The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce that 12 organizations have recently been awarded grants through the Foundation’s Community Partners program for the second and third quarters of 2014. Community Partners are change agents within human services that are either delivering innovative care or developing new ideas and models for doing so. They are results-oriented, leveraging resources and knowledge to positively impact individuals and communities and transform society’s vision of and approach to its most vulnerable members.
St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children (Dorchester, MA)
GRLZradio.org Youth Development Program
GRLZradio.org, a program of St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, is an innovative after-school and summer youth development program that builds teen girls’ self-esteem, job skills and leadership capacity and provides them with a platform to address gender stereotypes and media influences through radio broadcasting and community workshops. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support program expansion, allowing the number of girls served at studio headquarters to increase from their current 50 girls to 95 girls in 2014 and 115 in 2015.
International Child Resource Exchange Institute (San Francisco, CA)
Project Commotion – Kids in Motion Scholarship Program
Project Commotion—which is fiscally sponsored by the International Child Resource Exchange Institute—is a community space where children, families and educators are invited to learn and grow together through movement, sensory experiences, and play. Project Commotion is committed to serving children of all abilities and has developed specific curricula for children living with autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing disorders, cerebral palsy, and trauma. Special education support and assistance navigating the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) process are among the services provided to families. In 2014, Project Commotion’s Kids in Motion Scholarship Program will offer 70 scholarships for low-income children and youth to participate in at least one semester of their innovative movement programming. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will cover 15 partial scholarships.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star (Irving, TX)
Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star is the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in the world. They provide 3 types of mentoring programs to high-school students in the northeast region of Texas: Community-Based Mentoring, where the volunteer Big goes to the child’s home and takes the child into the community, School/Site-Based Mentoring, where all match contact occurs during the school day at the Little’s school, and mentor2.0, which uses structured email exchanges to enhance the match relationship between adult mentors and high school student mentees, focused on helping the 9th-12th grader do well in school, as well as on college preparation and career exploration. The grant from The Foundation will support program marketing, volunteer recruitment, screening and training, and case management for these youth.
Community Rowing (Brighton, MA)
Adaptive Rowing Program
Community Rowing is a public rowing club on the Charles River in Massachusetts. CRI offers coaching in safe, challenging and supportive rowing programs for individuals with special needs, including spinal cord injuries. Their Adaptive Rowing Program will serve approximately 300 individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities over the course of 2014; of these, 200 are youth ages 12 and older and 100 are adults and military veterans. On-water rowing will be offered 3 days per week during the spring, summer and fall. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will enable CRI to increase their number of weekly adaptive rowing sessions, indoor training opportunities with physical therapists, and to continue their one-to-one “buddy rowing” system; pairing adaptive athletes with volunteers so they may row on their own schedule.
Nativity Preparatory School-Boston Inc. (Jamaica Plain, MA)
Graduate Support Program – College Persistence
Nativity Preparatory School provides low-income middle school boys from Boston’s inner-city neighborhoods with an affordable and accessible educational alternative to the traditional public school. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will allow the school to continue offering college transition and financial aid workshops to graduating high school seniors, in addition to supporting the continued growth of a mentoring program that enables alumni to forge relationships with professionals in fields of interest to them.
Roca, Inc. (Chelsea, MA)
Roca is an outcomes-driven organization dedicated to transforming the lives of the most high-risk young people ages 17-24 (street, court, and gang-involved; drop-outs; young parents; refugees; and, immigrants). Roca’s Intervention Model is a cognitive-restructuring and skills development intervention that was developed and implemented to address this high-risk, underserved population. Using the Intervention Model, Roca helps young people move out of violence and poverty over two years with two additional years of supportive follow-up. The project starts with intensive outreach to reengage young people and build relationships that support change, offers programming that meets young people where they are, operates basic and advanced transitional employment, and works with the city of Springfield, several criminal justice partners, and other organizations. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will enable Roca to provide intervention services to 200 very high-risk young men from Springfield, Holyoke & Chicopee, MA in 2014.
