January 7, 2014
We hope your day is filled with warm heart smiles.
This email will be beneficial for a very few people who will read it. That depends on how far you read and it depends on how deep you read. At YWAP we are Mentors and Mentor Teachers. Mentoring may seem like an elephant in your life; you don't see how you could fit anymore into an already jam packed life. I understand that, I've been through many seasons in life that were filled with blizzards of activity and my visibility to see anything else was zero. If you are at zero right now, close your eyes and say: "This too shall pass. There are better days ahead."
Please don't read any further if your focus needs to be on something else. This will take some of your time. I have invested a lot of time in this. I'm giving it my life. It's the rough draft of a blueprint that will deal with an elephant. There is an elephant in our community. The elephant is the children who are left behind. They are left behind at graduation time. They are left behind prison bars. They are left behind at cemeteries. You may not be able to get involved right now but you know somebody who can get involved. Share this document with them. Ask us how you might get involved on a limited basis. Speak about our children with a positive voice.
What is this?
You will find a brief letter that gives a glimpse of a bigger picture that takes place for many children year after year. That is followed by a revised Mission/Vision Statement for Youth With A Purpose Inc. The last pages are dedicated to painting the vision of a YWAP Program called Mentor Force.
Thanks for your time.
Go do something nice for somebody.
The YWAP Directors
I've been studying elephant brains and human brains lately. It seems we grow in similar patterns. Human brains grow to capacity as far as size during adolescence. Although children may appear mature on the outside, many of them are not fully formed on the inside. The size of a brain is a different measurement than the magnitude of what the brain is filled with; especially when combined with what the brain is focused on.
I visited a couple of guys in jail last week. The one guy is focusing on his case and his desire to live a better life. The other guy seems to be focusing on his perception of maltreatment by the prison guards. One guy is growing and one guy is not. Hopefully through time, the other guy will go through a growth spurt and mature.
The best case scenario for these prisoners would be to mentor them. While I was at the jail, another inmate came in and asked to pray. We did pray and then he told his story. He was older than the other 2 guys and really felt bad about how his life was turning out. They listened and I watched as he mentored them. I then mentored the 3 of them. (Mentoring is guidance.) The problem is, the older guy will be released soon and I have limited time to visit the jail. So what does the future look like? One guy will be released to a new life opportunity within a month. One guy is probably looking at a short term sentence, and the other guy who is focusing on prison guards will most likely receive a longer sentence. Mentoring helps guide people to focus on a more excellent way of walking up and over the mountains of life.
All of these guys are valuable human beings, as are the thousands of other children who are still growing outside the prison walls. The education community has a tendency to focus on the children who attach themselves almost effortlessly to societal expectations. The children whose brains may be adequately sized and not yet formed are labeled as defective and removed. Conflict is needed for anything to grow. Conflict caused by children is not acceptable so we remove them from our classrooms and neighborhoods.
On the following pages you will not find rocket science. You will find the basics of helping young people form healthy relationships. Thank you for reading this far. We appreciate your time, effort, involvement and feedback. We hope your day is filled with heart smiles.
Heart smilingly yours,
The YWAP Directors
Youth With A Purpose Inc.
"All Children Are Gifted"
157 Locust St. Buff. NY 14204
YWAP believes that all children are gifted and have the potential to form positive human relationships that are beneficial for themselves and the community. Focusing on neglected and troubled youth, YWAP employs adult and peer mentoring programs to identify, nurture, protect and empower youngsters to use their God given talents and reach their fullest potential.
YWAP will partner with schools, parents and community organizations to develop a network of mentors. Our common goal is to reinforce the study skills required for academic achievement while providing character guidance that will help them become accountable and contributing members of the community. The YWAP Program focuses on both students and mentors, underscoring the need for the whole community to be engaged in learning as measured by student achievement and expanded community partnerships.
YWAP will mentor students in middle school through college by way of building positive relationships through interactive presentations in classrooms, assemblies and leadership camps. Through positive peer influence and mentor guidance, we will empower young people and mobilize them to work with adults as a team involving them in the process of social change.
