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Preventing Homelessness Through Mentoring

Trusted Mentors is a non-profit organization that provides volunteer mentors to adults at risk of homelessness, ex-offenders re-entering society, and young adults aging out of the foster care system.

Last feed update: Saturday January 16th, 2021 05:42:41 PM

Trusted Mentors, Equity and Inclusion - from a mentor's perspective

Saturday December 12th, 2020 02:32:32 PM

 The term "equity" addresses not just a leveled playing field; that is "equality", but rather an acknowledgement that a person, or group of persons have had systemic barriers placed in their path that cannot be remedied simply by removing the barriers.  If someone has a shackle on her or his ankle, then simply moving them to the same "starting line" where everyone else begins the race isn't equity.  It may be "equality" in the generic sense of the term, but not equity.  Moving them to the same starting line as everyone else AND taking off the shackle is how we achieve equity for those who have been heretofore disenfranchised.

Whether someone has recently been homeless, is a youth transitioning to adulthood, or a formerly incarcerated individual attempting to reintegrate into society, acknowledging the inequity that they face, and working to rectify it is something that TM has done masterfully.  Simply getting employment, or a place to live, or reuniting with estranged family members isn't equity.  Those are certainly steps in the right directions for an individual, but there are additional services a person from one or more of those categories will need in order to move to a more equitable space.  Empowering the person through financial literacy once they have employment.  Offering mentorship in the area of parent/child relations will assist them when reconnecting with family.  Teaching/advising on rights and responsibilities when a person has their own place to live.  These are all ways in which TM works to create equity for its mentees.  Lack of access to financial literacy, stunted knowledge as it relates to parenting, and a generational naivete regarding the care of one's home are all among the many root causes of inequity.  Addressing these dynamics in the way that I know TM does, is key to achieving equity.  

This article appeared in The Criterion, a newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Thursday October 1st, 2020 03:55:06 PM

 https://www.archindy.org/criterion/local/2020/08-28/corrections.html

Corrections Corner / Ed Witulski

Trusted Mentors aims to help offenders re-enter society

Ed WitulskiRe-entering society from prison often presents a series of obstacles that are difficult to overcome, so people give up.

Since its founding 16 years ago, Trusted Mentors has responded to a vital need in Indianapolis to help people in poverty and at high risk of homelessness achieve stable housing and progress to self-sufficiency.

We provide trained, volunteer mentors to adults at risk of homelessness, ex-offenders re-entering society, and young adults aging out of foster care.

We train, assign and support volunteer mentors to enable at-risk adults to stabilize their lives and succeed in reaching new goals. We partner with multiple agencies in Indianapolis that serve those at risk of homelessness and provide mentoring for the adults they refer to us.

Trusted Mentors is the only agency in Indiana to offer mentoring to at-risk adults. On average, over the past five years, when the relationship lasted 90 days, 95% of our mentees achieved stable housing, and 90% of ex-offenders did not re-offend.

Trusted Mentors has continued to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mentors have helped their mentees file taxes, learn how to receive and spend their stimulus checks, plus provide important human relationships.

One mentor, Charles, says he has had more contact with his mentee than ever before. “Arlonzo is opening up more. He’s a cool dude in search of putting his life back together and is doing great at Ivy Tech.” Arlonzo is a young adult involved in the criminal justice system and is working to move forward with his life.

Brent and his mentor Bob were matched in mid-2018 as Brent re-entered society after decades in prison. He wanted a mentor because he had been out of society for a long time, and knew it would be hard going back. Bob shares that Brent has, “never missed a day’s work while having to get up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the bus and walk several blocks from the bus line to be on time at 8 a.m.”

Brent set a budget, including saving 10% from every paycheck for unexpected needs such as helping his mother pay for an emergency medical service. Brent has improved employment with the goal of moving into better housing and establishing stronger family ties.

Bob says, “This kind of ‘goal setting’ strategy is why I am proud of Brent. He is a humble man willing to do what it takes to establish the life he wants for himself and his family. He is succeeding because he isn’t letting his history define his future.”

Bob adds, “Whenever I ask him what during his time in prison gave him the positive attitude he has toward the future, his response is always, ‘during my first 10 years I spent 24/7 trying to figure out how I could do what I did without getting caught. Then one day I thought, what a waste of time! What I should be doing is something that would keep me from coming back once I get out.’ ”
 

(Ed Witulski of Trusted Mentors is a member of the archdiocese’s Corrections Ministry Advisory Committee. A member of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis, he invites you to meet with him to discuss mentoring by calling 317-590-6970, or e-mailing ewitulski@trustedmentors.org.)


Tuesday July 28th, 2020 04:33:47 PM

On occasion, we like to share how our mentees have succeeded after their relationship ended.

In 2015, Tonya was introduced to Sipho and Sipho's young son, Leroy. Immigrants from Zimbabwe, they were waiting at the Salvation Army Shelter for documentation.

Sipho had experienced violence and trauma in both her home country and the refugee camps. Tonya and Sipho both remember Sipho’s tears, shared during their time together. And they remember the accomplishments, such as a degree from Ivy Tech in dental hygiene. Tonya and Sipho were matched for two years, then Tonya started mentoring other women. Since then, Tonya has stepped up to act as a lead mentor for other mentors.

