Here at D.A. Blodgett - St. John's we offer many different mentoring opportunities in the hopes that we can support those who need it most. As a mentor, you have the ability to make a lasting difference in the lives of children, young mothers and families.
The goal of the program is to engage, empower and equip youth with knowledge and skills to realize their unique potential and place in the world.
- The Mentoring Services program provides trained adults to support identified youth and young adults through individual, group and community-based mentoring, focused on developing the assets they will need to be healthy, competent, confident and successful.
- We help youth, aged 10-20, who are considered at-risk; this includes those in residential treatment and foster care, as well as those who have experienced other adverse childhood events (ACEs) known to disrupt healthy development. In addition, we serve young moms up to age 25 who need encouragement and support with parenting.
- Services are community-based and include one on one relationships in which a participant is matched with a specific mentor to work on and support social-emotional, academic, life skills or other identified issues, as well as group mentoring, in which a group of participants facing similar issues work together with one or two mentors over a period of time to develop skills and knowledge in a particular area such as healthy relationships, employment skills, academics, life skills or pro-social activities.
Who Are Our Mentors
Mentors at DABSJ are volunteers who provide mentoring to promote healthy parenting to young moms and support to kids ages 10-25. Our mentors are adult volunteers who commit to supporting someone in need.INQUIRE HERE
Community Based Mentoring
- Mentors meet with the youth in the community at least twice monthly.
- Youth in the program are between the ages of 10-20 years old and must qualify for the program (through a screening process done be a Mentoring Services worker).
- Each match is goal-focused that allows mentors to help their youth develop in areas such as academic success, social skills, and emotion regulation.
- Matches are supported by full-time Match Specialists that provide a minimum of once monthly contacts
If you would like to volunteer as a community based mentor, or would like your child enrolled to have a school-based mentor, contact us at 616.451.2021.
Mentoring for kids in school is so important.
Sometimes kids have difficult things going on at home which affect their academic performance, social interactions, and self-esteem. Mentoring in the school setting improves grades, builds confidence, and encourages kids in other areas of their lives.
As reported by teacher and volunteer surveys, most matched students show great improvement, while volunteers experience personal satisfaction.
- Mentors meet one on one with students at their school for one hour each week, for a minimum of one school year.
- Mentor matches occur during the school calendar only, and only meet on school campus
- Mentors help students grow in areas such as academic success, social skill development, and learning healthy responses to emotions. (social, emotional, and academic support)
- Mentors and their youth build a friendship and may partake in school work, studying for tests, and developing other skills by playing games, doing crafts, and other activities during their hour.
- Ongoing social work and school support is available throughout the duration of the match.
If you would like to volunteer as a school based mentor, or would like your child enrolled to have a school-based mentor, contact Sydney Balsitis at 616-774-4302 or email gro.jsbad@sitislabs.
Foster Care Mentoring
DABSJ has approximately 40 foster children on the waiting list for a mentor. These children either reside in a foster home or residential setting and have experienced abuse or neglect in their life. When a child is removed from a birth family, children’s connections to friends, neighbors and families are affected. All of the children on our waiting list are eager to have a mentor in order to have a safe friend they can rely on.
Is my child/foster child eligible for this program?
- Children need to:
- Be between the ages of 10 and 20
- Reside in Kent County
- Be under court jurisdiction as an abuse/neglect ward
Is mentoring a foster child a good fit for me?
- Volunteers need to:
- Be able to commit at least one year from the initial match date
- Commit 4-6 hours each month (bi-weekly visits are encouraged)
- Partner with the child’s caseworker/therapist to advance the child’s development
- Have an understanding of the impact of trauma on a child’s development
- Be patient, empathetic and flexible
If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, contact us at 616.451.2021.
Young Moms Program
- Free mentoring program for girls who are pregnant or parenting up to age 25.
- A mentor will spend 6-8 hours a month providing support and encouragement.
- Your mentor will help you understand pregnancy, parenting, and child development.
- Your mentor will encourage you as you pursue an education, look for a job, and form healthy relationships.
- You will set goals with your mentor and social worker and complete them during your match.
For details on this program, click here.
Youth in Business
Our workplace mentoring program makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers and youth. The program also improves the odds that youth in our programs will perform better in school, avoid violence and illegal activities, have stronger relationships with their parents and peers and succeed as adults. Mentors help youth further education beyond high school as well as assist in entering the workforce.
- Complete application, enrollment interview and training on-site at company.
- Complete background check and reference checks.
- Be able to volunteer the entire program year.
- Be consistent – attend at least 80% of sessions.
- Respond to monthly surveys and program evaluations to help measure impact of program.
How it works:
- Nine month, youth mentoring program.
- On-site at company in common area.
- Students transported to corporate office.
- Curriculum-based, structured sessions coordinated by DABSJ staff and school social workers.
- Company employees are matched with students based on personalities and preferences.
- Sessions include development related to the areas of relationships, education, community, leadership, finances, employment and nutrition.
- Semi-monthly, 1.5 hour sessions schedules toward the end of the workday.
To get Youth in Business at your workplace, contact Elizabeth Frendo at 616.774.0185.
In the Peer2Peer Mentoring Program, high school students are trained and then paired with elementary students to teach them life and behavioral skills over a 14 week course.
Mentors help students:
- build relationships
- take ownership in their school and community
- work on emotion regulation
- take leadership in school
- navigate healthy relationship
- develop positive coping skills to utilize when they get upset
Peer2Peer Mentoring is a program funded by a grant through the Grand Rapids Foundation Youth Grant Committee. This program is unique because we are the only COA accredited mentoring program in West Michigan.
Benefits of mentoring programs include:
- supportive, healthy and often life-long relationships
- less risky behavior
- less risk of abuse or neglect