Here at D.A. Blodgett - St. John's we offer many different mentoring opportunities in the hopes that we can support those who need it most. This program is unique because we are the only COA accredited mentoring program in West Michigan. As a mentor, you have the ability to make a lasting difference in the lives of youth, young mothers and families.
Who Are Our Mentors
Mentors at DABSJ are volunteers who provide mentoring to promote healthy parenting to young moms and support to kids ages 10-25. Our mentors are adult volunteers who commit to supporting someone in need.INQUIRE HERE
Learn about our mentoring programs!
- Mentors meet with the youth in the community at least twice monthly.
- Youth and young adults in the program are between the ages of 10-20 years old and must qualify for the program (through a screening process done by a Mentoring Services worker).
- Each match is goal-focused that allows mentors to help their youth develop in areas such as academic success, social skills, and emotion regulation.
- Matches are supported by full-time Match Specialists that provide a minimum of once monthly contacts.
If you would like to volunteer as a community based mentor, or would like your youth enrolled to have a community-based mentor, contact us at 616.451.2021.
Young Moms Program
- Free mentoring program for teens and young moms who are pregnant or parenting up to age 25.
- A mentor will spend 6-8 hours a month providing support and encouragement.
- Your mentor will help you understand pregnancy, parenting, and child development.
- Your mentor will encourage you as you pursue an education, look for a job, and form healthy relationships.
- You will set goals with your mentor and social worker and complete them during your match.
For details on this program, click here.
Foster Care Mentoring
These youth either reside in a foster home or residential setting and have experienced abuse or neglect in their life. When a youth is removed from a birth family, children’s connections to friends, neighbors and families are affected. All of the youth on our waiting list are eager to have a mentor in order to have a safe friend they can rely on.
Is my child/foster child eligible for this program?
- Youth need to:
- Be between the ages of 10 and 20
- Reside in Kent County
- Be under court jurisdiction as an abuse/neglect ward
Is mentoring a foster child a good fit for me?
- Volunteers need to:
- Be able to commit at least one year from the initial match date
- Commit 6-8 hours each month (bi-weekly visits are encouraged)
- Partner with the youth's caseworker/therapist to advance the child’s development
- Have an understanding of the impact of trauma on a child’s development
- Be patient, empathetic and flexible
Mentoring for kids in school is so important.
Sometimes youth have difficult things going on at home which affect their academic performance, social interactions, and self-esteem. Mentoring in the school setting improves grades, builds confidence, and encourages youth in other areas of their lives.
As reported by teacher and volunteer surveys, most matched students show great improvement, while volunteers experience personal satisfaction.
- Mentors meet one on one with students at their school for one hour each week, for a minimum of one school year.
- Mentor matches occur during the school calendar only, and only meet on school campus
- Mentors help students grow in areas such as academic success, social skill development, and learning healthy responses to emotions. (social, emotional, and academic support)
- Mentors and their youth build a friendship and may partake in school work, studying for tests, and developing other skills by playing games, doing crafts, and other activities during their hour.
- Ongoing social work and school support is available throughout the duration of the match.
Youth in Business
Our workplace mentoring program makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers and high school students. The program also improves the odds that youth in our programs will perform better in school, avoid violence and illegal activities, have stronger relationships with their parents and peers and succeed as adults. Mentors help youth further education beyond high school as well as assist in entering the workforce.
How it works:
- High School students will be transported to a company work site, during the school year.
- Sessions will take place on company property in a common area or corporate office.
- Each high school student will be matched with a company employee to work on skill development in the areas of leadership, finance, future employment and education.
- Each session is one hour in length, curriculum-based, structured and coordinated by Mentoring Services staff and school social workers.
In the Peer2Peer Mentoring Program, high school students are trained and then paired with elementary students to teach them life and behavioral skills over a 14 week course.
Mentors help students:
- build relationships
- take ownership in their school and community
- work on emotion regulation
- take leadership in school
- navigate healthy relationship
- develop positive coping skills to utilize when they get upset
Peer2Peer Mentoring is a program funded by a grant through the Grand Rapids Foundation Youth Grant Committee.
For information about Peer2Peer Mentoring, contact Elizabeth Frendo at 616.774.0185.
Mentoring Services currently has a partnership with Mel Trotter where we provide groups on a weekly basis.
These groups focus on a holistic approach to independent life skills as we serve the young men ages 18-25 in the YES (Youth Emergency Shelter) program.
Groups focus on applying for jobs, how to create a resume, obtaining housing, parenting skills, community impact, creating future goals and more.
If you are interested in learning more about the Mel Trotter partnership, or would like community based groups to partner with your organization please contact Elizabeth Frendo at 616-774-0185 or at gro.jsbad@odnerfe.
Did you know our mentors pay for their own background check plus all outing expenses? Bring an item from our wish list to Bowl for Kids to help offset these costs and provide new and fun experiences for kids in our programs! Wish list donors will receive one raffle ticket for each donated item.
- Restaurant gift cards: Encourage ours mentors and their matches to try new things by donating a $10-25 gift card to your favorite restaurant or sweet treat shop.
- Movie passes: Everyone loves to go to the movies every once in a while! Donating movie passes will provide a fun, laid back match activity for mentors and their matches in our program.
- Gift cards to local stores-$5-10 (book stores, Target, Meijer, malls etc.): Mentoring Services is a goal-based program! Gift cards to local stores are a great way to reward Youth/Young Moms and their matches when they complete a goal area and encourage them to make and complete even more goals throughout their match.
- Gas cards: Mentors make weekly trips to spend time with their match. Small tokens of thanks, like a $10 gas card, are encouraging reminders of appreciation for our volunteers.
- Amazon gift cards: Each mentor/mentee relationship is unique. We often suggest specific books, games and toys to our mentors when they are presented with new opportunities or challenges and would be grateful to be able to provide them with these items free of charge.