Recently, Sipho reached out to Tonya to share her excitement that she’s now employed, married, and her son graduated from high school! Because Tonya is a realtor, Sipho and her husband wanted to know more about how to purchase a home in the future. Tonya was again able to steer her friend towards resources that can help her prepare her finances.

And Sipho shared that she doesn’t cry anymore like when they first met each other.  Her life is stable and happy, and she has hope for the future. We wish her and Leroy great success in the future!

We can overcome life’s tragedies with the help of a friend

Tuesday June 23rd, 2020 06:09:44 PM
People decide to mentor for many reasons. We asked Brenda to share her story, because we know her passion and caring.  She wants the women she mentors to succeed. She not only mentors with us but she does bible study in the women’s prisons.  She also chose to join the board and help build up Trusted Mentors to succeed into the future. Here’s Brenda’s story:   

I didn’t go to college right out of high school as I was going to “take the year off and do my own thing”.  I was literally wasting my life away.  A friend of a friend came to my house, sat me down in front of my parents and told me that I was too smart and had way too much potential to waste.  He insisted that I go to college so he paid for my first semester of school – tuition and books!  He even went so far as to take me to school every day the first week to make sure I went.  Eventually I earned degrees in Business Administration and Theology and I was going to graduate but before graduation day came, my friend was murdered.  I opted out of walking across the stage to receive my diploma because he wasn’t going to be there to see it.  The celebration wouldn’t be as glorious.  

 Three months passed and I was scheduled to do chapel service with my pastor at the jail one Sunday and his murderer was ON THE FRONT ROW of the service!  I was angry.  I was furious!  How dare he sit there in jail?  (Silly, I know.  Hurt and anger are not rational) I refused to do the serve but my pastor wouldn’t have it – he made me serve anyway.  I’m grateful he did – he reminded me that service isn’t about me.  During that hour I saw the MAN – not the murderer - that was the act - what he had done – I saw the MAN – the broken, angry, scared, MAN.  A father.  A son.  A brother.  A nephew.  A grandson.  I prayed with him that evening.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done.  I didn’t tell him my story then but the chaplain apparently told him some time later and a few weeks later we briefly wrote back and forth and I told him my story.  He told me he made a mistake that will now affect him and his family for the rest of his life.  He told me he reacted in the heat of the moment and out of fear/panic.  He asked me not to let what he did destroy the good that my friend started in me.  He asked me to do something to help others – whatever that may be.  

 People ask me why I decided to become a volunteer mentor – this is why.  I do it to carry on the legacy of someone who believed in me more than I believed in myself; I do it to lift up and help someone who is struggling to rebuild their life after a mistake, addiction, tragedy or catastrophic loss.  I have learned that we can overcome life shattering tragedies when we have the support of a good friend; love is not color blind but honors and celebrates our differences and our similarities; people united and focused on a common goal are an unstoppable force.  

 I joined the board of Trusted Mentors for the same reason I became a mentor.  I truly believe in changing our city – one person at a time.  #changetheworld #mentorsmatter #trustedmentors  


The Impact of COVID-19 on People in Recovery

Wednesday April 8th, 2020 05:05:46 PM


Author: Mark O’Brien, RALI Policy Director

As part of our collective effort to keep ourselves, our families, friends, and neighbors healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must consider the impact the virus and our responses will have on people receiving treatment for addiction or in recovery. Simply put, the pandemic has the potential to alter the course of recovery and interrupt treatment, creating a new addiction crisis within this crisis. “Flattening the curve” and “social distancing” are the watchwords of the day, but recovery is about community, and community requires togetherness. Being apart and avoiding gatherings presents challenges for people receiving treatment and support for substance use disorder. For example, counseling for substance use disorder is often delivered in groups and usually offered in person. Similarly, federal regulations require many people being treated with medications for opioid use disorder to receive their medications in person, often on a daily basis. Not only that, people with substance use disorder may be especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 due to other chronic illnesses, such as heart, kidney and liver disease – all risk factors for the novel coronavirus.  Individuals with opioid or methamphetamine addiction are also more vulnerable to lung injury or death. Apart but not isolated It’s often said that “addiction is a disease of isolation, and recovery is about connection.” But what does that mean at a time of social distancing? Many in recovery rely on twelve-steps programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous or other self-help groups like SMART recovery that traditionally meet in person. Participants in these groups and others in recovery rely on each other to support and affirm their recovery. But complying with orders to limit gatherings to fewer than ten means closing down meetings and staying away from each other. Some meetings have moved online using videoconferencing platforms. Experts say that video conferencing or telephone calls, while not ideal, are preferable to texting, which some believe can create even more of this sense of isolation. Any way that people can stay connected, even if they can’t be in the same room, is a step in the right direction. Treatment at Home COVID-19 is also complicating access to addiction treatment, including counseling and medication. Group sessions and even one-on-one in-person counseling risks facilitating the spread of infection and negating the helpful impact of social distancing. Increased use of telehealth is one way patients can receive the care they need without creating additional risks to their health and the safety of their community. While most addiction counseling has traditionally been delivered in person, in recent years telehealth has been expanded to serve rural communities and other patients who lack access to in-person treatment. For patients who need or already receive medication-assisted treatment for addiction, social distancing presents practical challenges to medication access. Federal regulations generally require a physician to examine a patient in person before prescribing a controlled substance. Regulations also require some treatments for opioid use disorder to be administered in person at highly regulated Opioid Treatment Programs. For most patients, that means waiting in line for their dose on a daily basis. The concern would be that, patients will either continue to show up to receive their needed medication, putting themselves and others at greater risk of infection, or they will stop receiving medication and put their recovery at risk. Federal regulators have stepped in to make access easier. Under the national public health emergency declaration, DEA-registered providers may prescribe medications without an in-person examination. And the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is permitting states to make decisions on how to proceed with telehealth services. Conclusion We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, and we must all do our part to “flatten the curve” and ensure our health system is able to meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we keep our distance to avoid the spread of infection, we must think creatively about ways we can fill the gap to ensure patients with substance use disorder can continue to receive the services they need to stay healthy. Technology and regulatory flexibility are two tools we have available that are making a difference.


