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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

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with The Mentoring Network for over seven years. What a great group of people to be associated with here in SW Idaho! I have now worked with two different students at the elementary school. The support the Mentoring Network offers mentors is excellent and the whole scope of the project is admirable. As school budgets continue to be cut (and proposed tax levies fail), the role of volunteers - especially well-trained & supported ones from the Mentoring Network - is invaluable in the schools. One hour, once a week really does change lives! www.MentoringNetworkID.org

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I must start by saying that we are all mentors be it good or bad people look at you and see what you are doing. This program helps me as much as my Kid. I have had my boy for 3 years now. I have been his shoulder when he needed it but more then that I have been able to watch him grow to a man and see the way can problem solve. What a young man he is he has gone from a problem child in school to a student that others look to and teachers like to have in the class. Yes it is for the kids but when you open your heart to them it is for you too. What a program everyone needs to be part of it. I thank Donna and staff for all that they do the kids is worth it. Thanks Lennie

Toni12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I mentor two little girls, ages seven and ten. It has been a privilege to work with them this past year and see them blossom. My friends tell me how lucky they are to have me in their lives. I tell them it is just the opposite--I am blessed to have them in my life. I'm really looking forward to being with them for years to come, watching them continue to build their confidence. This program is a tremendous opportunity for children, but no less so for the adults who volunteer and work with them. My thanks and my hat is off to those who worked so hard to move this program from idea to reality. It can't have been easy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of mentoring three students through the Mentoring Network over the past few years. It has been a very rewarding experience. I truly believe the adult mentors can make such a difference in a young person's life. I was blessed to have adult rolemodels in my formulative years that were such a positive influence in my life. My goal is to do the same for other youth and The Mentoring Network is making it a reality.

The Mentoring Network is a wonderful organization that has made such a difference in our community and schools. I am always sharing with other co-workers and friends how they can get involved was well.

Molly19

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked with The Mentoring Network for six years as a school counselor. The Mentoring Network provided us with top-notch mentors who met with several of our students on a consistent, weekly basis. I was always impressed with the quality of the mentors in The Mentoring Network. All of them were highly-regarded, caring individuals who had a soft spot in their hearts for kids. What most impressed me of The Mentoring Network mentors is their consistent caring. I have worked with other mentors before who showed up inconsistently. That was not the case with The Mentoring Network mentors. They showed up every week, regardless of what was going on in their own lives, and they often brought an interesting activity to share with their mentee. I saw mentors and mentees make holiday cards, play board games, and share books together. The activities provided a route for the mentors and mentees to connect. I would often see them laughing and talking together as they worked together. Also, The Mentoring Network mentees would continue their students for years. That sense of continuity and consistency gave my students a feeling a connectedness that they so desperately needed. The Mentoring Network fills a huge need in our community and it is an organization that I trust and respect to always do what's best for kids!

Sue_41

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Mark is an Asperger Syndrome child, he was so lonely and bullied in grade school, he just never fit in. He was enrolled in the mentoring program in 6th grade and it literally changed his life. His friendship with Donna gave him self-confidence and gave him the introduction to social skills that we as parents were unable to do. Coming from Donna things made more sense to him, he didn't battle her the way he did with us, and accepted her advice as help not criticism. He graduated from High School this year and I am so proud of the young man he has become, I sincerely believe without the mentoring programs guidance and encouragement he wouldn't be where he is today. The program involved him in social functions, fun events, and learning programs that got him out of his comfort zone and into the adventure of the real world with others. We are so grateful for everything the program does for the kids in need in our community!!

Shelley E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been mentoring the same student for almost 3 years, and it is such a blessing to watch her grow and mature. The Mentoring Network offers students a chance to have an adult mentor with whom they can develop a meaningful relationship. There are so many great kids already benefiting from this program and in reality every child needs a mentor who they can call a friend.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of facilitating a mentoring relationship with students at my school. As a school counselor, I frequently receive information about students' lives and the impact of their circumstances on their academic performance and general well-being. The students at my school who have been in mentoring relationships through The Mentoring Network transform from sullen to smiling. One teacher remarked, "I wish I had 30 of him" (of the mentor) because she was so impressed with the impact on her student and the benefits mentors could provide to her entire class. This mentor proved his dedication by continuing a mentoring relationship through letters when the student moved to another part of the state. The mentors receive an excellent orientation prior to beginning and I am impressed by the organization, opportunities for summer camp, and data from The Network. I have to agree with the teacher quoted above--I wish we had many more mentors available.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Mentoring Network is a meaningful program which helps kids experience genuine kindness and acceptance.

Board Member

Rating: 5

One hour a week truly does change a childs life! Working with The Mentoring Network the past few years has afforded me the opportunity to hear many, many stories of kids that have been positively impacted through spending time with their adult mentor. This organization is one of the most efficient organizations that I have been a part of. Over 140 current matches with a staff of 1.5. No doubt that a donor's investment goes a long way with this group.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a counselor in the Nampa School District, and have seen amazing things come from the Mentoring Network! The mentors that they set up with our students are truely making a difference in these kids lives.

