Being a foster care mentor means care, connection and commitment

Being a foster care mentor means care, connection and commitment

By Chiaira Bowers

As we end May and “Foster Care Month” under the slogan “Be the village, foster a child”, we highlight another form of “being the village”, which is being a volunteer mentor to a foster child or youth.

Foster children are placed in protective custody (foster care) because of neglect, abuse, exploitation, abandonment or a family crisis. Foster care is meant to be temporary, and not meant to be forever; but in certain cases, children can be in foster care for years. Because of their background, foster kids are a very high-risk group.

When you don’t have your parents or a guardian to rely on, it is so important to feel supported by someone who is reliable and on your side. Not having people in your life who are reliable can reinforce the trust issues that foster children often already have.

As such, the first focus as a mentor is to show genuine care, to build trust and to build a connection which takes intent and time. It starts with getting to know each other and making the mentee comfortable, while learning about each other’s interests. One of K1 mentors, Jacky used the mutual love of cooking as an avenue to connect with her mentee and build the relationship.

Another example of building trust and connection is incorporating your mentee into your family dynamics and activities. Claudia, another of K1 mentors, has been able to have her mentee spend weekends together with her family and bond via activities such as family gatherings, and going to the beach or to church. Claudia elaborates: “It has been a great experience thus far. It's always a great feeling when you think what you are doing is not a big deal but it means the world to someone else. When I go to pick up my mentee, his guardians tell me that he has been up and ready since 7:00am and asking them to call me.”

As a mentor, you need to be reliable and a consistent presence in their lives. You play an important role in the social and emotional development of your mentee. With the one-on-one time, love, emotional support and attention, patience and trust, you will help your mentee effectively heal from the abusive and challenging experiences they have been through and be a support as they face life’s challenges.

K1 Mentor Daphne shares the importance of mentorship: “They need someone who understands them without judgement. They need someone who can support them, especially in identifying and understanding their skills and passions. They are not failures, and they need someone to show them that. Sometimes, all they need is a listening ear to help guide them to where they need to be in life and that there is still hope.”

We were all born with the ability to change someone else’s life; let’s not waste it – become a foster youth mentor today and be a difference maker! Some of the key requirements to becoming a foster youth mentor is being 21 years or older, successfully completing the six-session training, being able to spend two to four hours weekly with your mentee and committing to at least one year of mentorship.

K1 Britannia Foundation will be hosting another Mentorship Training in the summer, so stay tuned for more information. If you are interested, please call or send a message to +1721-553-8186 or +1721581-1503 or connect with us on Facebook.com/k1sxm or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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