Young boy with YMCA mentor. Courtesy/YMCA
While nearly one in five youth live in poverty and are at risk of falling prey to crime, drugs and other hurdles that could keep them from reaching a productive adulthood, obtaining an education and successfully entering the workforce, research also shows that youth are more likely to succeed with the support of a caring adult.
In an effort to help more kids and teens achieve, the Family YMCA, will begin offering the Reach & Rise™ program, a YMCA of the USA. national initiative, supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), that connects youth ages six to 17 with adult mentors for 12-18 months.
The Y will be accepting adult mentor applications and youth referrals beginning March 3. The program provides five weeks of training for mentors, who must be 23 years of age or older, in this “therapeutic” mentoring program, which strengthens listening and support skills for adults. The youth, in turn, have self-identified areas they would like to improve.
As part of the Y’s commitment to nurturing the potential of youth, the Family YMCA’s Reach & Rise program will support youth in need of a positive role model, who are from communities challenged by poverty, crime, truancy, are from single-parent households or have other social issues.
Through this program, the Y will recruit and train adult volunteer mentors to provide direct one-to-one mentoring services and create safe, healthy and meaningful relationships with youth. Mentors and mentees will participate in service projects, field trips and other engaging activities.
“Our Y is excited to begin offering the Reach & Rise program, which will benefit many of our youth, inspiring them to reach their full potential,” Family YMCA CEO Linda Daly said. “Through this program, more youth in northern New Mexico will develop relationships with caring mentors, and deepen relationships with families and their schools that will help lead to higher achievement and a brighter future.”
Founded in 1992 and led by the YMCA of San Francisco, the Reach & Rise program expanded in 2014 by five additional YMCA associations. As part of the national expansion, the Family YMCA is now one of 38 Ys now offering the program. See a program video here.
To learn more, contact Aaron Purtzer at 505.662.3100 or visit www.laymca.org.