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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Mentoring Network Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Human Services, Youth Development

Mission: The Mission of The Mentoring Network, Inc. is to provide school-based, direct-to-youth mentoring that will improve life outcomes for vulnerable and disengaged children by developing resilience skills, supporting the development of personal strengths, and increasing self-sufficiency.

Results: 77% of the kids who are being actively mentored show improvement in behavior. 85% become more caring. 86% grow in friendship building skills. 73% of our actively mentored kids improve their grades. Each of these helps create a better future for both the child and the world. “Mentoring has shown me that younger kids look up to adults for guidance. This program has made me realize that if we don't show the younger generation what it means to work than they won't have all the skills that we had to learn when we were young. I also have learned that for some kids, life and school are harder for them than others, and by being a mentor I can show that child that someone cares enough to help them through the tough times.” –Mentor—2 years in the program

Target demographics: The MN works with rural, school referred, at-risk students, grades 1-8 and continuing through high school with MN students that choose to.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 154+ youth first grade through high school

Geographic areas served: The MN currently serves five school districts in Idaho: Nampa, Caldwell, Parma, Homedale, and Vallivue.

Programs: Since 1999, The Mentoring Network, Inc. has offered school-based mentoring to rural, school referred, at-risk students, grades 1-8 and continuing through high school with MN students that choose to. The MN currently serves five school districts; Nampa, Caldwell, Parma, Homedale, and Vallivue.

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I spent 41 years in the nonprofit world, the last 32 as the CEO for two YMCA's. I have known Donna Shines for 40 years. Over those years I have seen and worked with many nonprofits and lots of leaders of nonprofits. The Mentoring Network and Donna Shines are the best of the best. The Mentoring Network has managed to avoid the bureaucracy that seems to creep into many organizations as they grow. This allows all of the energy to go into connecting adult role model with kids who need another caring adult in their lives. I currently work at the College of Idaho and have several student volunteering with the Mentoring Network. While this is clearly great for the children they mentor, it is equally good for these college students. They love their kids and share great stories with me. They also know and love Donna. Often CEO's are far removed from the action. Not Donna; she finds time to get to know and mentor each one of her volunteers too. She also does so much great work in the community and is a sought after speaker and an important and value adding member of any team working to improve the community for all. Donna is as beloved a leader as anyone I know. She has people she worked with 4 decades ago that she has stayed in touch with and who would call her their best life coach ever.
The Mentoring Network does very important work and they do it as well and efficiently as any organization I know. Donna is a community treasure.

medavidsdn

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been matched with a young mentee through The Mentoring Network (TMN) for the past 2+ years here in Canyon Co. Idaho. I cannot say enough positive about the great work TMN is doing in our communities. I constantly recommend involvement with TMN to others I come in contact with who want to make an impact in young lives. The experience is also absolutely positive and powerful in the lives of everyone involved with TMN. An incredible organization doing powerfully positive work.
All my very best!
Mike D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a newbie to this wonderful program since joining for the first time this fall. Having been a classroom teacher for 33 + years I appreciate very much the value of such a program Many of our children are products of dysfunctional families and have no stable caring adult in their life . Presently I am a mentor for a 4th grade boy who has experienced a number of losses in his young life. He was depressed and below grade level. An elderly couple mentored him last year and because of their love and care little Johnny made substantial progress. Due to circumstances beyond their control they had to move out of state. I took their place. Little Johnny is up to grade level and is a delightful young man. He communicates well with me and in the 5-6 times we have had together I find him quite creative with a good imagination. He looks forward to our times together and is disappointed when the school schedule interferes with that time. I look forward to each Thurs. afternoon and come away feeling that that hour was well spent.
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Nelda

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor for just under a year. However, I have worked with Donna as a school counselor for several years previous to that. I have nothing but positive things to say for this organization. I just wish we could get more mentors to meet the needs of so many students that could use them. As a counselor, I would sometimes hear parents or teachers say that students misbehaved because they were just trying to get attention. I would think they were probably right and so wish that there were someone who could answer their need for attention. As a counselor with all the responsibilities of a school with over 600 students, the mentoring just didn't happen. This organization sets up all the logistics to make the good things happen.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to be a volunteer with The Mentoring Network over the past several years and have seen the amazing work that is being done through this program. The mentors and mentees have such an amazing bond and it is obvious that each one plays an important role in the other ones life.

Lawrence V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with the Mentoring Network for 12 years now. I have had the pleasure of mentoring 3 young men. I have enjoyed seeing them grow. It's fun to listen to them and learn to trust you so they can share their experiences, hopes, fears, and the future. I have also experienced several summer camps over the years. One of the most rewarding experience was on a challenge course. Seeing the fear they are experiencing , but then watching as they overcome this fear and complete the course.

Also , the leadership at the Mentoring Network is extremely dedicated to the mission of the Network.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor for almost 2 years now, I have a young girl who was very angry and distant. I am so thrilled to see how she has come so far. I went to see her last week and it was wonderful to see her surrounded by friends and laughing and smiling. I know she can have a very bright path with the right choices and I want to help her understand this. Thanks you Donna for this amazing connection.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor for the Mentoring Network for the past 4 years. The leadership at the Mentoring Network is dedicated to improving the lives of the at-risk children in our communities. As I have shown up each week to bring encouragement and love to my kids that I mentor, I have personally seen the changes in their lives. I am very thankful for the opportunity to mentor that is provided by the Mentoring Network.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked closely with the Mentoring Network and Donna Shines. I cannot speak highly enough of the amazing work that is taking place within our community. It is because of people taking time to mentor that we will begin to see less kids drop-out of school, participate in illegal activities. The kids will know their self-worth and understand they are loved beyond measure. So happy to have the Mentoring Network in our community!

