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Feature Story

August 2013


The Y Expands Mentoring Program

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YMCA of the USA, the resource office for the nation's 2,700 YMCAs, announced the expansion of its Building Futures Mentoring Program, which connects kids and teens with adult mentors for 12 to 18 months. Through a $4 million grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the Y is expanding the service area of the mentoring program from six to 38 states by the end of 2013.

Nearly one in five youth live in poverty and are at risk of falling prey to crime, drugs and other hurdles that could keep them from reaching productive adulthood, obtaining an education and successfully entering the workforce. Research shows that youth are more likely to succeed with the support of a caring adult. The Building Futures Mentoring Program, led initially by the YMCA of San Francisco, is designed for youth ages 6 to 17 who lack role models and are in communities challenged by poverty, crime, truancy and single parent households, among other social issues.

"Providing support and guidance to youth embodies the Y's cause of strengthening community by nurturing the potential of every child and teen," said Jorge Perez, VP of Youth Development, Family Enrichment and Social Responsibility at Y-USA. "Thanks to the support of OJJDP and the leadership of the YMCA of San Francisco, the Y will help more teens develop relationships with caring mentors, families and schools, leading to higher achievement and a brighter future."

Founded in 1992 by the YMCA of San Francisco, the Building Futures Mentoring Program was recently piloted at five additional YMCA associations. The pilot program served more than 1,400 youth mentees each year and upon participating in the program, youth reported that they improved their school grades and social skills, and developed higher expectations from themselves.

As part of the program expansion, the Y will recruit and train adult volunteer mentors to provide direct one-to-one mentoring services and create safe, healthy and meaningful relationships with youth. Mentors and mentees will participate in service projects, field trips and other engaging activities.

For more information, visit www.ymca.net.