One of the most important aspects of being a mentor in The Bridge’s Youth Advocacy Program is being there for the mentees, whether it be celebrating joyous moments or helping them through tough times. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought uncertainty, instability, and fear to our communities, especially to the children and teenagers in our mentoring program who have already faced similar challenges prior to these unforeseen circumstances. Families under pressure prior to this were stretched even thinner while their children were cut off from their regular activities such as going to school and hanging out with friends.
Maintaining the positive, nurturing role model connection with the mentees was vital. The volunteer mentors quickly adapted and moved their regular gatherings from in-person to online. Through video conferencing, the mentees and mentors were able to connect and check–in with each other. After the initial meeting, many of the mentees requested to virtually meet more frequently than planned. This sent a clear message that support and opportunities to connect were needed now more than ever.
Typical one-on-one activities were limited, as abiding by the CDC recommended guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy were the top priority. With these safety measures in mind, mentor Brian Freiman met with his mentee but also went above and beyond to connect with other mentees who were not able to get together with their mentors. Using social distancing and safety precautions, such as face masks, Brian met with them one-on-one to help with school work or to play outdoor sports, which provided the opportunity to work off some of the mounting cabin fever and frustration with the change in daily life. Activities like these provide the opportunity for the youth in our program to open up about their thoughts and feelings related to COVID-19, worries about the upcoming school year, and their personal issues that were weighing on them. Knowing that someone is there for them makes a challenging situation a little easier.
Thank you to all of the amazing mentors in our Youth Advocacy Program. We appreciate your dedication and support to the youth in our community.
We are always especially in need of male mentors. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, click here. Or email Kelsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.