HACKENSACK, N.J. — Adult volunteers are needed to serve as mentors to children, ages 5-18, through the Bergen Volunteer Center’s Mentoring Youth program in Hackensack.
The next three-week Mentoring Youth training program begins Wednesday, Jan. 27. Sessions are on consecutive Wednesday evenings, and trainees must attend all sessions for successful completion of the training.
For more than 30 years, the center has trained and supervised youth who are confronted with adverse challenges at home and in life, and are experiencing social, emotional and behavioral problems. Mentors serve as positive role models; provide guidance, friendship and support; and advocate on behalf of children when necessary.
The training is from 7-9:30 p.m. at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, 64 Passaic St., Hackensack. Mentors show children a different perspective, expose them to unexplored opportunities and help them to build trust.
According to a study by Big Brothers/Big Sisters, youth who regularly meet with a mentor are 52 percent less likely than peers to skip school and 46 percent less likely to use drugs. Additionally, they are 33 percent less likely to hit someone or to start drinking. By sharing fun activities and exposing a youth to new experiences, mentors encourage positive choices, promote high self-esteem, support academic achievement and introduce young people to new ideas.
Volunteer training is provided at no charge and covers such topics as the benefits of mentoring for volunteers and children, child and adolescent development, understanding child maltreatment, effective listening and communication skills, building rapport and developing strong mentoring relationships, the role of the mentor and the matching and closure process. Applicants are required to undergo a comprehensive background check and must obtain written letters of recommendation as part of the training course.
For more information about the program, contact Eva Tobias at 201-489-9454 X209 or click here .
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