Nonprofit Stories - Mentoring Plus
Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky is grateful for the many nonprofits that support and strengthen our community. We are actively reaching out to these organizations to listen to their stories in order to share them with you. This is an ongoing project that will cover many organizations across Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties.
It all comes down to this: Compassionate, productive teens contribute to the strength of our overall community.
Mentoring Plus serves teens ages 13-18 years old (and beyond, if needed) from its home in Newport. Pictures of the youth, wearing smiles of strength, are posted in small rooms throughout the building. The modest rooms are individually assigned in order to create a private, focused space for the youth.
The process begins when a child is referred to Mentoring Plus. These referrals are typically sent by schools, community organizations, our local juvenile justice office, or other agencies working with Northern Kentucky’s most high-risk youth. These young people in our community have often faced immense challenges and traumatic experiences such as violence, abuse, neglect, and severe poverty. Some are dealing with mental illness. To Mentoring Plus, they all deserve an unconditional love, as well as supports to help them be the best version of themselves.
Each week, the teens come in for three hours to meet one-on-one with their volunteer mentor, who helps them focus on a tightly structured curriculum. There are four different nights of programming designed around the phases of the long-term program, but they all start with a shared family meal. Activities focus on a variety of areas: substance abuse, education, job and career preparation, and other life skills. The mentors, all volunteers, then check in with mentees later in the week. It’s all about consistency and structure at Mentoring Plus.
The “Plus” in Mentoring Plus sets it apart from other after school mentoring programs. In addition to pairing youth with life coaches to build skills and knowledge, Mentoring Plus staffs a team of three part-time case managers who work with the teens and family members to develop a Coordinated Care Plan, which outlines their needs, strengths, and goals on their path to a healthy future in mind, body, and spirit.
While the teens are the focus and drivers of change in their lives, Mentoring Plus understands the importance of a healthy and stable family unit as a whole. Case managers connect families to food, housing, and employment resources as the need arises.
With such intensive programming, Mentoring Plus recognizes that it is crucial to maintain a strong balance between staff and youth. Only 12-15 youth are assigned to each case manager at a time, and tend to remain for a minimum of 12 months.
As with any family, it can get messy, and Mentoring Plus is steadfastly committed to strengthening the familial bonds while helping our young neighbors become the compassionate, productive individuals who strengthen our community.