Program highlight: South Boston T.E.A.M.

A relaxing long weekend is almost here, and the Red Sox beat the Yankees last night. Let's take that momentum into the weekend with another Red Sox Mentoring Challenge program highlight, South Boston T.E.A.M. (Together Engaging Adolescents through Mentoring).

Bo Nicholson is the program coordinator of the T.E.A.M. program. [caption id="attachment_294" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Bo, left, and mentor Suzy from T.E.A.M."]Bo-Stacey Nicholson and mentor Suzy from T.E.A.M.[/caption]

MMP: Tell us a little bit about your mentoring program and your role.

Bo: T.E.A.M., Together Engaging Adolescents through Mentoring, pairs youth from South Boston with caring, energetic adults who serve as supports, friends and guides. Our mentors are adults (22+) from all over the Greater Boston area who represent a wide variety of fields, talents and interests, and who make a decision to partner with a young person who could use a friend.

My name is Bo Nicholson, and I am the program coordinator of the T.E.A.M. program. I am responsible for all aspects of the program, including recruitment, screening, training, matching, and providing match support and supervision to our program participants. I also work closely with parents and caregivers, and provide case management and/or referrals to families on an as-needed basis.

MMP: Why do you feel mentoring is important?

Bo: Mentoring is proven to foster increased self-esteem, school attachment and the ability to make positive life choices. Having a positive relationship with an adult outside the family also serves as a protective factor against high-risk behavior like early substance use, violence and dropping out of school. In short, good mentoring is incredibly powerful, and can help young people successfully navigate through some of the difficult issues that they are faced with during critical adolescent years.

MMP: Your program is participating in this year’s Red Sox Mentoring Challenge, an initiative designed to recruit more caring Massachusetts adults as mentors. Which Red Sox player do you think is the best mentor on the team?

Bo: While many Red Sox players would make great mentors to youth in Massachusetts, our program would have to say that David Ortiz would make the best mentor. This is true because Ortiz has been around the team for so long and has demonstrated his ability to be consistent and reliable to his teammates. He also has a strong interest in community service and helping others, and has shown this interest by participating in several charity events.

MMP: If you have personally been a mentor, tell us what that experience has been like.

Bo: While I have recently made the decision to apply to become a formal mentor, I have not yet completed the screening/matching process with the organization.

However, as an individual in the program coordinator role, I believe that the most important thing that people should know before deciding to become a mentor is that this is a commitment not to be taken lightly. Mentoring takes patience, flexibility, empathy, energy, and compassion. The hard work that is put in does pay off, however, in ways that a mentor might not even realize until years down the road.

MMP: How can people learn more about mentoring opportunities with your organization?

Bo: Prospective mentors can feel free to visit our web site to learn more about T.E.A.M. and fill out an application at http://www.ccab.org/youthteam.html. Questions can be directed to the program coordinator, Bo-Stacey Nicholson, at 617.464.8578.