The mission of Connections is to work in partnership with young people, families, organizations, and volunteers to curate long-lasting, supportive mentoring relationships that improve self-worth for young people with past, current, or peripheral contact with the child welfare or juvenile justice systems in New York City or Westchester County.
Connections only does one thing – mentoring. We do it really well. We recruit, screen, train, and support adult volunteers to become caring, compassionate, positive adults to young people. Mentee participation is voluntary and the only incentive is the opportunity to develop a supportive relationship with a caring adult. Mentors and mentees are matched based on mutual interests, complimentary strengths and needs, geography, and amount of time they want to commit to each other. Matches are supported by Connections staff to ensure safety and growth, in close partnership with the young person’s clinical treatment team, for a minimum of one year. Connections is unique in that we stick with our mentees regardless of whether they change living situations or transition completely out of the system.
39% of Connections relationships choose to stay matched for longer than a year. Relationship closing is the healthy, natural completion of the Connections experience, marked with a closing celebration in which the pair reflects on their time together. Closing a relationship from Connections does not prohibit future contact between the mentor and mentee.
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Connections is unique. We stick with our mentees for a minimum of one year, regardless of whether they change living situations or transition completely out of the system. We have found that this model works – young people develop long-term relationships with a positive adult who genuinely cares about them, increasing their own sense of self-worth.