Outreach Community Center

Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Education

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Too often our young people are the casualties in families where there is a parent or sibling struggling with addiction. The same can be true in low income or single parent households, even when substance abuse is not an issue. The Outreach Community Center seeks to embrace high risk youngsters and help shelter them against numerous pitfalls.

Saving Our City One Child At A Time

n 2001 city agencies that reach out to young people involved in gangs, and high risk youth in the streets, recognized that we had an emerging gang problem in the Rochester, NY area. Just 4 years later, the problem was no longer emerging. It was full scale. Research has shown that young people who are most likely to become involved in gangs are lacking positive mentors and role models. The deterioration of the family unit, along with poverty, and few opportunities has ushered in a rise in the number of gang participants and acts of violence. Law enforcement and a police presence may help to quell the violence but it does little to foster a sense of purpose, hope or well-being for these young men and women. Having a person in their lives who has overcome the odds, can change the landscape and provide the necessary proof that hard work, self-control and good decision making WILL lead to success. Too many impoverished young people today don't expect to live beyond the age of 20. Their only plan is to live fast.

However dozens of young people have found help, support, instruction and love at the Outreach Community Center over the years. When they come through these doors, they are walking into a safe environment, where the challenges that face them can be sorted out and addressed. There is a vibrant youth program here and a successful mentoring program as well. Mentoring has proven to be one of the most effective ways to pass on skills, knowledge and wisdom, for training the next generation.

If you ask fifteen different people to define mentoring, you will get fifteen different answers. Although there are a lot more complex definitions, at its core mentoring is about passing on skills, knowledge, and wisdom from one person to another. The mentoring relationships we foster here at the Center are tailored to the specific needs and character of the child and the mentor, ideally falling squarely in between. But no matter what form the relationship takes, what is most important is the learning that occurs. We all thrive when we learn in the presence and with the help of others who have gone before us. Mentors do more than simply pass on knowledge and information. They impart lessons on the art and science of living and overcoming adversity. And through the practice of mentoring, we help youngsters acquire vital knowledge and skills more quickly, and often effectively enough to counteract the lessons already learned in the classroom of life.

The Most Effective Mentor Will:
  • 1. Determine what you want from the relationship and set goals.

  • 2. Listen carefully and keep an open mind. The child will show you what he/she needs.

  • 3. Communicate often and openly with the child's parent or guardian.

  • 4. Make a point of keeping every scheduled meeting.

  • 5. Don't multi-task during meetings. Quality time is more valuable than quantity of time.

  • 6. Show an interest in the child's school (and other) activities and monitor progress.

  • 7. Give a lot of positive feedback.

Mentoring is a 2-way street if done well. It can be as rewarding for the mentor as for the child. Children progress more quickly when they know they are listened to, and cared about. When a child can see his or herself as a contributor in the relationship, it bolsters his/her self esteem. And when a mentor can give positive feedback and communicate effectively bonds are formed and trust is developed. Many children growing up in unstable situations are longing for security and some one they know they can call on in times of trouble. But at the same time, they can be cautious and slow to trust. As in all relationships, honesty, accountability and dependablity are paramount. Providing a non-judgemental environment opens the door for self-discovery and mutual understanding. It may not always be easy, but mentoring is rewarding.

Your time and guidance is the most valuable thing you can give a young person.

Mentoring is a very important part of what we do here. Mentors provide a vital service to our youth. We are always looking for volunteers who have a burden for the youth and want to help.
Bishop Herman Dailey
- President and Founder
Outreach taught me that before a boy can become a man, he must learn responsibility. We all have responsibilities for ourselves, families and our community.
Marlin T. Boga
- From his book, "Team Outreach"

As we struggle to combat the problems we are facing in our schools, gang violence in our streets, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and the rise of STDs and HIV/AIDS, adopting good mentoring programs may deliver the positive results we need. Countless lives have been restored simply because a compassionate hand was extended to a struggling individual. That is not to say that mentoring is the answer in all situations, but at the Outreach Community Center the rate of success speaks for itself.

Copyright Outreach Community Center © 2009. All Rights Reserved.
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