Virtual Mentor Program

Physical Distance Does Not Mean Social Isolation

A Family For Every Child's Virtual Mentor Program provides support and guidance to youth utilizing technology versus face to face. Once social distancing has been relaxed, transitioning to our traditional Mentor Program is an option after a home visit. Communicating remotely and through technology can offer youth a bit of a "shield" or safer vantage point to share information. Sharing online as opposed to in person, they are able to compose better responses, take time to gather their emotions and opt out of a difficult conversation if needed.

How Virtual Mentoring Works

To become a Mentor in our Virtual Mentor Program, you will follow the same steps as with our traditional Mentor Program. Once matched with a youth, the Mentor will connect weekly via phone call, text, email or other electronic means. 

What Is Required To Participate?

  • 21 years old
  • Have a reliable internet connection / cell phone
  • 1 year commitment
  • Volunteer application & 3 references
  • Background check
  • Interview and Orientation
  • Option to transition to our traditional Mentor Program after an approved home visit
  • Submit a Monthly Mentor Report

Family Preservation Program

There are families in our community at risk for child abuse and/or neglect. These families need guidance to move on from the past and into the next chapter of their lives, learning how to make positive changes for themselves and their families.

What is the FAMILY PRESERVATION PROGRAM?

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program focuses on keeping the family unit together. We believe these early and often preventative steps can make the difference between a family successfully parenting their children and losing them to the foster care system. Effective family preservation efforts could keep many children from the trauma of entering foster care. AFFEC utilizes informal (self-referrals and community partners) and formal (DHS) referral processes, as well as AFFEC's own programs to identify families in need.

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program is an intervention and prevention program that is both culturally responsive and community-based. Through this program, parents and their children/youth become empowered to create positive and long term changes for their families.

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program utilizes mutual support (the giving and getting of help). Parent mentors lead by example to achieve personal growth, improve family functioning, and achieve parental and child/youth resilience.

Our Family Preservation and Parent Mentor program works with families to bring about constructive change through support, guidance, instruction and training. The ultimate goal is to maintain children safely at home in order to spare them the trauma of separation.

Keeping the Family Unit Together

Parents are looking for a supportive, non-judgmental environment to learn new parenting strategies and develop leadership and advocacy skills for their families.   AFFEC recognizes the strengths and knowledge of families and the key role they play in the lives of not only their own family members, but in the lives of other families on a similar journey.

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program   is a Parent Mentor Program that supports families connecting with one another throughout the community.   This program pairs parents with trained mentors who can provide support, encouragement, and information on ways to advocate for your child and family.

At present, the Family Preservation program is generally available only in Lane County, Oregon because of budget and resource limitations. We are interested in expanding the program in cost-effective ways; if you or your organization are interested in helping to expand it, please get in touch!

It Takes a Village and Neighbors Help Neighbors

Every day mentors use their time and their gifts to strengthen families and communities. What we are offering is the gift of time; a hand up rather than a handout. Money can help in many different ways as we are all aware; taking time to empower individuals and give them the tools to become better parents to a child who is part of our community is priceless. Many work hard to deal with the challenges of environments where unemployment, violence, and drugs are taking their toll. In the face of these obstacles, community residents look for the connections to vital resources to improve their odds of succeeding. How important and valuable is the simple gift of friendship? How rewarding would it be to pass on valuable life skills to a person or family in need of a hand up to the next step in life?

Parent Mentors

Matches are based on the needs expressed by the family, so each family is able to determine the kind of mentor they need.

We work with families as a team to see to it that the family is provided services and training (e.g., job training, job search assistance, housing, anger management training, and respite care). There is monthly reporting and interaction with all the members of the team. Qualitative outcomes we seek include strengthening parent-child attachment, at risk families and others marginalized by the system. The Parent Mentor Team is made up of clinical staff, case managers and Parent Mentor who provide individual and group treatment to parents, their children and other family members. Services are provided in the family's home as well as in community settings.

