The MSUE 4-H Youth Mentor Program has provided mentor services to Macomb County youth since 1991. We match qualified adult volunteers with Macomb County youth in need of guidance, encouragement, and direction. The goal is to prevent youth from becoming more deeply involved with the Court systems. We are a prevention program, proven to save county tax dollars by diverting youth from more costly levels of care and intervention.
MSUE also offers after-school peer mentor service-learning programs. High school students (mentors) are matched with elementary or middle school students. Mentors gain an understanding and commit to the value of community service and civic involvement and assists mentees to improve their academic, family and social relationships. Adult volunteers are trained to facilitate these programs.
The 4-H Youth Mentor Program is open to interested Macomb County youth who are 8-17 years of age who are just beginning to show at-risk behavior. They must not be actively involved with street gangs. Youth in our program typically display the following behaviors or needs: status offenses, school or home truancies, first or second offenses in retail fraud, have low self-esteem, are easily led by others, have impulsive or immature behavior, and are lacking positive direction. They can be referred by parents/guardians, Department of Human Services staff, and Macomb County Juvenile Court Probation and Diversion staff. Youth known to be violent or in need of higher levels of care (residential treatment or hospitalization) are not referred to the Mentor Program.
Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Mentoring program carefully recruit, screen and train adults who volunteer to work with young people. Prospective mentors go through a background check, including a Protective Services check and provide three references. They are also required to attend initial training after their reference and background checks. Mentors must be 21 years and older, can be male or female, and come from various ethnic, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds. Mentors meet with their youth a minimum of two hours per week for 12 months. There are monthly group meetings for support. All of them have a genuine desire to help youth move in more positive directions.
Mentors provide troubled youth with one-to-one support and guidance. Once a mentor is matched with a youth, the mentor will initiate educational and recreational experiences while helping the youth achieve goals established jointly by the youth and mentor. This is accomplished by regular in-person contact and telephone support. Mentors have a wide range of abilities and interests. The MSUE Staff will make an assessment of the youth's needs and match the youth with the most appropriate mentor available. MSU Extension is committed to provide support to Macomb County schools and communities interested in developing locally-based mentoring programs.
If you would like more information about how to become a mentor for a child or start a mentor program in your community, contact Dequindre Bell at (568) 469-5979 or firstname.lastname@example.org