The MENTOR Network

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The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation Announces Q2 FY 2015 Community Partner Grant Recipients

The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce that 10 organizations have recently been awarded grants through the Foundation’s Community Partners program for the second quarter of 2015. 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.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – Institute for Families (Los Angeles, CA)

Pediatric Preparation Program: Preparing Children and Teens for Eye Surgery

The Institute for Families’ mission is to provide counseling, support, information and advocacy to at-risk youth and low-income families when there has been a diagnosis of cancer or other diseases that may impact vision.  The Pediatric Preparation Program: Preparing Children and Teens for Eye Surgery, is an important component of their comprehensive, family-centric services. The Institute assists low-income families before and after surgeries at the pediatric oncology department of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), counseling families and answering questions, and they are at their side when physicians deliver news after surgery. The Institute works closely with pediatric oncologists and the Vision Center at CHLA to ensure that each family is fully informed on their child’s diagnosis and treatment options. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used to assist in continuing to provide counseling, education, and support services to children and their families when a child has to undergo surgery.

Lied Discovery Museum (Las Vegas, NV)


Lied Discovery Museum’s YouthWorks program makes a lifelong impact on at-risk youth (14-22) by providing job readiness workshops, trainings, homework support and on-the-floor, “real life” work experiences as volunteers and paid internships. This is done through their interaction with exploratory, scientific and technical exhibits, museum professionals, and museum visitors. All activities are offered in the multidisciplinary museum, located within Las Vegas. A grant from The Foundation will support approximately 160 at-risk teens through this program during the 2015-2016 year.

Families Helping Families of Iowa (Cedar Rapids, IA)

Spread Your Wings Program

The Spread Your Wings Program was implemented by Families Helping Families (FHF) to provide scholarship funding for children in family foster care to gain self-confidence by supporting their participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, art, music lessons, dance, gymnastics classes, martial arts, Special Olympics, and summer camps. Many foster care families encounter financial challenges—often the “extras” have to be bypassed to make way for necessities. Because of this, FHF created the Spread Your Wings Program to allow these deserving children the opportunity to participate in positive activities. Qualifying expenses include program and membership fees, supplies, equipment, special uniform costs, graduation fees, and more. Feedback from parents include: financial relief, positive social interactions, improved physical fitness, self-confidence, teambuilding, and camaraderie. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support additional scholarships for these youth during 2015.

Opportunity Village (Las Vegas, NV)

Food Service Training Program for Nevadans with Intellectual Disabilities

Through vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, arts and social recreation, Opportunity Village (OV) offers citizens with disabilities a chance to realize future career paths, seek independence and community integration and unleash creative passions. The Food Service Training Program is a unique vocational training program that builds upon OV’s Community Employment Opportunities Program. Its curriculum was designed in collaboration with the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas to meet the southern Nevada hospitality industry’s needs. Skills training is customized to meet the learning styles and varied abilities of adults with intellectual disabilities. Participants will learn food preparation, basic cooking and baking skills, banquet setup and breakdown, line service, and banquet service at OV’s two commercial-grade kitchens. They will also learn important life skills such as nutrition, grocery shopping, money management and healthy food choices. Job opportunities will be developed with business partners who will hire program participants. OV will also offer follow-along services to help ensure employment success. Funds from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will go toward items necessary to provide hands-on food service, food preparation and cooking instruction. These items include cutting boards, bowls, pots and pans, utensils, knives, gloves, aprons, and food.

Hyde Square Task Force (Jamaica Plain, MA)

Paths to College and Career Young Men’s Initiative

Hyde Square Task Force delivers high-quality programming to develop the skills of youth and their families so they are empowered to enhance their own lives and build a strong and vibrant community. In the coming year, the Task Force’s Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) will engage 50 young men of color who are enrolled in the Paths to College and Careers Program (PCCP) in honest conversations, trusting relationships, and civic engagement projects. Through this program, participants will become inspired to pursue more ambitious personal and educational goals, and develop commitment to good citizenship and community involvement. Through weekly tutoring and mentoring sessions, youth in the 9th-12th grades are given the opportunity to improve their grade point average, so that they can successfully graduate high school and enroll in college. Throughout their high school career, they will learn about the college application process and receive assistance and encouragement with deciding on a field of study, learning about various programs, as well as help filling out applications, prepping for college admission interviews, and especially financial aid applications. A grant from TMNCF will support program expansion of the Young Men’s Initiative.

Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester (Dorchester, MA)

Project B.I.N.D

Project B.I.N.D. (Boston Inclusion Network for Disabilities) is an initiative at the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester, Massachusetts designed to encourage the educational and social enrichment and advancement of children with special needs. Together with a network of partners, the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester provides access to exceptional after-school programs and activities while nurturing the full inclusion of children of all abilities. The grant awarded by The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will help support services to 110 youth during FY15.

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 2015; 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.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of 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.

St. Mary’s Center for Women & Children (Dorchester, MA) Youth Development Program, 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 allow the program to update broadcasting equipment and enable program expansion.

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 250 very high-risk young men from Springfield, Holyoke & Chicopee, MA in 2016.

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