Mentor Program

Mentor Program Mission Statement

The mission of A Family For Every Child's Mentor Program is to unite foster care and at-risk youth in our community with enthusiastic, dedicated, and caring adults who can provide friendship and encouragement while supporting them through life’s various transitions, instilling independence and ultimately building long lasting bonds.

Program Goals

Since the Mentor Program’s inception in 2007, the vision of the program has been to connect youth with positive members of their community to build friendships and have role models who:

  • Provide youth with support and guidance
  • Provide the youth with someone to call and hang out  "just because."
  • Provide a potentially permanent bond for the youth.
  • Teach independent living/life skills, instill creativity, and promote the youth's self esteem.

Who We Serve

A Family For Every Child’s Mentor Program serves Oregon youth in Lane County, the greater Portland area, and other areas of Western Oregon. We serve children who are at risk and in need of permanent connections due to being in foster care or have been exposed to experience that could hinder their full potential.

How Do I Refer My Youth?

Parents, caseworkers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, foster parents... almost anyone can refer a youth! A pillar of our program is that all youth participation is voluntary -- every youth in our program is in it because they want to be and no youth shall ever be forced to have a mentor. Know a youth who needs mentor?

What Does A Mentor Do?

There aren’t any typical mentor matches as we don’t have typical youth or mentors. The beauty of A Family For Every Child’s Mentor Program is that it allows for each mentor match to be distinctive. Mentors and youth are matched based upon their mutual interests, not by numbers on a waiting list. Your mentor experience will be as unique as you are! What are your interests? What are your passions? What do you like to do to pass the time? Mentoring is so easy because all you have to do is include your youth in the things you already like to do!

How Do I Become A Mentor?

Becoming a mentor doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Most mentors are matched within six weeks of submitting their application! You’ll find that it’s easier than ever to make a difference in a youth’s life.

Sports and Outdoors Mentor Program

Designed for our male youth, the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program makes mentoring more accessible than ever. With a focus on physical activities, lower mentor age requirement and shorter 6 month commitment period, we're breaking down the barriers of male mentoring and creating new possibilities for youth who typically wait longer for their very own mentors

Non Traditional Mentor Program

New for Fall 2019, our NTMP places our Volunteers in specific locations within Lane County. We are kicking off the new program at the Eugene Library and area middle and high schools. Volunteers will be available in the Teen Center  / Family Resource Rooms to meet with youth for homework support, conversation, play a game of cards, etc. It is our belief that organic connections will be made.  After establishing a relationship with a youth for several months, transitioning to our traditional Mentor Program is always an option.

Requirements include :

  • 19 + yrs old
  • 2-3 hours , once or twice a week
  • Complete our Volunteer application including 3 references / background check

Host Home

Why Do We Need the Host Home Program?

Here in the Eugene/Springfield homelessness is a widespread issue that many organizations have been grappling with for years. In Eugene alone there are over 300 students experiencing homelessness each year -- and these are just the students who come forward. Youth under the age of 18 are unable to access many food distribution resources, shelters, and resource centers due to their status as a minor. For those between the ages of 18 and 23, the available resources are oftentimes not appropriate and young people can find themselves interacting with populations they have not yet encountered. In order to fill this gap in resources for youth the Host Home Program acts as a safety net for young people experiencing homelessness.

How Does the Host Home Program Work?

AFFEC identifies and certifies volunteers who have space in their homes and in their hearts for a student experiencing homelessness. These Host Homes act as a layer of support by providing a student a safe and reliable home while the continue their education. While Host Home Volunteers are not considered foster parents, they do serve a mentor-like role in the youth’s life by helping him or her gain the life skills needed so they do not fall back into the life of homelessness in the future.

Who Does the Program Serve?

We serve students experiencing homelessness in Eugene/Springfield. The youth we serve are actively attending school, have no history of violence against others and are not in immediate need of medical interventions. What’s more, the program is voluntary -- no youth is ever pressured into becoming a part of the program and they understand that there are expectations should they decide to proceed and agree to those conditions. They have reached out because they want to be safe.

