This program was designed by the Community Caring Collaborative and partners as a response to community needs identified at the 2015 CCC Visioning Day. CCC is excited to announce that phase one is complete — the Mentor/Neighbor Coordinator has been hired. What follows is the vision the designers hold for the program which is still in development and may look a little different when fully realized.
The Mentor/Neighbor Program serves a specific role of expanding the capacity of programs by developing helping relationships with community members. They can engage in ways that increase mastery and allow people to achieve their personal goals or address an issue that historically has been a barrier. For example, every parent participating in Family Futures Downeast will be paired with a community mentor. Other pairings might match mentor/friends with elders or youth.
The Mentor/Neighbor Program recruits volunteers with a wide range of interests and capabilities that they wish to share with others, and match them with community members. The length and scope of their commitment will be established in an agreement signed by the mentor/friend and the community member requesting the service.
All volunteers receive basic Mentoring Training (12 Hours) which includes: mandated reporting, confidentiality, strength-based interactions, impact of poverty, impact of trauma, and crisis intervention. Additional training will be offered to increase expertise and provide support to the mentor/friends as needed or requested.
The Mentor/Neighbor Program is designed to engage with community members on 3 tiers:
- Tier 1: This is the most general level of the program, designed to respond to community members calling for help with basic resources, essential home help/shopping for groceries, filling out forms, etc. Callers are directed to appropriate resources or volunteers who can provide the warm referral or help with advocacy and home activities.
- Tier 2: This level provides a deeper and more specific level of relationship with community members who are undergoing life-changing circumstances, like the death of a spouse, and call for help navigating through the process. Callers are matched with volunteers who can support them through the circumstance. Tier 2 is also designed for people with an interest in developing a new skill/hobby, who are matched with a volunteer possessing those skills & experience to get them started and provide guidance.
- Tier 3: This is the most structured, formal level of relationship with volunteers, and is designed for people desiring professional/educational development in a more classic mentor/mentee structure.
The CCC Mentor/Neighbor Coordinator is the heart of this program, receiving all requests for help from community members on each tier, and recruiting, managing and matching volunteers with Mentor/Neighbor participants. Although the program is still under development and not yet open, people can contact Dante Zanoni, LSW, the CCC Mentor/Neighbor Coordinator, with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-263-4997.