The Power of Youth Mentoring

How Building Relationships Strengthens the Fabric of A Community

Children benefit greatly from positive interactions with adults, and can gain confidence, skills, knowledge, and experience from close relationships with caring and involved adults. In addition to relationships with parents and other family members, relationships with mentors help to give children and teens these same things. Mentors – dedicated and caring adults who enjoy spending time with and supporting children – help to provide a non-parental positive adult influence in their mentees’ lives and support children in gaining confidence, making healthy choices, developing positive relationships, and discovering new interests and opportunities for learning.

Childcare of the Berkshires’ Youth Mentoring Program offers just such an opportunity to children and adults in the northern Berkshires. Adult community members who join the program voluntarily are matched with interested children (ages 8-14) in a 1-1 or small group activity-based mentoring environment. Relationships are built through shared experiences by playing games, making art, learning and playing sports, and participating in other engaging and low-pressure activities.

For youth participants, the program offers lots of fun, in addition to the added benefits that building a mentor-mentee relationship provides. For adult participants, the program offers a way to build relationships with youth and help to strengthen the local community. Additionally, adult participants have as much potential to learn from the experience as youth participants do. Volunteer mentors will gain valuable experience in developing relationships with children, will learn to better understand the developmental characteristics of the age group involved in the program, and will learn how to share their appreciation for activities, skills, and topics with children.

Participants in the program meet at local community organizations once every week, and all mentors are screened, trained, and supervised in order to ensure that all participants are able to benefit from the program. For more information about the program or to sign up – either as a mentor or a mentee – check out the links below and contact Diane Morris, Youth Mentoring Program Coordinator, at dmorris@ccberkshire.org or 413-663-6593.

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