What are the Requirements to Become a Host Home?

Housing providers must:

  • Have an available, private or shared bedroom for the youth that has a bed, a window, and space for them to store their belongings.
  • Have at least one adult, age 26+, who permanently resides in the home.
  • Have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have either renters or house insurance.
  • Have an economically stable living situation.

What Support Will the Students and Host Homes Receive?

Program participants will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night Network. By being connected to the network, AFFEC can help youth get their Oregon ID, SNAP benefits, clothing vouchers, transportation resources, and other necessities. It is not expected that those taking youth into their homes will take on a heavy financial burden when providing this service.

I Would Like More Information. Who do I Contact?

You can always give us a call at 541-343-2856.
You can also contact out Host Home Director by email at hosthome@afamilyforeverychild.org

15th Night / Host Home Overview

Why we need you!

Our Host Home program is an innovative and scalable effort that could move the needle for homeless students. It will save money and lives, but it will take a team.

Reasons you should be involved!

  • Youth who are “new” to our streets are more likely to become chronically homeless if we do not intervene within 15 nights.
  • 68.4% of homeless students scored below standards. 82.3% of homeless students scored below standard in math and 60.4% of homeless students scored below standard in science.
  • Youth that have experienced homelessness are 50% more likely not to receive a high school diploma. It is our goal to develop this program to interrupt this cycle and produce education and personal successes for 50 of these homeless youth.
  • In 2017, we had 325 Bethel-Eugene 4J youth experiencing homelessness and identified as unaccompanied minors—90 dropped out of school.
  • For every $1 spent on youth interventions that address homelessness, the community saves $4.12 according to a New Avenues for Youth study (Portland, Oregon 2010).
  • Oregon estimates that 24,000 unaccompanied youth experience homelessness each year in Oregon.
  • National studies indicate that most of these youth run away due to family conflict or abuse, while others are kicked out of their home and forced to fend for themselves.
  • We are getting results. The percentage of unaccompanied students compared to the total number of homeless students in the 4J and Bethel school districts dropped from 26.3% in the 2013-2014 school year to 23.7% in the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Last school year, 15th Night Rapid Access Network (RAN) advocates sent alerts on behalf of 162 unaccompanied students with a total of 292 services and resource requested. The most common requests were for basic needs like clothing and shoes, food and shelter. As of the end of the year, 30 local youth-serving organizations (“providers”) were responding to unaccompanied student needs via the 15th Night Rapid Access Network (RAN).

What is 15th Night?

One night on the street is too many. The 15th Night is a community-wide partnership that helps more than 480 of our Eugene-Springfield students who are navigating school and life alone, without a permanent place to spend the night.  Bringing together existing community resources, the 15th Night focuses on the safety and well-being of our vulnerable Eugene-Springfield youth who do not have a parent or guardian to support them. These resource teams include at least one representative from the University of Oregon, Bethel School District, Lane County Health and Human Services, the Eugene Police Department, City Councilor Ward 8, Eugene City Manager, Lane ESD, Eugene 4J School District, as well as over 30 area nonprofits.

Our latest effort is to work with individual high schools and their feeder middle schools on creating their own internal response team for homeless youth within their school. This is known as the School Mobilization Model.  Our Host Home program is, at its core, working to engage the school’s parent and teacher community, as well as local neighborhood groups and business, to wrap services and support all around these youth.  We believe this is a program/effort that is effective, innovative, and could be reproduced in any community.

What is the Host Home Program?

Here in Eugene/Springfield, homelessness is a wide-spread issue that many organizations have been grappling with for years.  Many people turn to the Eugene Mission, or other shelters in our community, to seek temporary housing, especially during the cold winter months. However, if you are an unaccompanied youth and you are experiencing homelessness, you do not have access to Adult Shelters. This leaves youth with 7 beds at the one shelter we have for under 18, if they can get in, or sleeping on the street. Youth under the age of 18 are also unable to access many food distribution resources and resource centers due to their status as a minor.

