The MENTOR Network

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The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation Announces FY18 Community Partners Grant Recipients

The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the organizations that were awarded grants through the Foundation’s Community Partners program for fiscal year 2018. 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.

Birmingham Children’s Theater (Birmingham, AL)

Education Programs for Children

Birmingham Children’s Theater produces high-quality theatrical entertainment and provides arts education for children and families. Its mission is to educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of children through the magic of professional theatre. It performs for over 90,000 Alabama students in grade K-12 each year and offers acting and performance classes for children of all ages. One of its goals is to make the arts available to all students, regardless of ability to pay. Support from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used for scholarships for children placed in foster care in Alabama to participate in its educational programs.

Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester (Boston, MA)

Project BIND

The Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester, Massachusetts, provides a safe place for children to learn, grow, develop ongoing relationships with adult professionals, and receive positive developmental experiences. Its Project BIND (Boston Inclusion Network for Disabilities) is an initiative designed to encourage the educational and social enrichment and advancement of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Along with a network of partners, the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester provides access to afterschool programs and activities while nurturing an inclusive environment for all children. The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation supports Project BIND and its programming for youth.

Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)

Citizen Advocate Academy

The Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota (BIA MN) provides support to Minnesotans affected by brain injury. BIA MN advocates, provides case management, educates, and provides volunteering opportunities for people affected by brain injury in Minnesota. The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation grant will support BIA MN’s Citizen Advocate Academy. The program teaches effective advocacy skills and encourages participants to share personal stories with policymakers. Advocates learn about the law making process and how to craft stories into effective messages.. Participants have opportunities to use their skills by calling and writing to legislators, meeting with policymakers, and attending events at the state capital.

Children’s Museum of the Upstate (Greenville, SC)

Sensory Friendly Saturdays

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate seeks to be a leader in innovative family activities, a learning center, and a compelling community attraction. The museum has identified a great need in the area for recreational opportunities for children and teens with special needs. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support the museum’s Sensory Friendly Saturdays program, a monthly event where all museum programming will be tailored for individuals with special needs. Through Sensory Friendly Saturdays, the museum provides an educational space tailored to individuals’ needs, giving them and their families the opportunity to learn, explore, and play in a comfortable environment.

Community Rowing, Inc. (Boston, MA)

Youth Para Rowing

Community Rowing (CRI) is a rowing club on the Charles River in Massachusetts. CRI’s Youth Para Rowing program offers safe and supportive coaching for youth with physical and intellectual disabilities. CRI spreads awareness for further inclusion within the sport of rowing and the program has drastically increased participation from youth with disabilities and serves more than 400 athletes. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support an expansion of the coaching team, equipment upgrades for the program, and CRI’s new six-week teen para rowing program.

Doc Wayne Youth Services (Boston, MA)

Chalk Talk Therapy Group

The Doc Wayne Youth Services’ mission is to fuse sport and therapy to support and strengthen youth at risk. Based in Boston, MA, it provides sport-based group therapy to youth at risk and victims of trauma. The program challenges traditional talk therapy by using sport as a delivery vehicle and by altering the perception of clinicians by turning them into coaches. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support the organization to accept more participants off their waitlist.

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (New Orleans, LA)

Soul Strings

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performs more than a hundred performances each year and offers music education programming throughout Louisiana. Support from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used to support Soul Strings, a music therapy program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in partnership with the Arc of Greater New Orleans, for free to its participants. Soul Strings participants are encouraged to attend open rehearsals of the full orchestra.

Mental Illness & Neurological Disorders (MINDS) Foundation (Boston, MA)

Integrating Mental Health into Primary School Curriculum

The Mental Illness & Neurological Disorders (MINDS) Foundation provides high-quality, cost-effective mental healthcare to rural India. There are barriers to mental healthcare, including stigma and economic burden, and The MINDS Foundation works to break down these barriers.. The program is delivered to adolescent youth, and the teacher education program is delivered accordingly to educators. In addition, funding is used for proper data collection in order to validate the program’s effectiveness as well as improvement of their evidence-backed program.

Oak Hill (Hartford, CT)

Center for Relationship and Sexuality Education

Oak Hill provides a range of services to people of all ages with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1888, Oak Hill uses its successful track record of services to support its Center for Relationship and Sexuality Education (CRSE). CRSE produces and provides access to sexual health and safe relationship learning materials and support for adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. CRSE hopes that increased access to these materials will help people have healthier and safer relationships. The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is supporting CRSE to digitize its educational workbooks, translate them into Spanish, and make them available to the public for free.

Roca (Springfield, MA)

Roca’s Model of Intervention

Roca is an outcomes-driven organization dedicated to transforming the lives of young people ages 17-24 at risk. Roca’s Intervention Model is a cognitive-restructuring and skills development intervention that was developed and implemented to address this 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 includes intensive outreach to reengage young people and to build relationships that support change, offers programming to meet 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 supports Roca’s intervention services to 280 young men at high risk from Springfield, MA.

Shining Stars Foundation (Tabernash, CO)

Shining Stars: Next Chapter

The Shining Stars Foundation provides positive outdoor, recreational, and social experiences to youth with pediatric cancer and life-threatening illness and their families. The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is supporting the organization’s year-long Shining Stars: Next Chapter program. The retreat and mentorship program for young adult survivors of pediatric cancer provides tools and access to resources for participants to thrive in adulthood, including age-appropriate services that help tackle challenges they face as a result of long-term brain toxicity issues.

Special Olympics Arizona (Phoenix, AZ)

Unified Champion Schools

Special Olympics Arizona provides athletes of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities sports programs and competitions. Its Unified Champion Schools program activates youth to develop school communities where all students foster respect, dignity, and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by utilizing the programs and initiatives of Special Olympics. Unified Champion Schools incorporate three Special Olympics programs, Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership, and Whole School Engagement, while empowering all participants to be agents of change in their school and local communities. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation supports the program to reach 250 schools, with 7,000 youth participating.

Via Rehabilitation Services, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA)

Planting the Seed

Via Services has helped thousands of youth and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives through high-quality programs.  Via’s Roots to Employment program teaches horticultural and carpentry skills that can be integrated into the lives of the individuals served. It instills knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with successful gardening and carpentry. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support Roots to Employment. Participants will work in small groups with peers and program instructors to identify new carpentry and horticultural projects and will visit potential employers for tours and discuss employment opportunities. The program’s goals include to further build participants’ confidence to apply for paid employment or meaningful volunteer roles in the community.

About the Community Partners Program

For more information, visit the Community Partners section of our Charitable Foundation website.