Volume III | April 15, 2020
Week 3: The Mentor Program
In This Issue of the Building Roots Lunch & Learn:
  • What is a Mentor & Why are They so Important to RFLB?
  • A Short (but Important) History of the RFLB Mentor Program
  • RFLB True Story: An Interview with Kyleigh
  • Urgent Needs: Join our Roots!
What is a Mentor & Why are they so Important to RFLB?
Definition of a Mentor: a wise and trusted counselor or teacher

Mentors play an essential role and come in all forms. Especially for those without parents or family members in a primary role, a mentor or supportive, trusted adult can make all the difference in a person's life.

Like the foster dad, who finally got through to Josh Shipp in this 3 min. condensed version of his Tedx talk. Josh was very troubled and 6 months away from graduating high school when his new foster dad said the words that ultimately dramatically altered the course of his life...

" When are you going to get it through your thick skull, I do not see you as a problem, I see you as an opportunity."

Or, like in the following article: I was born into foster care. A mentor would have made a big difference in my life. the author writes about her adoptive single mom, and then later, a boss who both played a critical mentorship role in her life.
A Short (but Important) History of the RFLB Mentor Program
In January, just five days after we moved into the RFLB space, 9 potential mentors and 7 youth nervously walked through our doors for our first Mentor Meet & Greet event with the hopes of making some long awaited matches.

After dinner and a laughter-inducing game of Two Truths and a Fib, everyone began to relax. After that, the youth went table to table, each group of potential mentors asked either a prepared question or started conversations of their own.

A silent room at the start of the meeting was quickly transformed into one filled with lively conversation and even more laughter.

It was amazing to witness a group of vulnerable strangers let down their guard and really reach out to one another.

After that night, RFLB effectively matched 6 youth to a mentor. These relationships, although still young and delicate, are already having a profound and positive effect on both the young adults and their mentors alike.

The Mentor Program at RFLB is the result of many months of hard work, collaboration and support between Brevard Family Partnership, Youth Thrive, Smile for Budgie and most important, a group of courageous foster youth transitioning to independence: Brevard Youth Leadership Council (BYLC). As you'll see in the video featuring John and Rayla, both from BYLC, these young adults exemplify the inspiring mission of BYLB..."to advocate for youth and young adults through "voice and choice" to improve the system of care.
You're sure to be inspired as you learn more about BYLC and hear the incredible testimonies from John and Rayla about the valuable role their mentors played and continue to play in their lives.

And this is sure to make you wonder....

How do I become a Volunteer Mentor?
Due to COVID-19, our in-person mentor interviews, background checks, orientations, trainings, and Meet and Greets are oh hold.

However, if you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Mentor, click here to access the Volunteer Application. Please return your completed application to corrie.dunkin@readyforlifebrevard.org so we can add you to our list of prospective mentors.

Until then, be encouraged by these amazing youth and those already in our community who have stepped up to be in it with them for life. And know you are already helping by sharing in these stories and experiences to build lasting bonds and a stronger, more compassionate community.
RFLB True Story
An Interview with Kyleigh:

Tell us a little about yourself: What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What are you hoping to accomplish in the future?

"I’ve always been very good at almost anything I put my mind to. But I fall short when I don’t ask for help and lose sight of my goals when I’m not able to do everything on my own. My greatest weakness would be keeping quiet. Keeping quiet about my needs and where I want to be. I wish to accomplish obtaining my GED, and getting a college education in a branch of the medical field. I haven’t quite figured out what branch but some times you just have to put your feelers out first."

What made you decide you wanted a mentor?
"I decided I wanted a mentor because really, my most trusted friend and partner, Pam Bress, told me it would be a good idea so I went with it. Being that I’ve had bad experiences in the past with DCF, I was hesitant but it ended up being way more helpful than I thought."

How long have you had your current mentor?

"I’ve had my current mentor for I think 6 months or so."

Is having a mentor what you expected? Why or why not?

"Having a mentor is more than what I was expecting. She never gives up on me. And I’ve never had that before. No matter what I can count on her to make sure I’m in good spirits."

Would you recommend the mentor program to a friend or peer?

"Absolutely. I have. I've given out many business cards in hopes that they’ll one day become part of our family."

Do you see RFLB as a good thing for other foster youth in transition?

"I see this as a LIFE CHANGING moment for foster youth. Being in foster care just knocks your hopes down so far, you dig yourself into holes that nobody is there to help dig you out of so at the time you really don’t even care. With Ready for Life, it’s a second chance, a saving grace. It gives you all the hope back that you lost in the system and motivates you to be a functioning member of society.

When I was in the system it seemed like my goals were out of reach, impossible if you will. Ready for life pulled the wool out from over my eyes and made me realize that my goals were sitting right in front of my face, not only that, but that they were going to help me get there too. I don’t know where I’d be without this amazing program."
Join our Roots!

A onetime donation of $500 or monthly donation of $50 matches a youth to a mentor or tutor for weekly support. Donate on our secure website by clicking the donate button below.

Or click here to see the URGENT HELP NEEDED!  list of needs and instructions about donations and please feel free to share!

Thank you to all past and present donors! We are hearing constantly from our clients how grateful and encouraged they feel with the community support you've provided so far!