YWAP will develop partnerships with other organizations to identify a mentoring program for every Buffalo School student. We will facilitate Mentor Education to ensure acceptable Mentoring Standards that are in accordance with the goals of the Buffalo Schools and the Buffalo Community at large. All children are gifted and a unified community will benefit by helping children reach their fullest potential.
Menu of Collaboration
1 Group Mentoring
- After school or in the community)
2 Mentor -Education A. All Mentors associated with the Mentor Force Program will be Certified Mentors.
B. Mentor Education will be offered to individuals and organizations through seminars and workshops.
3 Leadership Camps
- Mountain Wilderness Treks
- Community Service
- Future Leader Camp
- All students will be made aware of the need for expanding Mentoring Programs.
- A select group of students will be given the opportunity to become Peer Mentors.
- Mentor development will be encouraged through partnerships with area colleges and high schools as an elective for the community service requirement.
- Collaborative relationships will be formed with community organizations and business leaders who are willing to share their expertise with students.
A bridge between children and the community.
The new paradigm of mentoring is cooperation based and ever evolving to meet the needs of an increasingly expanding education community. Traditionally, mentoring has been accepted as a developmental relationship between an older, experienced person and a younger person who is lacking life experience. In this new cooperation based paradigm shift, mentors have stepped into the role as a team member with teachers.
The increased expectations placed on teachers through higher learning standards have diminished the teacher's ability to adequately cover life skills. By partnering with a Classroom Mentor who reinforces the regular core curriculums as well as introducing life skills, the students will be better prepared academically and socially.
Different Types of Mentoring Programs.
Mentoring - Helping people become learners who guide others.
LGM - Large Group Mentoring (Assemblies that are connected to other ongoing mentoring programs.)
CRM - Classroom Mentoring (In school during regular class time.)
SGM - Small Group Mentoring (After school or in the community.)
IM - Individual Mentoring Traditional one on one mentoring.
PMM - Power Moment Mentoring -Addressing the current emotional need of the mentoree.
There are different types of Mentoring Programs:
Large Group Mentoring is done through assembly programs that are related to other ongoing character education efforts within the school. A good way to jumpstart any life skills program is through an assembly that generates interest, understanding and enthusiasm. A good assembly leader will introduce the Teacher from the school. Life skills are taught through a Mentoring Curriculum that is combined with a core subject or any other school component.The Mentor helps to reinforce the Educational Curriculum while combining it with Life Skills instruction.
Small Group Mentoring (SGM) can happen almost anywhere. Examples of SGM would be: After School Programs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, youth groups etc.
Individual Mentoring Relationship (IMR) is a one on one match between individuals. Many organizations have excellent track records in this type of Mentoring.
All Mentoring components in the Mentor Force Menu of Collaboration are designed to be in partnership with one another as a team based approach. YWAP Mentoring initiatives will be focused on the model of Wraparound Mentoring. All children deserve to be surrounded by caring and compassionate adults who use traditional methods of encouragement as well as creative and nontraditional methods.
Consistent with our Mission Statement, all Group Mentoring programs will focus on education and the formation of positive human relationships. School assemblies, classrooms and after school programs are core components within the Group Mentoring curriculum. Audience participation during the program followed by opportunities for question and answer sessions are necessary supports for all programs. At the completion of each program, survey will be completed with the goal of obtaining helpful information regarding the thoughts, opinions and needs of the students. Several surveys will be given during classroom sessions and after school programs.
Each individual program will have a clearly stated objective and purpose. Assembly programs should make students aware of ongoing opportunities for students to become life long learners. An ideally structured format connects the assembly with other activities in the classroom or afterschool programs. Each school has a climate that is unique unto itself. All Mentors will regularly seek out school personnel and ask about any current events that unique to the schools culture. A Mentor is a Team Member with ALL SCHOOL OFFICIALS! This includes administrators, teachers and support staff. Everyone in a school building is part of the same team working together while putting CHILDREN FIRST!
