The Communities In Schools of Cleveland County Mentor Program serves students from all over Cleveland County. It is funded by the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, which is committed to reducing and eliminating juvenile delinquency.
The program goals are to surround youth with a community of support and relationship with a caring adult, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Knowing that there is a connection between poverty and crime, that education is the only long term solution to moving people out of poverty, and that education does not come without relationships, we look at measurable goals tied to educational improvement. The goals are to support mentors in the goal of one full academic year, with a minimum of one-half year, in a mentor relationship with a child; to have a mentor relationship of intensity to meet best practice; to decrease discipline actions, juvenile justice involvement and gang affiliation; to increase attendance; and to improve academic performance. Each of these are risk factors for drop-out. A student who remains engaged in school will have reduced negative behaviors. Mentoring has been identified as an effective way to reduce recidivism. The purpose is to positively impact the graduation rate and the risk factors for drop-out, including involvement with the juvenile justice system and other negative behaviors.
The program provides a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult for at-risk youth, with special attention to youth referred by Department of Juvenile Justice. Referrals are accepted from CIS programs and other community agencies, including those who partner with the Cleveland JCPC, and youth who are potentially gang involved. The Mentor Coordinator accepts referrals for at-risk youth, those who are court involved, and those with risk factors for juvenile delinquency.
Youth targeted for the mentor program are Cleveland County Schools enrolled or suspended at-risk youth, 6-17 years of age. Priority for referrals is from juvenile court, with Juvenile Court Counselors able to refer directly to the Mentor Coordinator, as they do with referrals to Teen Court and Community Service. Special attention is paid to youth participating in the CIS Teen Court and Community Service and Restitution programs, as well as other JCPC funded partners who refer to the mentor coordinator. Risk factors include court involvement, discipline issues, a potential for gang involvement, substance abuse (mentee or family), living in poverty, high absenteeism, poor academic performance, lack of parental involvement, and poor social skills. The Mentor Coordinator requests and accepts referrals from the School Resource Officer, Cleveland County Schools faculty and staff, CIS Staff, partnering agencies such as Alexander Youth Network and Alliance for Health, and parents. Students are enrolled through the CIS enrollment process, which allows the Mentor Coordinator to establish a case plan, set goals and identify support services. Where a CIS program exists at the school attended by the youth, this service is provided by the Student Support Coach or Graduation Coach. If there is not an established program, the Mentor Coordinator and CIS Program Manager will case manage the student. In this way, progress toward goals and effectiveness of the services can be assessed. Risk factors for referrals are juvenile court involvement, office referrals and suspensions or other negative behaviors (referred by school partner or School Resource Officer), and identified gang involvement. Students referred for services must be enrolled in Cleveland County Schools.
If you are interested in being a part of the mentoring program in any way, please contact the Mentoring Coordinator,