May is National Foster Care Awareness Month
Mentoring relationships are powerful for all young people, particularly those seeking connection. For youth in the foster care system, the presence of a supportive mentor has great potential to establish stability and widen a young person's network of support.
to read MENTOR's research review of effective practices within programs working with youth in foster care.
to read MANY's blog series highlighting the
many ways that mentoring can support youth who have been impacted by the foster care system.
In celebration of this month, VMP would like to highlight the work of program partner Empty Chair Mentoring Program. The program
connects teens in residential care, foster care, or independent living with supportive volunteers in order to ease transition to adulthood with permanent relationships. Program Coordinator Michelle Warren recalls some inspiring stories of connection between volunteers and mentees:
"Many teens that have been in foster care do not have any positive family members in their lives. One girl we had been working with for about a year had aged out of foster care and was living in an apartment independently when it was time for her to graduate high school. Four of our mentors came to her graduation [picture above]. We have maintained a relationship with her and still talk to her weekly, she is older now, and we are planning a baby shower for her in the Fall!"
Empty Chair Mentoring Program is currently receiving VMP's technical assistance consulting services through the National Mentoring Resource Center. Michelle shares,
"The TA experience has been very helpful with access to resources, learning about best practices, and sharing knowledge from how other similar programs work." The VMP team is proud to provide support to grow the impact of EC's meaningful work!