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Fishers Nonprofit of Month: Youth Mentoring Initiative

Writer / Julie Yates

Youth Mentoring Initiative (YMI) invests in Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) Schools by providing a high-quality program of adult support and guidance to any student who wishes to participate. Its mission to develop positive relationships between mentors and mentees not only helps students to reach their full potential, but ultimately strengthens the community. With its strong training program and multiple resources, the volunteers who participate as mentors are able to bring the highest levels of encouragement and empathy to each school-based session.Youth Mentoring Initiative

YMI mentoring involves a one-on-one meeting between a carefully matched intermediate, junior high or high school student, and an adult mentor. During each 30- to 60-minute session, nurturing relationships are built. Each conversation is held during regular school hours.

“We always have a need for mentors,” says Brittany Rayburn, executive director. “It’s a way to support youth and our community. We do a good job of making the best match possible.”

YMI maintains a specific onboarding process for mentors. The first step is to fill out an interest form that can be accessed on the YMI website, followed by an interview with Rayburn. During the one-on-one conversation, the prospective mentor learns about the organization and what is required.

If the adult is a good fit for the program, the process continues when an application is submitted. Each candidate agrees to a $16 Safe Visitor Background Check before an invitation to training is issued. Finally, according to mutual interests, a match is made.

Youth Mentoring InitiativeStudents go through a similar process before receiving a mentor. They may be recommended for the program by a counselor, teacher, parent or themselves. Second, the parent or legal guardian must provide information by filling out an application. After guardian consent is received, the student completes an application, which is used to make the best match possible.

“A lot of need goes unseen, but besides that, research shows youth benefits from having four to six non-parental adults supporting them through their developmental years,” says Rayburn, regarding why a mentoring program is needed in a high socioeconomic area such as Fishers. “Mentoring is for everyone. Who doesn’t benefit from having a mentor at all stages of life?”

Feedback from parents and guardians, mentors and students reflects this. When surveyed, 95% of students who participated in the program felt that mentoring had improved their overall social and emotional well-being. Also, 86% stated that mentoring helped them to be more aware of the points of view of others. In addition, 89% said their mentor helped them see their potential to grow and improve.

Donating to YMI is another way to support HSE students and the Fishers community. Support ensures that every student who wants a mentor can have one. There is a donation link on the organization’s website, as well as an option to sign up for the newsletter. Continued backing ensures that every student who wants a mentor can have one.

Visit ymionline.org for more info. Updates can be found on Facebook and Twitter. Youth Mentoring Initiative

YMI is located on the second floor of the Delaware Township Building at 9090 East 131st Street in Fishers. The mailing address is P.O. Box 743, Fishers, IN 46038. Also call 317-350-6045, or email info@ymionline.org.

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