Mentor Force is a Mentoring Collaborative comprised of partners who have a vested interest in the well being of children. That vested interest will include the desire to help children by becoming team members with school officials by:
1. Reinforcing the study skills required for academic achievement.
2. Providing life skills training aimed at helping students become self sustainable and contributing members of both the student body and the community.
3. Providing hope through encouragement and self esteem building programs. Mentors will help students believe in themselves and their ability to reach an obtainable future that is ever changing with new opportunities.
4. Developing students with an understanding of the benefits of continuous and unlimited education. All students should strive to become life long learners.
5. Cultivating an atmosphere of awareness that establishes the recognition that all students should give back by becoming Mentors themselves.
A Brief Overview of the YWAP
Relationship Mentoring Program
Youth With A Purpose is beginning our 12th year of serving young people in Western New York. YWAP Relationship Mentoring begins with interactive discussions in the home, community center, classroom and in the neighborhood. The program builds throughout the school year eventually leaving the classroom and heading into the wilderness areas of the Adirondack Mountains. The students will be taught life skills that are applicable in the classroom and in the great outdoors. They will climb the highest mountains in New York and learn how to climb the highest mountains in life.
Our YWAP facilitators are trained Character Education Specialists who are passionate about teaching healthy relationship skills. Most of the topics covered cannot be discussed during regular classroom sessions due to the teacher’s responsibility to deliver curriculum based material that the students will be tested on. Instruction time is precious for a teacher. YWAP stresses the importance for each student to strive to do their best academically. Making sure our students feel valued in the learning process, we invite them to be willing participants. All mentors are teacher/students capable of guiding and learning from each other during the relationship building process.
Students need time to explore the issues that so heavily impact their lives. The fruit from these group sessions is found in Peer to Peer Mentoring. Most young people think that the whole world is on their shoulders and nobody understands them. When they open up and share their fears and pain, they find that there is almost always somebody else going through the same problems. Some will be encouraged to seek help in the form of counseling. We encourage them to not keep their fears and worries all “bottled up” inside. There is freedom in opening up. Stress and pressure are relieved. They feel better knowing that we all deal with the same issues and that they are not alone.
How To Raise Grades
and Reduce Suspensions
YWAP Relationship Mentors are trained in Power Moment Mentoring. By building personal relationships with the young people that we mentor, we develop the ability to recognize the emotional state of the present moment. There is a cause and effect for each emotional moment. A student, who has learned how to deal with emotional stress and pressure, will have more freedom to focus on academic achievement. We mentor one moment at a time.
All YWAP programs are centered on positive peer influence.
· Our After School Program features healthy eating, physical activities, counseling and tutoring. Our Program on the West Side of Buffalo is open year round.
· Our In School Program works in the classroom during labs, study halls, Social Studies and Health Class in a positive peer group session. We also involve the students in assemblies.
· The YWAP Speakers Bureau includes individuals who speak about: HIV/AIDS, Addiction, Prison Experience, Suicide, Fatherhood, Teen Pregnancy, Gangs and other subjects relevant to young people.
· We have many Leadership Camps throughout the year.
· We take small groups on Wilderness Treks into the Adirondack Wilderness Area to climb mountains.
· We partner with the Administration and Faculty in identifying academic needs as well as behavioral intervention and prevention.
· Topics covered include: Peer pressure, conflict resolution, goal setting, bullying, decision making, self accountability, personal relationships, entrepreneurial skills and study habits.
· When needed, YWAP is involved in every aspect of a young person’s life. We are with them at home, in school and in the neighborhood. We attend their athletic events, court sessions, counseling sessions, family events and any other event that helps us wrap that young person in a safe environment, physically, mentally and emotionally.
· YWAP offers workshops for organizations desiring to become certified in Relationship Mentoring.
At YWAP, we help young people become leaders
who climb the mountains of life.