SquashBusters (Lawrence, MA)
School Support Initiatives
SquashBusters (SB) uses the sport of squash in combination with academic enrichment, community service, and high school and college counseling to contribute to the long-term health, happiness, and success of its students. SB students in grades six through nine participate in programming 3-4 times per week, and continue to receive support from the program throughout college and beyond. SB School Support Initiatives help prepare students in the Lawrence, MA area to be successful in middle school, high school, and college by providing essential academic support. A grant from The Foundation will impact daily academic programming for 56 students.
YMCA of Orange County (Tustin, CA)
YMCA Youth Mentor Fostering Program
The YMCA of Orange County Foster Youth Mentoring Program provides supportive role-models to nearly 110 current foster care children annually, through two distinct services: FunDays and Academic Mentoring, each offering different levels of involvement for volunteers and foster children. The program serves children ages 6-17, children currently or formerly living in licensed foster care homes or in kinship care. A grant from The Foundation will assist the YMCA in providing a case manager to work on behalf of the foster kids, their families and volunteers. The case manager is vital to the Mentoring Program as this individual coordinates and communicates with the foster family, social workers and volunteers to ensure success for all involved.
Warrior Canine Connection (Brookeville, MD)
Therapy Dog Training Program
Warrior Canine Connection‘s (WCC) goal is to provide highly skilled, purpose-bred service dogs that will provide years of enhanced mobility, social support, and independence for injured veterans. WCC trains the dogs for a 2 year period before permanently placing them with a veteran. A grant from The Foundation will go toward making the program more widely available to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
Windrush Farm (North Andover, MA)
Equine Assisted Activities for Individuals with Disabilities
Windrush Farm is committed to helping children and adults with a broad range of disabilities excel through equine assisted activities. Through a dedicated staff, a devoted team of volunteers, a diverse curriculum and carefully selected and trained horses, Windrush programs are designed to encourage, challenge and motivate participants. These programs focus on improving flexibility, balance, strength, coordination, self-confidence and autonomy. Weekly therapeutic riding lessons are offered to individuals, and hippotherapy is offered for children who are too young or whose disabilities do not allow them to participate. Summer programs for at-risk youth and children with special needs are also offered. Children learn to ride and care for horses, help tend the vegetable garden, tend chickens, clean stalls, feed horses, and participate in reading/writing programs with volunteers. In addition to these groups, Windrush serves veterans (both as riders and volunteers) and participants of the Best Buddies program. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used to help cover program expenses, particularly the costs incurred to maintain 25 horses.
Partners for Youth with Disabilities (Boston, MA)
Partners for Youth with Disabilities provides Boston youth the opportunity to develop a meaningful mentoring relationship with an adult. Mentors in the program, many of whom share similar disabilities with the youth, serve as invaluable role models who have already successfully navigated the challenges of becoming independent. At a minimum, participants commit to one year, meeting in person at least once a month and communicating by phone or email once a week. As a result of their participation, youth participants are expected to advance in one or more of the following five desired impact areas: independent living, motivation and self-esteem, community involvement, healthy relationships, and vocational development. Funds from The Foundation will be used to support the Mentor Match Program’s 2014-2015 goal of creating 45 new matches while supporting existing matches.
Camp Shriver at Stonehill College and Camp Shriver at UMASS Boston (Boston, MA & Easton, MA)
Camp Shriver uses sports to promote the healthy eating habits and social wellness for children with and without disabilities, ages 8-12. In 2014, Camp Shriver at UMass Boston and Stonehill College will serve a total of 160 children from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Boston and Brockton for a four week camp experience. With the addition of a second site at Stonehill College, now in its second year, Camp Shriver will be able to serve 60% more children in 2014 than was previously possible with the UMass site alone. A grant from The Foundation will support 10 campers for one week of camp: approximately 6 campers at UMass Boston and approximately 4 campers at Stonehill College.
For more information, visit the Community Partners section of our Charitable Foundation website.