We are the Step Up Foster Youth Mentor Ministry and we work in conjunction with two local San Diego programs to serve foster youth in need. We partner with the Foster Youth Mentor Program and the CASA Program. They are both important in the success of our foster youth and they both play different roles in the life of our youth.
Foster Youth Mentors offer friendship, guidance, and support through Christ centered eyes. This is a one-on-one relationship with a foster youth. Mentors meet with their child weekly for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours per week. They spend time with them, help build them up, and do fun activities with them. Mentors have the privilege of giving our children back some of their childhood, by allowing them to just be kids. Over time, mentors build a relationship with their mentee. This allows the child to have a consistent role-model in their life which helps them to model healthy relationships, build their confidence, and often leads to greater academic performance.
Mentors can also help children to develop skills that they can retain for a life time like: socially acceptable behvior, goal setting/options for their future, manners, and even help them to discover and develop their gifts. Most of our kids have academic challenges due to the fact that they move from foster home to foster home, so helping them with school work and encouraging them academically is a great way to support them.
For Mentor Requirements, look under Next Steps on our website.
Our other partnership is with the CASA Program.
CASAS advocate for our foster youth in court, academically, and personally. This is a one-on-one relationship with a foster youth or a sibling group. CASAS are Court Appointed Special Advocates that are volunteers assigned to a court case. CASAS have access to all of the child's records, case, file, and people that are in the direct sphere of the child (judges, counselors, social workers, etc) They have the whole story so that they can advocate for the child's best interest. They are the "Voice of the Child", conveying their wants and desires in their assessments. They can advocate for the child academically. Most of our children in foster care have academic challenges, so CASAS are able to advocate for additional assistance, tutoring, or even a change of school if the needs of the child are not being met. Personally, they can look at the child's whole experience and reccomend things that they think will benefit the child.
CASAS play a very important role making sure that the needs of the child are being met and they have access to more records about the child then any other volunteer. On the months that they are not going to court with the child, they are meeting with their child at least once a month to go out and do something fun and to so see how they are doing overall.
For CASA Requirements look under Next Steps on our website.