We take an evidence-based, peer-led, and interactive approach to rehabilitation. In a long-term mentorship program, adolescents in either the foster care or juvenile justice system are paired with compatible teen volunteers. Volunteers provide warmth, consistency and trauma-informed guidance for their partners.
- The volunteer is provided with lesson plans on critical topics, such as communication skills, emotional regulation, nutrition, and exercise, to integrate into meetings. These lesson plans are informed by the criteria that case managers use to determine a child’s progress.
- Teen volunteers are provided a course in mental health first aid so they can identify any indicators of dangerous ideation, neglect, or abuse and flag concerns to their partners’ social workers.
- A group of volunteer-adolescent dyads come together once a month to engage in a community service project, such as sandwich packing for homeless families. This is an ideal way for adolescents to augment their sentiment of self-worth and prove their commitment to rehabilitation and service.
- Volunteers have a direct line of communication with local goodwill locations that they can utilize if their partners express a need for a distinct resource, such as a pair of shoes or a textbook.
- Teen mentorship is supplemented with specially designed educational enrichment programs that are centered around character development and community connections
- As volunteers get to know their partners most closely, they can write letters to their case managers and judges to provide character statements and advocate on behalf of the child they have been working with. We want major reform to guarantee that government systems humanize its members and we are initiating that work at the individual level.
- Volunteers can provide additional insight to help social workers best use well established child support models
We recruit adolescents from underserved areas, pair them with an internship that is of interest to them, and provide the training required to succeed in that position.
- Teens have a chance to gain amazing experience and expertise in a field they are compelled by as well as build their resumes and improve their likelihood of receiving both a scholarship for higher education and an excellent job at a young age.
- Some of the sectors in which students can intern are research, design, marketing and management. We also offer leadership positions at The Promise We Share and other non-profits where students not only participate in programs, but design and revise them as well.
- Along with the internship, program participants from the same neighborhood also meet once weekly at a local facility for leadership training with their core group.
- During these sessions, students will present their progress to learn from each other and practice their public speaking and information synthesizing skills. They can get exposure to fields that their peers are exploring and adult mentors will often lead trust, self-reflection and career planning exercises to promote positive development in the adolescents.
- Each student’s core group is meant to serve as a support group as well where students can confide in one another and receive mentorship from their adult supervisors.
- Participants will also take domestic trips to gain exposure to advocacy events, build memories with one another and travel to new places.
Opening Hearts and Homes
We mobilize youth who have been directly affected by the foster care system to share their stories and encourage qualified new families to take the right trainings and become exemplary foster families. We synthesize and distribute curriculum as well as provide a platform for survivors of the system to spark the change they want to see.