Having a safe and stable place to call home is an immeasurably important resource that many of us take for granted. AFFEC will is providing homes for students referred to the 15th Night network, who are maintaining regular attendance at school, so they can experience this necessity, while completing their secondary education. These homes are split into two categories- short term and long term. Short term housing providers will house a youth as they enter the program, for up to 30 days, unless a bond is formed between the pair. While staying in this home, the youth will work with AFFEC to determine who can provide them with the most successful long term placement. The long term housing providers will house the youth for the duration of their high school career.

This sounds like a big commitment and it is. Housing providers are not allotted monthly stipends for supporting the youth and they assume a parental role in the relationship. However, the pair will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night network by being connected to the network.

AFFEC is licensed through the state of Oregon.  As the only licensed Host Home program in the state, we have an advantage to serve all ages, all background with no geographic barriers.  Because we have successfully completed the licensing process we are also very committed to assisting other blooming Host Home programs throughout the state.

The RAN technology was updated over the summer based on feedback from our community advocates and network of 30+ service providers. RAN 2.0 was successfully launched in late September and enables school specific RANs to be connected to the larger Community RAN.

The 15th Night expanded into Springfield this fall. Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Police Department can now access the 15th Night RAN on behalf of students experiencing homelessness. Catholic Community Services, First Place Family Shelter, Whitebird Dental, and the Eugene Mission have all joined the 30+ network of providers who responded in real time to the 292 alerts for help this year.

Sometimes the 15th Night Network is unable to meet a specific need of a student. This is where our Community Responder volunteers step into action. Over 50 people have volunteered to receive alerts from the 15th Night when there is a need that is hard to fill like special clothing, shoes, or gift cards for food.

Even students are stepping up for each other.  The Economic Justice League (EJL) for homeless and economically-challenged youth was created at South Eugene High School.  Along with 15th Night, we are working to execute the vision of keeping kids in school and supporting those struggling with housing.  One of South Eugene’s projects is opening a drop-in center for students to get help, support, and access to resources.  This includes food throughout the school day as well as free dinners-to-go, access to computers and technology, washer and dryer, free counseling, and much more. The goal is to have this room open before school, during lunch, and after school for any student that needs support. We hope to bring in therapists, artists, performers, hair stylists, barbers, and mentors of all kinds. We plan to have Fancy Dinner nights, Hair/Makeup/Makeover nights, Open Mic/Performance nights, arts and crafts, movie and game nights, and more.

Working Together to Protect our Youth

15th Night Rapid Access Network Community Partners are working together to safeguard more than 480 Eugene-Springfield students who do not have a parent or guardian to support them, or a permanent place to call home. With thanks to their involvement, the 15th Night community movement can prevent Eugene-Springfield youth from going out on the street, and intervene quickly if they do.  This partnership includes many state / government resource and over 30 community nonprofits that all make a commitment to work together.

Refer a Mentor

Know someone who would make a great mentor? Send them our way!

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Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program

What is the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program?

The Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program provides mentoring for youth considered at-risk and may otherwise have to wait months to be matched with a mentor because of the high need for more active volunteers. In addition, the program provides unique opportunities for at-risk children to experience participatory and spectator sports as well as the abundance of outdoor activities Lane County has to offer.

How Does the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program Work?

You will be matched with one youth or a sibling pair whom you will mentor for the duration of your commitment. At least once per week for 2-3 hours, you will meet with your youth to engage in an outdoor and/or sports activity (we’ll match you with a youth who likes the same activities you do!). You will be responsible for scheduling a time to meet with your youth and will keep A Family For Every Child up to date with your progress with monthly activity reports. There is a 6 month commitment, however, it can be extended!

What are the requirements?

The requirements are similar to our Mentor Program and just as easy! If you fit the following criteria you can be a Sports and Outdoor Mentor to a youth in our program:

  • 19 years of age and older
  • Willing to meet with buddy 2-3 hours per week for sports/outdoor mentoring
  • Able to commit to 6 months of mentoring
  • Able to pass a background check
  • Able to provide three character references
  • Able to mentor a youth in the Eugene or Springfield area

We’re here to guide and support you through this process — it’s easier than you think!

