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 Changing lives through the power of mentoring!

CCA’s Connections mentoring program recruits, trains, matches and supports adults to mentor disadvantaged youth who have parents in prison, attend Beard alternative school, the BEST program (Better Expectations Start Today) located at Danforth and Lincoln middle schools or are involved in the Syracuse City School District student court program.

Mentors spend at least one hour a week with their youth focusing on education, vocational/career planning and basic life skills. Through ongoing training mentors are prepared to cope with the concerns and needs of young people, including relationships, goal-setting, importance of education, health, alternatives to violence, and pregnancy prevention. Mentors and youth develop an informal, one-to-one relationship of mutual caring, trust and commitment. This relationship helps youth build basic life skills, enhance their self-esteem and gives the youth ongoing encouragement to accomplish long-term goals.

Mentors participate in regular monthly support meetings in addition to the activities they do with their youth. They mentor receives a small incentive at the beginning of the match. In addition, mentors and youth may participate with CCA youth service staff on community service projects or group mentoring activities, such as bowling or skating. Connections mentoring can provide the type of relationship to facilitate a youth’s resiliency and successful transition to adulthood.

What are Mentors?

  • Mentors are supporters, positive role models and motivators.
  • Mentors are friends you can count on.
  • Mentors can listen to problems and look for solutions together.
  • Mentors come from all walks of life.
  • Mentors are special because they care.
  • Mentors can make a lasting impression on a young person's life.

What is a Mentor expected to give?

  • A one-year commitment
  • Mentors are expected to meet with students for a minimum of one hour per week.
  • Mentors must attend six hours of training.
  • Mentors are expected to attend regular support meetings and may attend monthly group activities.
  • Mentors are expected to report monthly.
  • Mentors may be individuals, couples or small groups, matched with individual youth or small groups of young people.

What can a Mentor expect to receive?

  • Mentors will be given a incentive at the first match session.
  • Mentors will be given training in a wide variety of issues, including adolescent development, community resources, and how to be an effective tutor.
  • Mentors will have an opportunity to have fun with a new friend.
  • Mentors have the opportunity to participate in group monthly outings.

To become a Connections mentor, contact the Center for Community Alternatives at 315-422-5638 or email cca@communityalternatives.org. Trainings are held monthly at the CCA office located at 115 East Jefferson Street, Suite 300, Syracuse, New York 13202.