The pandemic has not stopped communities from preparing to start new mentoring programs. Since many of us are spending more time at home, it’s a great time to build a team so that they are ready to make mentoring matches either through virtual means now or in one-to-one settings when this current crisis subsides. Take a look at how three communities are moving forward:
Sullivan, Illinois: The Vineyard Church of Central Illinois had a vision to unify their town to reach the most vulnerable youth in the community. Although it would have been easy to keep the program within their church, they invited all the churches in Sullivan to join them in an effort to develop a safe, effective, and sustainable mentoring ministry. Five churches are now engaged in CAYM’s Gold Certification program to be trained to run a mentoring program in partnership with the school system in order to bring caring Christians into the lives of kids who are struggling to find a way to thrive. The schools are fully behind their effort as they see the need for their students to have intergenerational connections that will help them succeed.
Moultrie, Georgia: Like many small towns across the country, Moultrie is dealing with what used to be referred to as “city problems.” Drugs, poverty, and single parent households have affected every area of their community. Mission Moultrie and Titus Ranch have joined together to mobilize churches to make an impact on their school system. They are engaged in CAYM’s Silver Certification program and are now organizing their town by convening community stakeholders who want to strengthen Moultrie by connecting generations through mentoring. Although most of the organizing is through Zoom meetings, they are also interviewing kids, families, pastors, and community leaders to assess their strengths, needs, and aspirations. Through these efforts, they will work with CAYM to design the mentoring program and develop a strategic plan to start making mentoring matches in the spring.
Mississauga, Ontario: A group of African immigrants, all successful professionals, were concerned about negative influences on their youth. In this city bordering Toronto, they observed a culture that steered youth away from God and into unhealthy lifestyles where young adults were failing to realize all their potential. They formed Royal Youth for Christ to train young people in how to find God’s path in relationships, career, and marriage. What they lacked was the one-on-one connections where personal hopes and fears could be shared. They researched ways to make these connections and began to study mentoring. They determined that CAYM’s Bronze Certification program was the best path to train a volunteer team to make their mentoring efforts most effective. They are now engaged in our online training and will begin making their first mentoring matches this month. Their long-term goal is to help expand mentoring to other African diaspora communities in order to help their youth prosper as they connect to a new culture.
For more information on CAYM Certification programs, visit our website: CAYM.org.
-Peter Vanacore, Executive Director