Announcing the 2020 LIFT Award winners to be presented at the Empowerment Luncheon!

Thursday February 27th, 2020 04:24:42 PM
Tickets are still available! 
Mickey Hollinquestwas nominated by his mentor, Mike Caskey.  Mickey is a graduate of the Changing Lives Forever program at St. Vincent de Paul and they were matched in early 2018.  Mike says “On our first meeting Mickey already had a list of goals made out all we had to do is to get everything in motion.” Since that meeting, Mickey has obtained a driver's license, which took a few try's but he never gave up. He became employed at Mission 27.  To get to work, he rode a bus plus walked an additional mile to get to the store. To this day he has not missed a day of work and because of his work ethic has become a favorite. Mickey saved enough money to purchase a vehicle and move into his own apartment. This past Christmas, Mickey got donations from family and his own pocket to buy gifts for children at Riley Hospital. He organized a few family members to wrap gifts and on Christmas Eve Mickey and his family delivered more than 40 gifts and stuffed animals for the kids at Riley. Riley Hospital has recognized Mickey for his efforts.
Mike says: “Mickey is a driven individual and only see's the good in people. When organizing the gifts for Riley Hospital he wanted his family involved to show them the importance of giving back. He is very conscious on succeeding in all of his endeavors and he wants everyone around him to do the same. Mickey has no quit or I can't in him.”

Brent Smith was nominated by his mentor Bob Tharp. They were matched in mid-2018 as Brent re-entered after decades in prison.  He wanted a mentor because he had been out of society for a long time and knew it would be hard going back to talking and getting to know real people. Bob shares that Brent  has “Never missed a day’s work, or was late for work while having to get up at 4:30 am to catch the bus & walk several blocks from the bus line to be on time at 8:00 am.” Brent set a budget, including a savings account of 10% from every paycheck for unexpected needs, such as helping his mother pay for an emergency medical service. Brent has improved employment with the goal of moving into better housing and becoming married to his fiancé in 2021.  
Bob says: “This kind of "Goal Setting" strategy is why I am proud of Brent. He is a humble man willing to do what it takes to establish the life, and the style, he wants for himself and his family. He is succeeding because he isn't letting his history define his future.  When I ask him "What" during your time in prison, turned you onto the positive attitude you have toward the future"? His response has always been the same, "During my 1st 10 years I spent 24 hrs. per day, 7 days per week trying to figure out how I could do what I did without getting caught. Then one day a thought came, what a waste of time! What I should be doing is something that would keep me from coming back once I get out".

The Community LIFT Award is presented to The Bail Project Indianapolis .  Since, its 2018 launch, the Indianapolis Bail Project posted bail for more than 275 people and its clients have returned to 95% of their court appearances.  The Bail Project was nominated by Manon Bullock because they deeply believe in the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.  In today’s criminal justice system, poor people can become victims of the system, not necessarily because they are guilty but because they can’t afford bail. They sit in jail while the ones who can afford bail get out. Then they might plead guilty to lesser crimes so they can at least go back home, resulting in a criminal record that could have been avoided.  The Bail Project is doing the hard work on the front lines by ensuring that people don’t have to sit in jail and lose their jobs and homes while they are awaiting trial. The Bail Project does this by providing bail money, offering pre-trial support by helping clients to find jobs and housing, texting them in-court reminders and in some cities, arranging for child care and transportation to reduce barriers that can prevent them from making it to their court date.

The Incredible Service of Trusted Mentors!

Monday January 13th, 2020 02:00:00 PM

I am thrilled to get the opportunity to describe the incredible service that Trusted Mentors provides to our community.  As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 2009 and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) since 2011, I have been consistently referring for all of their 15 years and have never been disappointed.  Jeri Warner used to be a one woman show.  She has successfully developed her program and staff to sustain that individualized person-centered approach.   Her staff is engaging and receptive throughout the process of mentorship.  They find strong mentors and do an exceptional job of linking mentors and mentees.  They are strengths-based and future-focused, taking on people in all stages of life, regardless of diversity factors.