Sue_39

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am in my 3rd year of mentoring the same child. When I was first approached to be a mentor, I said no. Then, when it was explained to me, that the child was very sad because he didn't have a mom, due to her death at my mentee's age 3, I decided to just try it and I have was pleasently surprised. I was able to show up as a mentor every week for an hour my first year. During my 2nd year, we ended up getting a new 2nd home, where I began spending a lot of time. I asked my mentee if he wanted a new Mentor that could show up each week, and he said no, he would take me whenever I could show up. So, I began coming just once a month, which was still very satisfying for both of us. This year, I have been able to see him more often. I look forward to every meeting with my mentee. He is always so excited when he sees me waiting for him in the office, which reminds me that this is good for both of us. We spend time talking and playing games, which is one of his favorite things. When it's good weather, we play outside. Every winter, we make something special for a Christmas gift for his Dad, and he really loves this, as he normally wouldn't have anything to give his Dad for Christmas. My mentee really loves hot chocolate, so each time I see him, I bring him a thermos of hot chocolate, which he enjoys immensly. If I have any homemade treats, I also bring these, which he loves, since he doesn't have a mom to make these goodies for him. When there is a special occasion in his class, I will bring treats for all, and this makes him so happy as he is able to share with his class members. I try to go to his sports events and support him. I love being able to watch the games and I think he likes me coming to watch him. He told me that he had a friend who needed a mentor, because the boy was acting out. He thought that having a mentor would help his friend. This is further confirmation that this is a great program. The mentoring network is awesome and I really think that it helps kids as well as the adults.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An boy with some anger issues, has a constant adult in his life. No matter what he may or may not have done each week, she shows up to be One Of His People. It makes a difference. A girl who struggles with self esteem has an adult that thinks she is wonderful and treats her as such. It makes a difference. A young boy working on making better decisions in his life, has a role model that is firm, but fun. It makes a difference. These are examples of the mentors that come to our school. Our kids are so thankful for the mentors provided by The Mentoring Network and we are, too. South Middle School

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work as an elementary school counselor in the Nampa School District. I have seen mentors from the Mentoring Network change lives and help put kids back on a positive track. Sometimes a student's needs are truly overwhelming, and yet, one person in their lives can and does make a huge difference. That student now has a caring person to help direct them, dialogue with them, and give the valuable feedback for their decision-making and choices, where they may go unchecked before. This one person walking into their lives can help foster a relationship of support and positive rapport that generates encouragement for a child like non other. A student often needs that one person who is not an authority figure, who helps draw the safe and healthy boundaries that lead a student down the road of success. Mentors do all that, and more!! Thanks to the Mentoring Network for helping youth in a big way.

Scott45

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a school counselor and have had several kids mentored by your fine people. All of the kids have had a very positive experience. On my end you have been a pleasure to work with also.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am both a volunteer, a board member, and a donor. I've been mentoring the same girl for the past seven years and to watch her grow in confidence during this time has been a real gift for me. The Mentoring Network provides a safe mentoring opportunity for both volunteers and their mentees in a school-based setting. It's run so efficiently and so effectively, I'm convinced it's the best return on investment for anyone involved in any capacity - as a volunteer, as a donor, or as a friend of the network, you know that your gift is being well utilized to help change the course for a child that so very much needs our help!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm a school counselor in the Nampa School District, one of the districts served by the Mentoring Network. I have seen firsthand the significant positive impacts this program has for youth who need, more than anything else, a committed positive adult in their lives. I have many things I can offer to kids: groups, individual work with me, incentive programs, assistance with coping. But for kids in certain circumstances, those things cannot substitute for the committment of another human being who says, with their weekly attendance and consistency, "you are worth my time". Many of these children have never had a person make this kind of promise to them and they've never had someone's undivided attention for a whole hour, simply because someone chooses to give it. I've seen a child's life path altered, for the better, over and over, and unbelievably quickly. Sending a message to a child like, "Simply because I care for you, I will spend my time with you every week. I will be here for you. You will be able to count on me, because I will keep my promise." That changes people in a profound way. Hearts change. Approaches to life change. Belief in others changes. Trust and hope begin to blossom. Solutions are found. Grades improve. Behavior improves. I had one child who could always name at least 3 people whose fault it was that his homework wasn't done, that he'd punched someone, that he'd cursed on the playground, etc. After 3 months of mentoring, his attitude improved and he began to say things like, "I know my grades are low. I didn't turn in my assignments. That's my fault." His whole life will be different because he is now taking responsiblity for his decisions. He will grow to be a different man. The differences seem small at first, but they are huge in terms of life trajectory. Mentoring Network makes these things possible. It is an organization run with great integrity and a heart for changing the world, one child at a time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As an organizational development expert, I know change happens one individual at a time, and the Mentoring Network changes many lives for the better with its program. I so believe in this program because I can see it making a difference to both mentee and mentor. It is rewarding to have a chance to be a special friend to a young person and it helps kids see the world has people who want them to have good lives. The way the mentoring is set up it builds real connections and genuine concern. I think it is a priviledge to be a mentor.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

What a great experience for both me and my mentee! We have been two years together now and I can see a remarkable difference with Abby, our conection, her behavior, and my feelings for her. I am not sure who is learning the most, Abby or myself. I am so glad I got into this program and I urge anyone with an extra hour a week to give, try it it works.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is my second school year with my mentee, and it has been such an amazing experience for me. The second my mentee and I met, we instantly bonded. Each week he brings a light to my day, and brings me back to reality. I know being a constant in his life has added to his self esteem and school work, but he brings me just as much joy when I get to spend time with him. -Jamie M.