In an ideal world, every child and teenager would be surrounded by strong and positive role models. But in reality, that often isn’t the case. Youth whose parents struggle with poverty, substance addiction, mental illness, domestic abuse, or a lack of a support system for themselves, may not be able to be positive role models. Even in families that aren’t facing adversity, some children may benefit from an adult outside of their family to look up to.
This is where youth mentoring programs come in. Youth mentoring programs match children and teens who lack role models with adults who can spend time with them. The adults usually have to undergo background checks and training before they can work with youth. Mentors and youth spend quality time together. Mentors may give advice to their youth, but more often, they influence young people just by being consistently there for them, listening to them and leading by example.
Children and teens with mentors benefit in many ways. A youth with a mentor is less likely to:
- Use drugs or alcohol
- Develop problem behaviors
- Skip school
- Have symptoms of depression
- Be confident
- Go to college
- Participate in sports or extracurricular activities
- Communicate positively with their parents
Become mentors or volunteers themselves
Adults in Omaha have many opportunities to serve as mentors for youth. For example, DREAM uses a team mentoring approach, putting groups of at-risk young men and successful adult men through a strengths-based curriculum. People who are available during the school day can work as mentors through Partnership 4 Kids. Youth Emergency Services has a program where adults can mentor teens who are facing homelessness. And the YMCA’s Reach And Rise program matches children and teens with adults who will spend one to three hours a week with them doing activities in the community.
While some mentoring programs look for adults with specific qualifications, anyone with the ability to be a positive role model can be a mentor. Adults interested in mentoring children or teens can start by checking Volunteermatch.org for opportunities.
At DREAM academy we offer both mentoring programs and afterschool programs for at-risk youth. We first created a mentoring program to build a relationship with mentors who will be there for them no matter what. Mentors will have gone through the same life experiences, therefore making them more relatable with the youth.
DREAM’s mentoring program, “becoming a man” pairs college-educated, professional male mentors with at-risk youth. They work together for strength-based curriculum, this helps with their decision making, taking responsibility for their actions, becoming the best version of themselves and help set goals for their future.
We also offer team mentoring, which is an adult or adults who are assigned to meet with a group of youth after or before group activities. Group activities are sports, outdoor adventure, camps and more! Consistency is key, the team mentors will meet up with the youth on a regular basis.
Another program that DREAM offers is after school programs. We understand how important it is to have a safe place to go after school. Our program promotes: education, cultural activities, field trips, homework help, snacks and more!
If you want to make a difference on youth, contact us today! The DREAM Organization is a top afterschool program in Omaha! We have an area that promotes education while providing our students with positive role models.