Menteeship allows adults to build healthy relationships with safe peers.  This sounds simple, but is too often rare.  Individuals who have struggled with a serious mental health issue, an addiction history, legal issues, homelessness, trauma/abuse issues, limited educational opportunities, dysfunctional family or friends; or any combination have additional barriers to stable and mutual relationships.  In addition to having fun and trying new things, mentees will likely build skills in the areas of boundary setting, improved communication skills, and an overall increased empowerment through the consistent support and encouragement of being a mentee.

Mentorship allows a personal portal to a life likely different than yours, exposing you to life experience and diversity quite different than your own.  An opportunity for a greater understanding and empathy, while giving back and building up our community from the inside.  This relationship builds skills in active listening, engagement, managing differences in opinion, boundaries, and the necessity of self-care.

It is rare that a service can provide such differing benefits to both sides, but Trusted Mentors does.  My only wish for them is increased support and growth, as this resource is priceless to our community.  

Sincerely,
Stephanie DeMaris
LCSW & LCAC



Empowerment Luncheon 2020 Speaker Announced!

Thursday December 26th, 2019 07:48:31 PM

 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Registration - 11am | Lunch - 11:30am
NCAA National Office
700 W. Washington, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Trusted Mentors annual Empowerment Luncheon highlights an Indianapolis leader whose self-determination leaves an impact on our community.

Our 2020 speaker will be Carolyn Mosby, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council.  She will engage, inform and amuse the audience!




Carolyn E. Mosby is an author, executive and public speaker with more than 28 years' experience in the entertainment industry, corporate America, government and non-profit arenas. As a consultant Mosby represented numerous public figures, politicians, athletes, actors and entertainers, corporations and not-for-profit organizations, advising them on public relations, crisis communications, marketing, governmental and community affairs. In her role as publicist for one of the nation's largest African American cultural events, she's coordinated publicity for numerous celebrity guests.

Learn how mentors enable success at all levels and then see who receives the Trusted Mentors LIFT AWARD, which recognizes those who LIFT themselves to new heights! Be there to recognize 2 Trusted Mentors mentees and one community recipient.

Early Bird Tickets are $50 before January 31.

Corporate tables are available.
Contact Trusted Mentors at 317-985-5041.



Mentoring Young Adults

Friday December 13th, 2019 07:13:19 PM

Your donation can help us make an impact in 2020!

We had a powerful Recognition Night!

Friday November 15th, 2019 08:01:43 PM
We hold large group gatherings for food, information and sharing. Here are a few of the achievements that we recognized:

Ashlee for “for working hard to provide for her family” Brent “for doing more to facilitate your successful "Re-Entry" after incarceration than anyone I personally know.” Jamie “for preparing to go home (from work release) and having a plan of action to remain housed and employed.” Arlonzo “for spiritual and emotional growth; Job search with great success; Educational planning and strategizing; The re-start at community school with the intent to finish college degree.” Jon “for reaching many of his one year goals (in six months!). Has maintained a full time job and done many things to help his aged uncle. Even when job did not work out like he expected, he worked on other jobs. He has maintained a great attitude.’’ Steven “for achieving full time employment over the few months of mentorship, and he's maintained an optimistic and positive outlook throughout!” Darion “for being taken off of house arrest and starting electrician school soon.”

Mickey: "Mickey has been employed for more than a year with Mission 27. He has moved into a new apartment and purchased a new car. Mickey has achieved his goals in everything that he has been giving. Mickey can achieve anything that he wants."


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Why I Mentor

Monday October 7th, 2019 05:46:37 PM
Kristina Moorhead is Vice President of the Trusted Mentors Board and also a mentor. She shared this message at the Trusted Mentors Gala.

Some of us are fortunate to have the resources like a stable family and good education from birth, and others struggle to along life’s path trying to understand and attain what so many of us take for granted. The good news for those who may have struggled along the way is that it’s never too late to choose a different path and make a different choice.

I chose to become a volunteer mentor with Trusted Mentors because I believe that the one-to-one relationship with an adult leaving prison, transitioning from homelessness or aging out of the foster care system is a small, but powerful, way to change the world.
 
I was paired with my mentee, Marquisha, who recently left the Craine House work release program after being incarcerated. While incarcerated, she made the decision that she was done with how she had been living her life and was ready to make a change. She started by completing her GED in prison and continued to take CNA classes while she was living at Craine House and working full time. She now works in a nursing home and is continuing her studies to become a registered nurse.

She has done all of this while working to re-establish relationships with her children and using herself as a role model to guide them to make better choices.

In our mentor-mentee relationship, we have worked together to think through a one year, five year and 10-year plan to reach her goals, we’ve talked about needing a solid tribe of girl friends who are on the same life path as you to both lift you up and hold you accountable, and we’ve talked about how to manage grief when someone you love passes away.

While I’m the mentor in this relationship, Marquisha constantly inspires me with her motivation and grit to change her life, change her children’s lives and be a positive force of energy in her community.


This year Trusted Mentors is Celebrating our 15 year anniversary!

