The Foundling’s Youth on the Rise program allows young people in foster care to create transformational relationships with caring mentors – and create strong bonds that can last through high school, college, and beyond.
The program is novel in a few key ways: young people not only meet regularly with their mentor one-on-one for support and guidance, but have the opportunity to collectively decide upon and participate in enriching group excursions throughout the city.
Adolescents and young adults in care often need support, guidance, and community. The program is tailored to the unique needs of this population, and provides encouragement and resources so these young people can achieve academic, vocational, and personal goals – while also immersing them in new experiences and building a strong peer community.
January is National Mentoring Month – we’re excited to take the opportunity to highlight this amazing program, and showcase the dedicated staff and participants that make Youth on the Rise possible.
What does mentoring mean to them? Hear in their own words:
“Mentoring means being able to build a relationship with youth and being able to provide them with resources they might not usually have access to. We specifically assist youth transition into young adults through advocacy and helping them learn to advocate for themselves.”
– Tiana, Mentor
“For me, being a mentor means being a positive role model who helps youth both see and achieve their full potential. It means that regardless of what is going on in the world around us, I am a safe space that will listen without judging, educate without belittling, and advise without parenting. In my role, I’ve had the opportunity to advocate for specialized services for my youth, ensure that students graduated on time/were promoted to the next grade, and offer support throughout the pandemic. I help youth navigate through adulthood and growing pains, while providing them with the cheat codes to success.”
– Ayana, Mentor
“Being a mentor means being able to give to the youth of today what I received when I was their age. For me, it’s all about the ability to help guide them, instill wisdom, be understanding, and provide consistency and acceptance. Every day, I assist in shaping the youth of today, one person at a time. I allow them to make their own decisions based on what’s best for them and advocating for them where needed. I once had a mentor during my time in high school and they guided me through so many rough patches. Without them, I would have gone into social services or would have found the career I have. I owe everything to my mentor for believing in me and providing me with wisdom.”
– Jose, Mentor
“A mentor to me is an individual who provides guidance and support in developing the mentee’s goals and skills. However, being a mentor in foster care, you are that and much more. Since you are able to connect with the youth consistently, it helps promote a positive role model in their life. Many of our youth have not experienced a consistent adult in their life, so for our youth we are more than a professional development resource point. We are their safe space that helps them strengthen their voice and be heard.”
“As a mentor, I have been able to embrace our youth on a different level that has taught me more about myself. We all need support from time to time and our kids are no different. Being their mentor has taught me to be patient and loving.”
– Khristian, Mentor
“Having a mentor means that there will always be someone there to help you with your work, support you, and give you fun activities.”
– Michael, Participant
“Having a mentor means having someone who guides me, gives me advice, and helps me with my goals and future.”
“Having Khristian as a mentor is inspiring and beneficial because Khristian is another support system. [With Youth on the Rise], I’ve went to American Dream Mall, bowling, cooking class, and to Prospect Park. When we were on these trips, Khristian took time to get to know me more and check on me to see how my week had been.”
– Marquise, Participant
“Khristian has been a great inspiration for Marquise. Khristian is kind, easy to talk to, and a young man I admire. I wish we had more young men like him (he reminds me of my son).”
– Cassandra, Foster Parent