OAR volunteers have mentored the incarcerated for over 42 years. Mentors provide a meaningful and stable relationship for someone with a limited support system. Mentoring helps fill a gap in an individual’s life and exposes a mentee to a new type of relationship and new perspectives. This has a dramatic influence on an individual’s decision making. Mentors can make the difference! A mentor’s patience and trust will build a relationship where change is encouraged, expected, and possible. The OAR mentoring program provides clients with a positive and supportive network that reduce the challenges associated with release and builds a foundation for ongoing success.
Mentoring relationships begin when a mentee is within 3 months of his/her release date and continues for a total period of 15 months (3 months pre-release and 12 months post release). This allows the mentor and the mentee to build an established relationship, develop plans, and set specific goals prior to the mentee’s release from incarceration. Mentors and mentees are expected to meet weekly, while still incarcerated, and then have regular contact (3 to 4 times per month) post release.
Volunteers are thoroughly trained and supported by OAR staff. An initial orientation to the mentoring program is provided and is followed up with specific training provided by OAR Case Managers. All mentors are provided with a Mentoring Program Manual and have regular access to an OAR Case Manager who is also assigned to the client being mentored. Mentors are offered regular opportunities for ongoing trainings as a part of the OAR Continuing Education Program. This is designed to encourage volunteer mentors to support one another and to provide high quality learning opportunities.
Mentor Pairing and Program Safety
OAR follows established procedures and considers the individual requirements of each volunteer when pairing mentors and mentees. OAR matches mentors and mentees while considering factors such as gender, geographic location, criminal history and other requirements. OAR’s mentoring program is built on a foundation of evidenced-based best practices for mentoring programs. The mentoring program sets clear boundaries on the mentoring relationships. The boundaries are expressly and continuously communicated to mentees and enforced by OAR staff. These boundaries allow for a meaningful and appropriate relationship between mentor and mentee but maintain appropriate levels of anonymity and confidentiality for the volunteer.
OAR has the immediate need for volunteer mentors. If you are interested in learning more please click here to contact OAR.