentors that the simple act of telling their youth “I believe in you,” “You are special,” and “You are going to do great things” can change their path completely.
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