Tuesday September 24th, 2019 05:01:02 PM
Recently, we asked Elizabeth, one of our early mentees, share her experience with her trusted mentor, and how having a mentor made a difference. Here is her story:
Hello, my name is Elizabeth. I came to Trusted Mentors at a time in my life when I was struggling with so many things. Trusted Mentors surrounded me with people who cared about my well-being. They helped me with housing, among other things. I was connected to three mentors during my time with Trusted Mentors, they were all nice women. But there was one in particular who showed me how to be me. The mentor who helped me to truly believe in myself again was Jennifer, she really inspired me, and was always there to talk. To this day, we are still in contact. Trusted Mentors allowed me to experience different things, which I might not have been interested in otherwise. More than they may know, Trusted Mentors was a lifesaver for me.

It took some time, but I got it together. Today I am married and happy. Trusted Mentors played a big role in getting me to where my life is today.


A message from our Board President, Joe Nierman, about reaching 15 years of mentoring

Wednesday September 18th, 2019 04:54:34 PM
As board president of Trusted Mentors, I am so proud of the work we have done in the last 15 years. We have made a significant impact in the communities we serve, and none of it would be possible without our dedicated staff, mentors, board members, and volunteers. I also want to recognize all the local businesses, foundations, and individuals that have supported us financially. This has been a collective effort. Over the past 15 years, Trusted Mentors has seen a positive change in Indianapolis and communities all over the state. The greatest beneficiaries are the mentees who have made the decision to change their lives and have allowed Trusted Mentors to participate in their personal transformation. 

Thank you all for the hard work, sacrifice, generosity, and tenacity it takes to truly make change a reality.  Joe Nierman 


Will you help?

Thursday August 1st, 2019 01:15:07 PM


Thursday July 25th, 2019 01:14:08 PM
The value of mentoring! Our success rate in 2018. 


Anthony and Mike have found much to enjoy in their mentor match!

Thursday July 18th, 2019 01:10:38 PM
Mike is a 50-year-old pharmacy director. Anthony just graduated from the St. Vincent de Paul Changing Lives Class. Last August, Mike was matched with Anthony for a mentoring relationship.  Mike says he became a mentor because he “hoped to serve as a light in someone’s darkness.” He continues, “By doing this, I will be repaying all those who mentored me.”

Anthony recently immigrated from Nigeria, where he had only an 8th-grade education and was without a job. Anthony had three goals: to go back to school, attain employment, and meet people in his new country. So many new things caused Anthony great anxiety, to the point that he didn’t know how to move forward.

But, in the 10 months since Anthony and Mike have been matched, Anthony has exceeded his own expectations. With Mike’s support and encouragement, Anthony has found stable housing and a full-time job working as a home health aide. Anthony works long night shifts but still manages to attend school at the Excel Center, where he has perfect attendance and is at the top of his class. He is a faithful member of his church, which he attends three nights a week.

Anthony and Mike enjoy their friendship and have even exchanged cultural knowledge. Anthony is a lover of soccer, which is the most popular sport in Nigeria. Recently they went to an Indy Eleven soccer game where, to Mike’s enjoyment, Anthony taught him all about the sport. They hope to attend every sporting event that Indy offers. Likewise, Mike took Anthony on a tour of the governor's office state capitol building, where Anthony got to learn about Indiana’s government, even getting a chance to sit at the governor’s own desk.


Mike often says how much he enjoys mentoring, and Anthony always talks about how the two are a  perfect match.

Do you want to become a mentor?  Everyone we mentor is 18 and older. They are participating in homeless prevention or re-entry programs and desire a mentor. An initial 4-hour training and on-going support is provided. Mentors commit to 6 hours each month for a year to help another person achieve their goals. 

Fill out our volunteer application and we'll provide more information about training dates!

How do I become a mentor?

Wednesday March 20th, 2019 09:11:57 PM

People become mentors for different reasons. Some want to make a difference, build a personal relationship, or leave a legacy. 

As you learn about mentoring at-risk adults, know that mentoring can change you as much as your mentee. Our mentors learn as much as their mentee.  It’s a great adventure and one worth beginning.  

Our overall goal for Mentor Training is for mentors to be successful, and mentor training has been an important tool in Trusted Mentors’ rate of success.

The goals of Trusted Mentors Training is to: 
·         Help you make an informed decision about becoming a mentor. 
·         Explain the Trusted Mentors model.  
·         Explain how to be a successful mentor. 
·         Provide tools for building a relationship with the mentee. 
·         Present an overview of accessing social service resources useful to you and your mentee. 

Training is 4 hours long and held monthly in 2 hour sessions called Part A and Part B. 
Either part can be completed first. 
·         Part A (Chapters 1-4) covers the elements of successful mentoring and Trusted Mentors program policies to help you succeed. 
·         Part B (Chapters 5-8) covers “frame of reference,” obstacles to success, and tools to help another person achieve their goals. 

After completing training, a one on one interview is held with a staff person. This allows mentors to know staff and also helps staff make a good match. Mentors then commit to give 6 hours a month for a year to work one on one with another adult working to change their life.

The good news is that after a match, mentors receive on-going support with a staff person.  As Louise says, this person can be the wind beneath your wings!

Are you ready to sign up?  Complete a volunteer form and you’ll receive information about upcoming training sessions!



