January is National Mentoring Month. This annual recognition is an opportunity to raise awareness about the power of mentoring, especially for our youth. Mentoring makes a difference regardless of age, however, and this month we'd like to spotlight the significant difference that mentors are making through Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) and our Second Chance Reentry Initiative Mentoring Program (SCRIMP) both of which help individuals who have been incarcerated to get back on their feet. Keep reading to learn more about this program, and how you can help.
Most often, individuals released from prison, jail or treatment programs return to their communities with fewer resources and bigger problems than when they left. Without the basic necessities of life, it is all too easy for them to fall back into their old lifestyles and habits. Catholic Charities works with Seeds of Hope to provide programs and services that will give these individuals the support and strength necessary to turn their lives around. From the essentials, such as food and shelter, to providing job assistance and emotional support to rebuild healthy relationships, we do everything we can to ensure that these individuals have a chance to experience hope and fulfillment.
One of the ways we do this is through mentoring and a unique therapy program called MRT. MRT is a cognitive behavioral training program that was designed by psychologists and social workers in the Georgia prison system to end the cycle of repeated crime, addiction and incarceration. Participants develop higher levels of moral reasoning, honesty and accountability. They are held accountable by their peers, who vote to decide if the participant has successfully completed the exercises included in each of the 12 steps; only when their peers have given the go-ahead can the participant move on to the next step.
Mentoring is a key component of the MRT Program. Each participant is assigned a mentor who communicates with them at least weekly, for four to eight hours monthly. Most mentors meet with the participants primarily during their MRT classes, but some meet with their mentees outside of class, too. The MRT environment provides a safe place for mentors and participants to get to know each other so that they feel comfortable offering or accepting assistance or advice when it is needed. Mentors can then help with locating resources, securing a job, and they provide emotional support so that mentees aren't tempted to fall back on the old behaviors and friends that got them into trouble in the first place.
Many of our mentors bring a unique passion and perspective because, at one time, they've been in the same shoes, and they know what their mentees are going through. The opportunity to spend time with others who are struggling with similar issues in a supportive and positive environment slowly builds trust in the group and the program. This leads to success in and outside of the group.
Volunteer mentors receive training about the "Dos and Don'ts for Jail Volunteers," naivity, mentoring, professionalism, ethics, healthy relationships and more. Volunteering as a mentor in our MRT and SCRIMP programs is an enriching way to help ensure that every person who walks through our door has a chance to experience hope and fulfillment. For more information, or to apply as a mentor in our MRT and SCRIMP programs, please click here to contact Marci Smith.blog comments powered by Disqus