52.9% of youth in Kent County claim that they do not know any adults in their neighborhood with whom they could talk about something important.
Combine that with the prevalence of gangs who are actively recruiting youth without strong support systems and it’s no wonder that many children feel as if they have nowhere to turn.
That is—until now.
Through caring, mentor relationships hundreds of students in Kent County have found an adult who would journey with them in their struggles. Could you be part of this team of people who are devoted to journeying alongside children in West Michigan?
One hour, once a week, is all it takes to make a difference.
How much difference can one-on-one time for one hour, once per week, make in the life of a child?
The answer to that question is visible every week on the faces of our students, as volunteers enter into supportive and caring relationships with them. Because it is in these relationships that at-risk school children are given the emotional, social, and academic support they need to succeed. The transformation may seem to start small, beginning with simple changes in attitude and behavior, yet couple this with increased attendance and academic performance, and you have one hour a week which truly changes a child’s life.
In fact, mentoring has been proven to have a positive impact on youth. By taking a student’s need for personal connection as seriously as we take reading, writing and arithmetic, schools all over the nation have seen:
- Better attendance.
- Better chances of going onto higher education.
- Better attitudes toward school.
- Better health. [Mentored students are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking.]
- Better relationships. [Both at school and at home, mentored youth tend to trust their parents more and communicate better with them.]
Affinity Mentoring strives to interrupt the cycle of poverty through mentoring relationships that improve students’ academic achievements, social skills and self-esteem.
Over the past 14 years, we have become one of the largest school-based mentoring programs in the country. It is the quality of our work, however, that gives us the distinction of being labeled as the “Premier” national program. And here’s how we do it:
Stronger Staff. Stronger Matches.
Not only do we invest heavily in our students and our mentors, but we also approach mentoring comprehensively and collaboratively. Our staff members are highly qualified, with degrees in social work and public administration, which enables us to navigate the larger system and effectively advocate for our students. We also pour time and energy into building strong relationships with the school administration and teachers, which makes us a critical partner that is routinely invited to work closely and proactively in at-risk students’ support teams. This expertise leads to greater retention rates among mentor matches and greater outcomes for youth. For example, only 3% of Affinity matches close prematurely, compared to an approximately 50% premature closure rate among mentoring programs nationally.
Why? Because as Alan Schwartz said: “Mentoring doesn’t work. Quality mentoring works.” At Affinity Mentoring, we ensure that our mentors have access to a support system that can not only match them well and help them prepare for the mentoring experience, but serve as a source for ongoing access to advice and counsel.
Yet, Strong Matches Aren’t Enough, We Want To Build Stronger Communities
Affinity Mentoring is dedicated to being a support to the school and community as a whole. We work closely with the school staff, parents and community partners to recruit volunteers and gather resources to meet the needs of the school (i.e., coat drives, donations of school supplies, etc.).
WHERE DO WE BEGIN? Click here to learn more >
Or download the Affinity Community Partnership Handout>