Your Donation Helps Trusted Mentors meet the need in 2019

Wednesday December 26th, 2018 07:42:21 PM
As we approach year's end, I am turning to you to make a financial donation to help Trusted Mentors continue this important work.  The needs continue to grow, as funding becomes tighter.  
Our end of the year goal is to raise $30,000. This is double the amount that we've raised in past years so every donation will make a difference towards achieving it! 

Can you help us mentor more in 2019?  The need increases to mentor more young adults as they become independent adults. The need increases to help more people successfully leave prison and become employed leading to the ability to give back. The need increases to provide a supportive mentor that helps people remain housed and not give up to return to the streets. 

There are multiple ways to make a donation. Please take the time to make this important contribution. You can: 


Or:
Text "Give2018" to 50155 and follow the prompts
Or:

Mail a check to Trusted Mentors, 546 E. 17th St, Suite 102, Indianapolis, IN 46202

 And talk to us about sponsorship of our 2019 Upcoming Events! Individual and corporate sponsors are welcome!
 THANK YOU for all you do!

Trusted Mentors, the wind under a mentor's wings

Friday December 14th, 2018 09:28:26 PM
This blog is a copy of a speech given by Louise, a mentor with one of our partner agencies, the Changing Lives Forever (CLF) through St. Vincent de Paul.  She spoke at a recruitment event for the program at Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Catholic Church. It provides a perspective on both the program and the act of being a mentor.

"I am a mentor with the Changing Lives Forever program. Started by St. Vincent DePaul in 2011, IHM hosted its first class last year at the MLK Center at 40th & Penn. Changing Lives Forever is a 16 week program free and open to anyone who wants to begin a journey to change their lives.  

These participants have had any number of obstacles in their lives: poverty, poor choices, poor opportunity – the CLF program offers them the resources and tools they need to make real, lasting changes in their lives.  

Because no life is totally changed in 16 weeks, program participants are offered the option of a mentor to continue the journey with them for 12-18 months.  

I am here today to ask you to consider becoming a mentor.  

I was quite hesitant last year when a similar call was made. How in the world would I know what to say, what to do? How would I not want to just “rescue” my mentee, giving her fish rather than teaching her how to fish? How would I have the presence of mind to say and do the right thing, which is rarely the same as the easiest thing? And further, my work and travel schedule would make it hard for me to be a constant and consistent presence.  

Making no serious commitment, I signed up and attended the two training classes conducted by an organization I’d never heard of: Trusted Mentors. It turns out, they are truly the wind under a mentor’s wings. The training is excellent and best of all, I was assigned a match manager who is available any time I need her.  

And oh boy, have I needed her. I was assigned to Beth, a 48 yr old woman. Beth had lost her way so many years ago and between alcohol and some bad choices, she is unemployed, trying to stay sober and tentatively living with her daughter and granddaughters. Beth and I have been through a lot since we were matched in January. As I got my footing, my Trusted Mentors match manager and Diane Powers helped and supported me. They are there any time I need advice. Beth is still very much a work in progress, but I have learned how to be her advocate, a steadfast presence who sees hope when she and everyone around her wants to give up on her.  

I will never get Mentor of the Year. I am gone a lot, Beth is hard to reach because she has no cell phone or email, but I am in this for the long haul. Beth and I share a dream of her sober, employed, with a small place to call her own. With agency, making her own decisions. She knows I am like her external conscience, not letting her give up on herself.  

This year’s class at IHM has 11 women and 3 men. They are parents, grandparents, singles, a few are veterans. With so many women, there will be an especial need for female mentors. This Wednesday, Sept 12 at 6:00pm in the Gathering Space there is an information session for anyone even slightly interested. No commitment! As a human being, you have what it takes to be a mentor – and you will be supported. God does not call the equipped, God equips the called. 

I was born standing on 3rd base, with so many advantages. Most of us here were. But as that song I’ve sung a million times says: Whatsoever you do for the least of your brothers and sisters, that you do unto me. " 

Are you ready to mentor? Click on the Volunteer button and sign up! 


Our year end goal is to raise double what we've raised before

Saturday December 1st, 2018 06:06:00 PM
As we approach year’s end, I am turning to you to make a financial donation to help Trusted Mentors continue this important work.  The needs continue to grow, as funding becomes tighter.  Due to financial constraints, we were not able to fill the operations director position during this past year and it has made a difference in the number of people we can mentor.
                                                                                                          
Can you help us mentor more in 2019?

Our end of the year goal is to raise $30,000. This is double the amount that we’ve raised in past years so every donation will make a difference towards achieving it!

There are multiple ways to make a donation:
            Donate on-line through our Trusted Mentors secure website.
Or: 
            Text “Give2018” to 50155 and follow the prompts
Or:
            Mail a check to Trusted Mentors, 546 E. 17th St, Suite 102, Indianapolis, IN 46202

And talk to us about sponsorship of our 2019 Upcoming Events! Individual and corporate sponsors are needed! You can email us at info@trustedmentors.org 

THANK YOU for all you do 

Cold. Alone. Tired.

Monday November 26th, 2018 01:30:01 PM
Imagine being 61 and homeless, living on the streets during the winters of Indianapolis, with a speech impediment that limits communication.  You can help us help people stay housed! 

