The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce that eight organizations were awarded grants through the Foundation’s Community Partners program for the first quarter of 2016. 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, leverage resources and knowledge to positively impact individuals and communities, and have the power to transform society’s vision of and approach to its most vulnerable members.
Best Buddies, Inc. (Boston, MA)
Best Buddies Massachusetts Middle School and High School Project
Best Buddies Massachusetts (BBMA) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development. Funds from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used to support existing Best Buddies chapters at 80 high schools and 21 middle schools in Massachusetts during 2016.
CASA Project (Worcester, MA)
Youth Court Advocacy Program
The CASA Project will receive funding from The Foundation for their CASA/GAL (Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian ad Litem) Court Advocacy program. Funds will be used to support the recruitment, training, and supervision of volunteer CASA/Guardians who will advocate for behavioral and mental health services on behalf of older youth.
CASA volunteers also work to provide life skills support to youth aging out of the foster care system. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of children and youth that the CASA Project serves over the past four years, and they are now serving 608 youth aged 11-17. CASA has made a concerted effort to work with more teens over the past few years and seeks volunteers (specifically, male) who have the appropriate experience and/or expertise managing challenges such as the drug use, truancy, and crime that affect this demographic. New volunteer recruitment efforts will involve expanded outreach to local police departments, high schools and youth groups. CASA will work with these groups directly to identify the most effective methods of engaging their most-qualified personnel with youth in need.
CO/LAB Theater Group, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY)
Spring Theater Classes and Performances for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
CO/LAB Theater Group (Creative Opportunities without Limits And Boundaries) is a non-profit dedicated to providing Creative Opportunities without Limits And Boundaries. CO/LAB offers approximately 200 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts. With the help of a grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation, CO/LAB will provide four free classes (two acting and two musical theater) for individuals with developmental disabilities that will culminate in a public performance in the spring of 2016. The intended result of this workshop series is to increase self-awareness, socialization, communication and confidence, so that participants can lead a more fulfilling life outside of the classroom.
Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (Boston, MA)
Girls age 6-13 enrolled in FaB Factor, a program through the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts (GSEM), participate in a series of program modules throughout the academic year focusing on four themes: health and wellness; finance and business; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and leadership development. An estimated 600 girls from at-risk communities will participate at approximately 25 FaB Factor program sites in Boston during the 2015-2016 academic year. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used to underwrite costs associated with FaB Factor program implementation and execution, including program supplies and costs associated with field trips.
Greater Las Vegas Inner City Games (Las Vegas, NV)
After School All-Stars “We Are Ready” Program
The mission of After-School All-Stars Las Vegas (ASAS) is to provide free comprehensive after-school programs that keep children safe and help them achieve success in school and in life. ASAS provides opportunities for disadvantaged, low income youth to participate in an array of quality programs that build skills and confidence. Their “We Are Ready Program” is a middle-to-high school transition and drop-out prevention program for students who are at risk of dropping out of the education system. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will enable ASAS to expose approximately 50 students to unique and beneficial opportunities by taking them on four field trips to businesses and organizations within the Las Vegas Valley, where students can learn about a diverse array of potential career paths.
Olive Crest (Riverside, CA)
Olive Crest’s Project Independence is a transitional housing and independent living skills program for youth who emancipate out of the foster care system. Youth aged 18-22 are provided with housing, food, and basic needs to prevent homelessness as they build skills for independent living. Participants also receive case management and counseling, including support completing high school, planning for college/vocational training, getting a job, learning life skills, and building healthy relationships. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used toward the expansion of services in La Quinta, CA.
OPARC (Montclair, CA)
Disabled Youth Employment Project
OPARC was designed to transform lives by providing training, employment, and support to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will allow OPARC to expand their range of services in 2016 to meet the needs of a new population: youth with disabilities. Partnering directly with a high school in San Bernadino County, OPARC’s Disabled Youth Employment Project will provide individualized job development and placement services for 10-15 high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities at a time when they are beginning to consider their futures post-graduation. In addition to educating and training these youth, staff will also help to connect them with a safety net of resources within their community.
X-Cel Education (Jamaica Plain, MA)
The mission of X-Cel is to make high school completion and college-level study more accessible to low-income adults in Greater Boston by providing flexible, customized instruction at no cost in convenient community locations. The Pathways-to-Careers initiative is focused on serving unemployed and underemployed young adults aged 18-25 who lack a high school credential. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will enable 25 at-risk individuals to complete vital education credentials while participating in career-readiness skill development activities, career exploration, goal-setting, work-place site visits and job shadowing accompanied by classes and tutoring for the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam.
About the Community Partners Program
For more information, visit the Community Partners section of our Charitable Foundation website.