May is National Foster Care Month: Help make positive change for youth in care

This guest blog was written by Melissa Chu of AFC Mentoring in recognition of National Foster Care Month.

[caption id="attachment_874" align="alignleft" width="300"] Mentee Henry, who has been matched with a mentor for 10 years, speaks at a United Way Breakfast about the power of mentoring.[/caption]

As the only mentoring organization in  Massachusetts to exclusively serve youth in foster care, Adoption and Foster Care (AFC) Mentoring builds relationships and leverages resources to promote long term connections and community. AFC believes that every youth needs and deserves to know that they are valued and capable of greatness and that mentorship is a powerful tool in delivering these basic needs.

Consider for a moment that youth in foster care experience inconsistency in their:

  • place of residence, caretakers, and daily routines
  • school, teachers, and academic curriculum
  • peers
  • social workers and clinicians
  • sense of safety and well-being

Having inconsistency in just one of these can be extremely hard; imagine having  inconsistency in multiple or all of those areas.

With an average match length of more than two years (compared to the national average of nine months), AFC's mentors are often one of the few, if not the only, consistent, positive relationship(s) for their mentee.

Having a mentor:

  • provides youth with a consistent friend and someone they can trust
  • shows them they are valued and that their opinions and feelings DO matter
  • empowers them to define and achieve success
  • means they are, on average, 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 52% less likely to skip school, and 33% less likely to hit someone

Foster care has been shown to perpetuate negative cycles of abuse, poverty, homelessness, and incarceration. With the right supports, we can replace these negative cycles with positive cycles—healthy development, meaningful relationships, hope, empowerment, success.

AFC envisions a society committed to ensuring that all youth in foster care have long-term relationships with consistent positive adults and the necessary resources to successfully transition into adulthoodIf you would like to be part of this positive change, please visit our website www.afcmentoring.org or join us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/AFCMentoring.

Thank you for being part of the change!