Matt had been chronically homeless when we met him. Giving up old behaviors was hard. His first mentor, Mike, developed a good friendship with Matt in spite of the difficult communication. They met regularly for coffee.

And Matt stayed housed.

When Mike became sick, Matt visited him to show he cared. Due to health, Matt was matched with a new mentor, Lance. When Mike passed away, Lance and Matt attended his funeral together. Now, they also meet regularly for coffee. They attend church together and celebrate Thanksgiving at Lance’s home.

And Matt stays housed.

He’s well-liked by the people in his apartment complex and volunteers regularly. Recently, Matt became sick. Lance visited him in the hospital and followed up when he returned home. Matt doesn’t have an extended family to support and encourage him to stay healthy, so Lance is important. He is a mentor and friend.

At Trusted Mentors, everyone we mentor is 18 and older. They are at risk of homelessness or returning from prison. And 30% of the people we mentor are over the age of 50.

A mentor can assist in many ways. We don’t always know how they will make an impact but the key is to first build a caring relationship. We know that Trusted Mentors means a lot to Matt, and Matt means a lot to us. We think it saves money for our community when people remain housed and give back to the community.

The estimated annual cost of homelessness in Indianapolis is $73 million dollars. Homelessness is a drain on our health care services. It impacts the criminal justice system. Helping people stay housed is important to reducing the cost of homelessness.

Trusted Mentors is doing what no one else is doing. With a direct impact in the community. With a 90% success rate, mentors make a difference.

Your financial support has a direct impact on the people we mentor. Every dollar donated assists us in matching and supporting trained, volunteer mentors that help more people stay housed and out of prison. Thank you for your generous support! Donate on-line or donations can be mailed to our offices: Trusted Mentors, 546 E. 17th St, Suite 102, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

The Power of Trusted Mentors

Thursday August 23rd, 2018 03:08:12 PM

"A Brother, A Friend and a Father...."

Thursday August 9th, 2018 02:20:24 PM

John entered the Changing Lives Program unsure of what he was in for. He felt like quitting in the first two weeks, but  his fellow investigators encouraged him to stick with the course because they saw something in him. 

Before entering the program, John had experienced homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and addiction. He wasn’t sure that his life would change by taking Changing Lives course but he stuck with it anyway. John was surprised to find a sense of community among his fellow investigators, who had also been impacted by many of the same challenges. Together, they graduated from the 18 week course with more knowledge about how poverty had impacted their lives and  resources they could use to get ahead.  .

“And then I became matched with my mentor”, John said. John and Gary were matched as a mentee/mentor pair on the date of John’s graduation. 

Gary, who is retired, had tutored young people his whole life and had never mentored an adult. “When I first came to the program, I didn’t know how helpful I could be in mentoring adults because I was unsure of their ability to change at this point”, Gary stated. He adds “Out of all the mentoring and tutoring programs I’ve done, Trusted Mentors is the best”. 

As Gary started mentoring John, Gary did in fact see the changes that John was able to make in a short period of time. John found employment at Mission 27, a retail store for St. Vincent DePaul, and he is well-liked by fellow co-workers, volunteers and customers. John has stable housing and for the first time in his life, attends church. Gary and John meet every week and always end their session with prayer.  “Gary is like a mentor, a brother, a friend and a father”, John stated with tears in his eyes. Gary shared the same sentiment about John, saying that he treats him as one of his own children.  John and Gary continue to build a positive relationship. 

Both have been transformed by the power of mentoring.



Lessons Learned – Mentorship without a Mentor

Tuesday January 30th, 2018 09:50:51 PM
We asked others to write about the power of mentoring during National Mentoring Month.  This blog is  from Nick Jaworski, owner of Circle Social Inc, a digital marketing agency that helps recovery centers and other behavioral health organizations connect with patients and their communities to grow their census. He is also passionate about entrepreneurship and community leadership. Nick shares experiences that have helped him learn that mentoring is as much art as science. 

Most people have a mentor in life, a teacher, a coach, a parent, or a manager that they can point to and say, “this person showed me the way.”

I’ve never really had that. I’ve definitely been fortunate to know and work with some great people. But I never really had one person take me under their wing to show me the way. Maybe part of the reason is because I’m stubborn, like to move fast, and tend to seek out answers before they’re given J.

I often set my own goals and then figure out how to get there, but there are many times in my life where I would certainly have enjoyed some guidance. Maybe that’s why I love mentoring others.
My mentoring journey really started in college when I began working with at-risk youth at our local domestic abuse shelter in the children’s group. Since then, I’ve had many mentorship opportunities.
I facilitated the promotion of over 15 of my direct reports to leadership or management positions while working as a Director for Disney in China and most recently mentored 100 startups alongside billionaire investor Tim Draper at Startup Istanbul.

But it doesn’t really matter what I’ve done as much as what I’ve learned. Not really having models to go off of, I’ve certainly made a lot of mistakes along the way and it’s my mistakes I’d like to share, because every mistake is an opportunity to learn and do better. I hope that by sharing some of my mistakes, you can learn to avoid them yourself.

Giving Feedback Is Not Always the Right Choice
-          In college, I mentored at a brand new, project-based charter school. The charter school movement was just getting started and nobody was really sure how to run them. My job was to walk around and engage the high school students in their projects. I enjoyed helping these young adults learn.