Tami V.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with Donna Shines and the Mentoring Network for approximately 15 years. I first became acquainted with this fantastic program as a classroom teacher and, as an administrator, I recognize the valuable service this organization provides for my students. It started with a young man in my classroom who needed a positive male role model in his life. His mentor stayed with him through high school and into the armed services. I am still in regular contact with this young man, and he attributes much of his success to his mentor, Ray. Throughout my career in education, I've witnessed the powerful transformation of many students who have been able to form bonds with mentoring adults. One student who has bounced from foster home to foster home struggled to form relationships. It took his mentor well over a year to convince him she was not going anywhere and no one was paying her to visit him. Having someone that shows up every week just for him, has given him confidence and strength to handle all the difficult situations that are beyond his control. I could share several stories about this wonderful organization that matches at-risk students with caring adults to form life-long friendships which can be the cornerstone of healthy productive lives. I encourage everyone to join with The Mentoring Network in any capacity whether it be financial support or volunteering time. Together we can make a difference in the lives of children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Mentoring Network Inc has provided a great amount of positive experiences and transformations in our school district's students. As an employee of the school district I have been able to witness social and academic growth through this mentoring program. I was so deeply affected by the amazing work The Mentoring Network Inc does that I became a mentor myself. I would highly recommend becoming a mentor with The Mentoring Network Inc to experience the power of mentoring in our students' lives!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Mentoring Network is the epitome of goodness in Idaho! Bringing caring adults to children in need to give them an opportunity for a positive connection with an adult is something that every child needs. Donna Shines, the MN Board Members and all Volunteers do great things for Idaho!
Toni Brinegar

Esther16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have enjoyed working as a mentor and the experience has been Maude positive through the organization and help of Donna and Gretta

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's been a great pleasure volunteering as a mentor to a beautiful girl name DeAjah during school hours, I have learned a lot about teenagers and has become fond of her and that led to me working on a part time basis at the department of health and wealth farewell with troubled girls which I love doing and help the girls over come their difficulties in life and continue their schooling.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with the Mentoring Network six years ago in the fall of 2009 and continue to do so now. My first mentee was in third grade when we began meeting and he is now a sophomore high school. We continue to meet and discuss whatever he chooses --
mostly interactions at school and what's going on in our local area. In addition I met with
with a middle school girl for two years. Presently I also meet with a 4th grade boy . Each of
these children have shown me how important it is for them to have someone to share with and talk to ... a person who listens carefully to whatever they are trying to express, one who plays with them and helps them learn more about interacting fairly with classmates, etc. etc. The reward that I get from helping these children is watching them grow in so many positive ways. The Mentoring Network is truly a caring and compassionate organization that is making a difference in the life of the children it serves. And for the Mentors who help!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had numerous positive experiences with the Mentoring Network and its employees. They do an excellent job of training mentors, keeping mentors motivated, and communicating with the schools. Its is fun watching students flourish emotionally, academically, and socially because of the strong bond they share with a mentor. I look forward to continue working with the Mentoring Network in my school.

3 Michelle336

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering to make a difference in a child's life is an amazing experience. I've met a friend for life.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Mentoring Network since 2002. In that time, I have had 5 mentees. It was a little disconcerting to have a parent pull a student from the program with no explanation, but, that's what happened. I've enjoyed each student, and have been with the current one 4 years. She's reaching the teenage life, and sometimes I wonder if and how I'm helping her, but then say to myself, just relax, be a friend, play another game of Rummy. That seems to be what she wants/needs. The program has helped me, too, getting me going on days I'd just as soon not go, but once I do, I find it worth it. I have enjoyed the day camps, and can see so many of the kids grow, so I have seen other kids' progress, not just my own. The staff is tremendous, and although the volume of mentors/mentees has grown so much, care is taken to get to know each of us, so we each feel special. This community would be so much poorer in soul without the MN. The sponsors seem to be as interested and involved as those of us with our weekly sessions. The schools have been more than willing to work with my schedule so I can spend time with my special kid. I can only think positively about everyone involved, and am glad I'm in the network.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Like a lot of these kids, i did not have the greatest childhood growing up. I have always wanted to help children and thought this is a great way to do that. When I first met "Matt Man" we had a lot in common. During the 2 years I have mentored Matt we have become good friends, and have helped Matt get through some tough times. Matt will now visit me a the Police station just to say hi. Getting involved in The Mentoring Network was the best thing for me, it has allowed myself, and Matt to grow. Being able to spend an hour a week with Matt just hanging out, or being able to help him through his struggles is something i looked forward too each week. Thanks Mentoring Network for allowing me to do this!

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an elementary principal I had the pleasure of seeing what a positive impact mentoring can have for our most at risk children. The Mentoring Network finds and trains amazing mentors. These mentors are committed to making a difference in the life of a child. It is a compassionate and caring non profit that gets visible results. These caring adults follow our transient students as they move through the valley to different elementary schools and really show they are committed to supporting kids.