How is this program different from the Mentor Program?

This program is for youth in our program who are not yet matched with a mentor. While some of the basics are the same, there are some key differences:

  • This program’s main focus is on sports and outdoor activities
  • The time commitment is 6 months, as opposed to 18 months
  • Youth are NOT allowed to visit their mentor’s home
  • The minimum age for mentors is 19-years-old

Mentor Resources

Becoming A Mentor

Any volunteers that have the privilege of working with children must go through an extensive clearing process. This is a step by step guide on what the requirements are for becoming a mentor, as well as resources to assist mentors once they are matched.

Step 1: Completing a Volunteer Application

The first step in beginning the mentor process is completing a volunteer application. A Family For Every Child's volunteer application requires all volunteers to sign a confidentiality statement. This means that all volunteers are subject to liability if they reveal confidential or identifying information about a child. This is particularly poignant for mentors since they spend one on one time with the child/children. The volunteer application also lists a series of mentor questions to help staff identify what the mentor's interests and hobbies are, as well as what their lifestyle might be like. It is not mandatory to complete the entire questionnaire when filling out the volunteer application, because all mentors must also complete an in home interview.

Step 2: In-Home Interview

All mentors must participate in an in-home interview. An AFFEC staff member will contact you in order to schedule a time when which he or she may come to the potential mentor's home and talk with them about the program as well as what the mentor envisions what the mentor/mentee relationship will look like. The AFFEC representative may review questions that were originally on the volunteer application for further clarification.

Step 3: The Background Check

All mentors and any adult living in their homes are subject to a criminal background check. After completing the background check, you will receive a series of emails that need to be responded to accordingly and will prompt you to get your fingerprints taken at a designated location. The request will time out in 21 days, so it is important to do this as soon as possible.The potential mentor's fingerprints are then sent to the state and the FBI. Background checks usually take 1-3 weeks to be fully processed, and must come back "approved" for a mentor to be matched with a child.

Step 4: Mentor Orientation

Furthermore, mentors are required to attend a mentor orientation. The mentor orientation reviews important topics, such as the program's requirements, the population we work with, the mentor match process, mandatory reporting, effective communication, and match closure. The orientation is the first step in learning about mentoring and working with a child, however, the orientation should not be expected to have "all the answers." For this reason, mentor volunteers also receive monthly training webinars and access to extra resources.

Mentor Assisted Life Skills & Educational Outreach

A Family For Every Child has begun two programs in in order to help support mentors and mentees in our Mentor Program – the Educational Outreach program and Mentor Assisted Life Skills Program. The mission of these branches is to support youth educationally through connecting with their schools and providing them with the life skills they need in order to live as successful adults.

What is Mentor Assisted Life Skills Training?

We pair mentors with youth who will work on developing life skills together. Mentors and mentees will be offered a curriculum that includes information on how to handle one's finances, healthcare, cooking, and more. This program will better prepare children who are at risk of "aging out" of foster care and living on their own. These classes in conjunction with the mentors' support will aid in the success of each child becoming a self sufficient adult!

These fun and informative classes are held on a monthly basis, and we hope to increase that number soon. These classes are not only learning opportunities, but they’re opportunities for foster youth to meet their peers.

If you are interested in helping with our Mentor Assisted Life Skills classes, please email mentor@afamilyforeverychild.org.

What is the Educational Outreach Program?

Many children in foster care do not receive the academic assistance that they need. Due to the lack of aid and the probability of a higher rate of school transfers, many foster youth struggle to remain academically on track. With Assistance from the Oregon Community Foundation, our Educational Outreach Program connects mentors to their mentee's school so they may help their mentee if he or she is struggling. Our Education Outreach Coordinator helps guide the mentor by connecting them to key individuals, meetings regarding their mentee, offering trainings, and more.

Mary Bromley, Education Outreach Coordinator