One day, I walked up to one of the students and asked her if I could take a look at her progress. She refused. I told her I just wanted to see how things were coming along.

She responded, “Why? So you can tell me everything that’s wrong with it?”

I’ll never forget that response. I realized that the majority of the feedback I gave, and the majority of feedback teachers often give, is critical in nature. We seek to correct to improve, but constantly being corrected is not fun, as anyone who regularly receives critical feedback from their boss knows.

I took two lessons to heart that day. 1) Positive encouragement is a very important part of feedback and 2) not every interaction in a mentor/mentee relationship has to be about correcting perceived weaknesses.

Know Your Audience
-         I was working as the Director of a school in Istanbul where I had just hired on a new teacher who had a master’s degree. I was quite excited as it’s not easy to find masters degreed teachers in Turkey.

Upon watching her first class, my excitement ended. I sat through one of the most boring, jargon-filled lessons I’d seen up until that time.

After the lesson, I spoke with her about my observations both of students’ eyes glazing over as well as my own feeling of boredom during her lesson.

She broke down in tears and sobbed for a full 10 minutes. I was caught entirely off guard. Here was a thirty-something year old woman with a master’s degree, sobbing because of a little feedback.

She quit that day and never came back.

While, ultimately, our school was better off without her, I was stuck covering classes for 3 weeks until we found and trained a new teacher.

I learned that you really need to get to know a person before providing feedback to determine how much they can handle and what kind of feedback they can handle. Education level and age don’t necessarily translate to fortitude.

Also, while I didn’t learn this till much later, I eventually figured out that feedback is best provided by the individual coming to their own conclusions based on objective observations.

Rather than calling the lesson boring, I could have highlighted the students’ lack of interest and asked her to think about why. Then ask what she could do to increase their interest. This way, the critical feedback would come from within and I would not have been throwing a judgement on the observation.
       
      Keep It Professional
-         This is not a story about me, but something I’ve seen more than a few others do, especially in a managerial role. They become friends with their mentee and share information that should not be shared based on their job roles.

A manager takes an employee under their wing and works to develop them. This also translates into social engagements after work, maybe going to the bar or a café.

As the relationship moves more from mentor/mentee to friends, the manager starts to divulge some of their own challenges with other employees. Well, this inevitably gets out as the mentee often does not have the professional wherewithal to withhold that information.

The office turns into a place of politics, gossip, and perceived or real favoritism. It’s never a good situation.

There also may come a time where the mentee, for whatever reason, is not working out. Suddenly, they’ve become a problem employee. But taking corrective action becomes very hard, because a friendship has developed.

These are tough situations. We obviously want to work with people we can consider friends. But my opinion is that there must always be a level of professional distance.

Learn to Let Go
-         I’m a passionate person and truly believe in helping others. This can lead me to giving people too many chances or letting slides in performance go on too long before taking action.

There are numerous times in my career where I would see performance turn south with an individual. One such time, we had an employee I was trying to develop into a leadership role. He had been very enthusiastic starting out.

But he never quite exhibited the traits we needed to move him to the next level. He started to feel that it was taking too long for him to advance, so, unbeknownst to us, he started looking for a new position. He found one and was offered a significant increase in salary, but he was under a strict non-compete that we would not let him out of.

As he’d been working with us for quite some time, and had originally shown a lot of promise, I kept trying to work with him and get him to reset expectations on how fast he would be able to advance.

Well, as you can imagine, things continued to go downhill and, then eventually, he just didn’t show up for work one day. In retrospect, once his attitude soured, I should have just let him go, but it was hard as I’d invested a lot of time in him from the beginning and we’d been through numerous challenges together.

However, it wasn’t worth all the negative energy that ended up not just affecting me, but other members of the team as well.

Over the years, I’ve become much better about just ripping the band-aid off when necessary. It’s not a benefit to you or them to continue a relationship that has soured.


One of the things I truly enjoy about mentoring is that it’s an opportunity for you to learn as much as the mentee. They often say that teaching something is the best way to learn it, and I’ve definitely found that to be true with leadership, which is often much more art than science. 

Pure Gratitude

Monday November 27th, 2017 07:27:59 PM
“She’s like my big sister.”
“He has a servant’s heart.”
“She’s always striving to be better, and always laughing.”
“She perseveres through whatever life gives her.”
“He showed me how an attitude can be infectious.”
“She’s dedicated to getting a full-time job.”
“Thank you for being my friend.”
“I have no family. You have been my family.”
“She never gives up; she always comes up with a remedy.”
“She has an amazing soul.”
“She has a steady patience and courage, which serves her family well.”
“It’s a privilege to be in her life.”
“I have to take care of me to be my best me. I can’t let illness keep me down.”
“If my arms could reach across this room, I’d hug all of you.”

These were real statements from nearly 20 mentor-mentee couples at our November 2017 Recognition Night. Every pair was equally grateful for their relationships and as you can see by the last statement, even thankful for the entire group.

Thank you Trusted Mentors for helping spread such love, gratitude, and selflessness. You and all the awardees deserve a hug for every day of this giving season.





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