Mentoring Makes all the Difference for Struggling Youth

Adelphoi has understood for years the benefits of mentorship for youth who are part of the juvenile justice and child welfare system. Mentoring offers youth strong, healthy relationships that that serve as resiliency factors, creating lasting, positive impacts. As a result, Adelphoi’s Treatment Team, which is a multidisciplinary team of staff that reviews the cases of youth struggling to make progress in their program, has expanded its scope of services to include a mentoring program.

The mentoring program is composed of Adelphoi employees who volunteer to help support a youth as they work through their treatment program. Mentors connect with the youth in many ways, including making calls to the youth, visiting with them, and working with the program staff team to promote success.

Adelphoi staff who have worked as mentors over the past few years have found it to be a very rewarding experience. “To me, being a mentor is an opportunity to be an outside unbiased party who can listen and encourage youth to keep working on their goals within their programs,” said Beth Latuch, Unit Director. “As a mentor, I have been able to witness quite a few successful transitions of youth to independent living programs or back home where they are now thriving in their communities. Overall, it has been a very rewarding experience.”

Staff often choose to become a mentor after they leave the residential setting and start a new role outside of the group home environment. Volunteering as a mentor allows them to keep the experiences of working one-on-one with the youth. Bethany Rodgers became a mentor after she transitioned from working in the group homes to her current position as Compliance Caseworker.

“Becoming a mentor has allowed me to stay connected with our agency’s youth, while providing the extra support that is often times needed with the cases specifically identified through our Treatment Team process,” explained Bethany. She has mentored over 15 youth and has been able to provide extra support with activities like phone calls, letters, pizza, outings to church services, and sporting events.
Adoption Caseworker Christopher Moyer has also served as a mentor over the past few years and recently had a positive experience while mentoring a youth who stepped down into a less secure placement from Middle Creek. While working with Christopher, she began to recognize how her actions affected others. Christopher feels that it is important to provide youth with an unbiased ear and offer advice, so that they can acknowledge and understand another point of view.

Morgan Paul is a therapist at Vincent Home, but serves as a mentor to three youth in other group homes. She decided to become a mentor because she wanted to be a support to kids who often have no one to turn to, aside from their group home staff. Morgan is a mentor to 15 year old Alisha, a resident at Colony Home.
Alisha’s first few months at Adelphoi were a struggle. She admits that she didn’t care about herself or her treatment. Having Morgan as a mentor has helped her to have someone to support and motivate her. Morgan and Alisha meet in person weekly, but recently had to switch to a Zoom call because of COVID-19.

“The mentor program has helped me by giving me an amazing mentor who understands me, works with me, and motivates me,” Alisha acknowledged. When I first came into Adelphoi Colony home, I didn’t care about my treatment or myself. In the first couple of months, I wasn’t very accepting of having a mentor and didn’t think she would help me. But I became more accepting and started trying to be more open and honest. I am very thankful that Ms. Morgan is a part of my support system and I am very happy she got to walk through my journey of change with me. She is an amazing person and mentor.”

Morgan and the other mentors are a supportive resource for youth at Adelphoi. Youth who have a positive role model in their lives feel cared for and valued, ultimately boosting their self-esteem and helping them deal with challenges they may face. Studies have demonstrated that mentoring can reduce anxiety and depression in youth, improve academic performance, and build confidence.

“Being a teenager is hard and confusing in itself, but being a teenager in a treatment facility without any outside supports is a giant barrier that a lot of our kids face at Adelphoi,” said Morgan. “Being a mentor is a rewarding experience in that it allows you to see a kid transform into the person that you always knew they were, but they just struggled to see it in themselves.”