Every Wednesday at Door to Grace, all mentors and mentees gather as a family for a weekly meal at the Day Home. While we have continual programming for our mentees, Door to Grace also offers a special monthly highlight event. Such events have included a tour of the Willamette River on a jet boat, a guided oil painting experience with a professional artist, or an afternoon riding a horse! The mentor volunteers are there in so many ways, whether to accompany a mentee to doctor’s appointments, court appearances, or to simply be a guide and trusted friend.
Door to Grace offers loving services and vital resources to girls who are:
- between the ages of 13- 17, who never age out once they are in the program
- survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, and
- preparing to leave “the life”.
Serving girls from Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties, Door to Grace helps to facilitate and provide an adult female mentor volunteer who has undergone extensive training to work with this population. Mentors help guide these teens and young women to slowly rebuild their self-esteem and resiliency. They work to help girls stay in school, find and keep jobs, and rebuild their lives.
Research Supports One-on-One Mentoring:
Mentees: A study showed that the strongest benefit from mentoring, and most consistent across risk groups, was a reduction in depressive symptoms – particularly noteworthy giving that almost one in four youth reported worrisome levels of these symptoms at baseline (The Role of Risk, 2013).
Mentors: One well-established general benefit of volunteering is enhanced psychological and behavioral well-being. In addition, there are benefits specifically associated with being a mentor, including having enjoyable interactions with mentees, feeling satisfied and fulfilled as a mentor, and receiving professional development opportunities both through receiving mentor training and helping a younger protégé.
Door to Grace is pleased to include group mentoring for all mentees within our program. Girls Circle—a promising practice curriculum—integrates relational theory, resiliency practices, and skills training, all with the main focus of increasing connection, strength, and competence in girls. This group mentoring is designed to foster self-esteem, help girls maintain authentic connection with peers and adult women in their community, counter trends toward self-doubt, and allow for genuine self-expression through verbal sharing and creative activity.
Research Supports Girls Circle: When youth are not physically or emotionally safe, self-worth is affected because girls cannot develop trust in many relationships and settings. For example, 39% of middle school students and 36% of high school students say they don’t feel safe at school (Josephson Institute of Ethics, 2001). A national survey of girls revealed that emotional safety is as important as physical safety for girls (Girl Scout Research Institute Report, 2003).