Douglass Community Services Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program provides weekly mentoring to children ages 4-18 who have at least one incarcerated parent. These young people often struggle with the economic, social and emotional burdens of the incarceration and relationship disruption.
Our Mentoring Children of Prisoners program is designed specifically to provide mentors for one of the most at-risk groups of children. These children are prone to the same risks as other children, but are more likely to have witnessed criminal behavior and to follow in their parents' footsteps as a result.
It's clear these children need help. We believe Douglass Community Services is charged with personally helping them avoid the inevitable and devastating consequences.
We recognize there is no substitute for a parent-child relationship, but we also know the influence a loving, caring adult can have on a child. Our mentors invest in the lives of their proteges and over the course of the relationship, they break through tough, outer shells to touch hearts. We provide each at-risk child with a committed friend who creates opportunities for fun and growth.
Volunteer mentors are trained and certified. Special care is given to match mentors with a child to ensure a positive relationship extends for a minimum of 12 months. These young people are given an opportunity to develop a trusting relationship with a supportive, caring adult in a stable environment that can promote healthy values and strong families.
One of the biggest misconceptions about being a mentor is that it means being a perfect role model. What it really means is being a friend to a young person in need.
Contact us today at 573.221.3892 to become a mentor and begin changing the life of a child in need of a mentor like you.
If you know a child in need of mentoring services, regardless of whether they have an incarcerated parent, please call our office at 573.221.3892 for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How are a mentor and child matched?
A: Both mentor and mentee fill out an application that includes questions about your hobbies, favorite activities, etc. We review all of the applications and try to match people based on location and similar interests.
Q: Is training provided for mentors?
A: Yes, we have a comprehensive orientation for all new mentors
Q: How do you choose mentors?
A: Mentors apply to Douglass Community Services and are thoroughly screened through:
- A one-on-one interview.
- A criminal background check.
- Record checks.
Q: How do we meet?
A: The first meeting is scheduled by the Project Specialist and is usually held at Douglass Community Services office or a local meeting area. This gives you both a chance to be introduced and say a little about yourselves without too much pressure. This meeting is also attended by the caregiver/guardian so they can meet the mentor as well.
Q: What if I don't feel a good connection?
A: This relationship is like any other friendship, it takes time to really grow into something special. Don't feel disappointed if you don't feel that special connection right away. However, if you are meeting regularly and don't feel you are matched well, please contact the Project Specialist, Elizabeth Richards at 573.221.3890 ext 243.
Q: What if I am uncomfortable talking on the phone?
A: Many people don't have time or don't like to talk on the phone but with all of today's technology that is okay! There are tons of other ways to communicate with your mentor: instant messaging, email, text messaging, mailing a letter, leaving message on voicemail, and any other way you can think of. Please ask your mentor before texting them to ensure they don't get charged by their phone carrier.
Q: Can my friends/siblings come with me to activities?
A: You should always check with your mentor before inviting anyone to activities. There may be a special occasion where your mentor does not mind a friend coming along but in most cases the day should just be about the two of you. It's hard to create a bond with your mentor when others are around.
Q: How long are you matched with your mentor?
A: Each mentor session lasts for one year and begins with orientation. Once a session is over, you can participate in the next session as long as the mentee is not over the age of 19.
Q: Who do I tell if I have an idea for a fun activity?
A: We would love to hear your ideas! You can call Douglass Community Services at 573.221.3890 ext 243 or you can also tell your idea to your mentor and maybe the two of you can do it together!