PCF has continued to encourage and facilitate innovative collaborations between nonprofits. Following the measurable success of the Stronger Together Collaboration for youth at-risk (FY14/15), PCF partnered with The Larry L. Hillblom Foundation to fund another collaboration serving vulnerable youth that included the participation of Mentor Me, Committee on the Shelterless, and the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County. The primary goals included:
- Maximizing mentor recruitment and reducing the waiting list for mentors
- Providing additional training to mentors about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and Resilience Building
- Including youth living in COTS’ residential housing in Mentor Me programs
- Promoting literacy and bonding through the availability of new, age-appropriate books
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Building Resilience Training:
2 training sessions – 80 mentors trained
ACEs are defined as experiences before the age of 18 that deeply impact a young person and profoundly affect emotional and physical health later in life. These experiences include any combination of the following:
- Emotional, physical or sexual abuse
- Mental illness or substance abuse in the household
- Loss of parent(s) to death
- Loss of parent(s) to incarceration
- Divorce or separation in the family
- Child witnessing abuse of a family member
- Severe neglect
- Attempted suicide in the household
Training in ACEs better equips mentors to effectively help vulnerable youth convert challenges into opportunities to build resilience while promoting positive choices, relationships, and activities.
Maximize Recruitment of Mentors:
25 new mentors recruited through the outreach efforts of COTS
Waiting list reduced from a high of 115 to the current low of 62
National research confirms the value and impact of mentoring with respect to decreasing the odds to initiate drug and alcohol use, skip school and hit someone
There are currently 274 ongoing mentoring relationships with a minimum two- year commitment.
Outreach to youth living in COTS’ Residential Housing:
- 25 COTS’ kids participated in Mentor Me group programs
- 3 COTS’ kids matched with a mentor
These kids were able to use the Student Lounge (with access to computers and printers), art room, and Mentee cafe at the Cavanagh Center, as well as participate in a “Sail for Science” field trip in San Francisco.
Promoting literacy and family bonding:
Books in the home are known to increase the educational level that children will attain, improve academic achievement, reduce the need for special education, increase employment and earning capacity, as well as reduce crime and delinquency.
Collaborations require the commitment of participating organizations to work together to consolidate resources and coordinate programming to maximize the impact of services delivered. PCF applauds the dedication of Mentor Me, COTS, and The Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County for successfully collaborating to enhance vital support for vulnerable children, youth, and their families.