Danielle Delgado (left), Friendly House’s Director of Child, Youth and Family Programs and Melissa Richford, FH After School/Summer Camp Coordinator
By Danielle Delgado
We’ve always believed that being young was one of the easiest jobs you could have, but over the last several months this has proven to actually be one of the hardest jobs, when growing up in Worcester. The city has been plagued with a streak of youth violence which is killing community morale and has become painfully too close for comfort for many families and individuals this year. This violence has caused many organizations to stop and rethink their plans and collectively come up with ways we can better serve our youth, community and city.
The Friendly House is actively working on providing its youth with positive programs and activities which help to promote positive growth and development and have a focus on youth violence prevention. The newest of these programs is its I Too Mentor Program. The goal of this program is to prevent youth from engaging in risky behavior by providing them with a positive mentor who will engage them in a variety of positive activities and experiences, which will encourage them to reach their fullest potential.
The I Too Mentor Program matches up youth ages 13-17 with a one-on-one mentor who they can relate to. The mentors are successful individuals who have once lived the same lifestyle and had similar experiences to the youth they will now mentor.
The pair (mentor/mentee) will be engaged in numerous structured and unstructured activities over the course of ten months. Some of these activities include: Retreats, Sporting Events, Civic engagement activities, Career Development and Volunteer opportunities. In addition to these activities the pair will also participate in one-on-one time and a Job Shadow Day.
Starting next month the I Too will serve youth from all over Worcester.
The program will primarily serve youth who are referred to the program from the Worcester Public School System, DCF and the Juvenile Court System but will be open to any youth who wants to be involved. The mentors for this program come from a variety of different backgrounds, experiences and careers. The strength of this program will come from the passion, dedication and experience of those who are involved.
Friendly House is still looking for individuals to get involved in this program (Mentors/Mentees/Donors). For more information on how to get involved in the I Too Mentor Program please call me – 508-755-4362 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org