Who are we? A school-based youth mentoring program that began at McNear Elementary School in 2000 and as of December 2016 serves 381 children at 16 Petaluma schools and 1 Novato school. We recruit adult volunteers from the community and match them in mentoring relationships with children at risk of not succeeding in school and in life; children who need a listening ear and someone “in their corner”. The Petaluma City Schools, Old Adobe Union School District, Waugh School District and Novato Unified School District provide in-kind donations of facilities, utilities and custodial for the Mentor Centers. We are a non-profit, community-based organization.
What does it take to be a mentor with Mentor Me Petaluma? Be available to volunteer one hour a week during the school year. Be available to make a two-year commitment to the program. Mentors receive initial orientation and on-going training. Experienced mentors and counselors are available to consult. Mentor Center Coordinators make the best mentor match possible and pro-vide on-going supervision and support to the mentorships.
What would I do as a mentor? Mentors spend time talking, reading or playing games with their child. Some help with schoolwork if needed.
Why do children need mentors and how is this program good for the whole community? Typically, at-risk children have difficulty focusing in school, their attendance and participation may be low, their behavior often disrupts the classroom and playground, their nutrition, hygiene and sleep habits are often poor and they lack self-confidence and resilience. They may drop out of school, join a gang, begin drinking or using drugs at an early age, or indulge in other risky and self-destructive behavior. Mentoring has proven to help in all these areas. Not only are the children helped, but the mentors report great satisfaction in their mentoring role. The community becomes more cohesive with these cross-generation and often cross-cultural relationships.
Where does funding come from? Donations come from a mix of local individuals and business-es, which also give in-kind donations of goods and services. Foundation grants are an important source of income. The State of California no longer supports mentoring programs financially. Federal money has been greatly reduced over the past five years. *Businesses can also contribute by allowing employees time off work in order to volunteer as mentors or as other support staff.
How can I help? YOU can support this valuable non-profit organization by volunteering or making a financial or goods/services donation.