65% of students with no mentor struggle connecting to their community. About 200 students participate in Next Step Mentoring annually. 90% of mentored youth express interest in becoming a mentor for others.

We offer relationships with students right where they are and help them build bridges to where they want to be next. Their goals vary. For some it's graduating from junior high or high school and for others they aim to get a job or their driver's license. Whatever it is, the mentors are dedicated to helping youth from all people groups to overcome gaps holding them back.

In partnership with local schools, our mentors meet weekly with a case load of students. The mentoring focus is different for each student. The ultimate goal is guide them to the help they need. Our mentors begin by building relationship with students. This is the biggest priority. The two of them set a weekly plan to see progress in a chosen area, such as improving thier communication skills, homework and grades, or overall mental wellbeing.

Students are coached how to give back by completing service projects with their mentors. They are also taught developmental assets. The mentors don’t just care about one part of the child, but use a holistic appraoch. Young people are guided to grow in five areas: spiritual and moral, educationally, social and civic, economics, and physical health. These assets lead to a healthy balanced teenager and adult.

Meet Demetrius (pictured in blue). He was a sophomore when we met. We hit it off right off and discovered many unexpected things in common, like our homes growing up and the love of football. With what Demetrius experienced personally that year, it was hard focus on school or anything else. As we continued to build our relationship, I learned his living situations wasn’t always the best. He was often surfing from couch to couch without much consistency or encouragement from others. Although he came to school daily, Demetrius was daily flooded with deep concerns. He worried how his family would eat and wondered if graduation was even worth completing. The following year he continued to contemplate dropping out of school to get a part time job for supporting his family. As we talked weekly, I encouraged him to keep going. Demetrius began doing well in school and tried his hardest to not get behind. He just needed someone to remind him why he was sticking with school. During his junior year I saw him experience going to prom. I also go to help him get his license. The most exciting thing was seeing him eventually walk the stage to receive his diploma. Demetrius is a kid who could do anything he set his mind to. He just needed someone with time express their belief in him.

We have a place for anyone interested in mentoring students to the next level. Find out how to begin a relationship like this and ways to support mentoring from behind the scenes at Get Involved.