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Interested in Mentoring?

Reach & Rise® is an evidence-based mentoring program operated through YMCAs nationwide. Become a part of the mentoring movement, and help youth envision and work toward individualized goals. Mentors can be anyone 21 years or older with clean background checks and a desire to support youth through change and challenges. Choose between the traditional 1:1 (one mentor, one youth) and group (two mentors, up to eight youth) models. 

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Know a Child or Teen Who Could Benefit?

The Reach & Rise® mentoring program serves youth between the ages of 6 and 17. Participation is free, as funding comes from a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and YMCA fundraising. The only requirement is a shared desire by youth and parents or guardians to be in the program. We believe anyone can benefit from the added socioemotional support and skill development that mentoring can provide. Referrals can be made by family members, mental health professionals, school counselors, or juvenile justice staff - anyone with a vested interest in helping youth succeed.

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Benefits of Mentoring

Research overwhelmingly points to the value of youth mentoring, and a recent study on Reach & Rise®'s cognitive-behavioral mentoring model further shows its effectiveness in delinquency prevention, promoting academic/civic engagement, and improving mental health. Youth with mentors are:

  • 52% less likely to skip a whole day of school
  • 37% less likely to skip a class
  • 55% more likely to enroll in college
  • 46% less likely to use illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin drinking
  • 81% more likely to engage in extracurricular activities
  • 130% more likely to hold a leadership position

Studies also show significant improvement in parental communication, school engagement, and overall outlook on life. Clearly, mentoring is powerful.

The benefits of mentoring aren't just for youth; mentors can feel the power of relationships forged with youth. Mentors may gain:

  • Increase in self-esteem
  • Feeling of accomplishment
  • Insight into stages of youth development
  • Network of volunteers
  • Increase in patience
  • Better supervisory skills

The feel-goods that mentors can reap are pretty impressive. Mentoring is also a way to beef up a resume, build confidence for careers with youth, or hone parenting skills.

What Makes Reach & Rise® Special

Reach & Rise® is not just about having fun or tutoring. It is a therapeutic, evidence-based mentoring program created by psychologists and licensed counselors. While some therapeutic techniques are employed, our mentors are not therapists. They are, however, fully vetted and trained in simple-to-use methods to foster open communication and help youth identify new pathways in thinking. This makes each 1:1 match or group intentional in how it functions. It is not a cookie-cutter approach but is tailored to the needs of the youth or groups. We won't lie . . . there is still a lot of fun along the way. 

Another thing that sets Reach & Rise® apart from other programs is the quality of preparation. We don't just throw a mentor in a room with a kid and hope for the best. We take time to get to know our mentors (and youth) and assess if it is a good fit. There are training and background checks. While that may sound like a lot of work, it ensures our mentors are prepared and confident. That extra effort on the front end sets everyone up for success, and we think that's important. That support continues throughout the experience with regular check-ins from the program director and connections with other supports as needed.

There are two ways to participate in Reach & Rise®. The first is the traditional 1:1 program that matches one mentor with one child to meet weekly for one year. These meetings can be at the Y or out in the community when parents are comfortable. The times are determined by what works best with the family and the mentor. The second form is group mentoring. Here, two mentors work together to deliver an evidence-based curriculum to a small group of youth of similar ages. Group meetings are two hours weekly over the course of 16 weeks during the school year and 8 weeks in the summer. The curriculum covers topics like self-esteem, communication, and coping skills; the choice of topics emerges from group dynamics.