"This training has changed my life in so many positive ways!" "Thank you for providing such a wonderful training session!" "Awesome conference! I left rejuvenated, better equipped, and enthusiastic to serve." "This information will not go on a shelf and collect dust."
These were just some of the comments made by individuals who participated in "It Takes a Village …" a two-day workshop on mentoring and best practices presented by Brotherhood Crusade and the Mentoring Resource Center on February 3 and 4, 2009 at the USC Radisson Hotel. The free training was open to all agencies and individuals serving South Los Angeles youth and included a daily continental breakfast and lunch. As an added bonus, Councilman Bernard Parks opened the workshop; sharing an emotionally touching personal story about how mentoring has impacted his life. Ms. Samona Caldwell, State Farm Insurance Public Affairs Officer, shared an equally heartfelt story about the importance of mentoring in her powerful keynote presentation. Most importantly, however, the workshop provided valuable resources, anecdotes, and guidance that participants were able to immediately incorporate to facilitate significant improvement in their programs.
In the past decade, mentoring programs for children and adolescents have received serious attention as a promising approach to enriching children's lives, addressing their need for positive adult contact, and providing one-on-one support and advocacy for those who need it. Mentoring is also recognized as an excellent way to use volunteers to address community problems. When implemented properly, mentoring provides structured and trusting relationships that bring young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the child. Research has shown that the presence of a positive role model to supervise and guide a child's behavior is a key protective factor against violence and the absence of such a role model – parent or otherwise – has been linked to a child's risk for sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol use, aggressive or violent behavior, and inability to maintain stable employment later in life.
Brotherhood Crusade hosted this two-day mentor training as part of its ongoing commitment to strengthen youth development agencies providing services to youth in South Los Angeles. Judy Strother-Taylor, (Project Director for the U.S. Department of Education ~ Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Mentoring Resource Center), Jerry Sherk M.A. (President and founder of Mentor Management Systems), and DeVone Boggan (President of dbMENTORS and Director of Neighborhood Safety for the City of Richmond) infused their collective expertise and experience in bringing the training to life. "Those were some of the best trainers from whom I have ever had the pleasure of learning" said one participant, "these last two Brotherhood Crusade training sessions have been over the top."
Although Brotherhood Crusade is thoroughly committed to improving the lives of and opportunities for children and youth in South Los Angeles, their work could not be possible without the invaluable contributions of its sponsors. This workshop was made possible by The Governor's Office of Emergency Services, CalGRIP, the US Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and State Farm Insurance through the State Farm Youth Advisory Board.
The Brotherhood Crusade Mentor and Me Program matches Los Angeles County community leaders with South Los Angeles youth in one-on-one mentoring relationships for a minimum period of one year. Through these relationships, as well as recreational and group activities, mentors provide friendship, support, and guidance to local youth. Mentors and their mentees meet on their own for as much as three hours per week and participate in activities that they both enjoy. There are also monthly group activities to bring all participants together.
Mentors are male and female individuals of compassion from diverse backgrounds. Mentees are youth from South Los Angeles who will enjoy and benefit from individual relationships with positive role models. To learn more about the Brotherhood Crusade Mentor and Me program, please contact Maybelline SaintJulian at (323) 846-1649.