Youth Mentoring Program
Receives Funding for Three More Years
Bringing high school aged youth with disabilities the important skills of self-determination is a focus for RRCI. In 2014, a proposal was drafted and awarded through Department of Workforce Services (DWS) and TANF funds. RRCI envisioned a team of Youth Mentors consisting of local individuals with disabilities between the ages of 20-30 who would go into the schools from where they graduated to teach and model successful self-determination strategies.
The program has been well received by special education staff members in high schools throughout RRCI’s nine county service area. With one more semester funded by the grant, RRCI will have connected more than 400 students with Youth Mentors. Test scores indicate that students made substantial increases in their abilities to direct their own lives as they transition from high school to the adulthood.
As the original grant comes to a close, RRCI learned of another three year opportunity through DWS and TANF funds. A new proposal was drafted and awarded. The Youth Mentors will maintain employment with RRCI and will present research based curriculum to high school students with disabilities focusing on healthy relationships.
A highlight of the program are the Youth Mentors. Some had never had a job until they were employed and trained to teach a research based curriculum to high school students. Following this experience, the Program Manager, Julie Goodrich heard some remarkable stories. Julie said, “One day, I got a call from a Youth Mentor letting me know that he would not be returning to work the next semester. He applied for a full-time position at a respected company and was hired!” Julie continued, “A year ago, a Youth Mentor shared that she had no idea what her future would hold. Today, she started her teaching program at the college.”
RRCI is thrilled to continue a program that changes lives!