Mentorship is critical to the success of our re-entry program participants.
70×7 Life Recovery offers two levels of mentorship.
1. Serving Together Group Mentors – Re-entry program participants volunteer on a Serving Together team with group mentors in local churches. Re-entry program participants are evaluated on timeliness, attitude, work ethic, their ability to work independently and other soft job skills. The Serving Together program participants are led by a Group Mentor who serves alongside the re-entry program participants guiding them to success.
2. One to One Mentors – After the successful completion of the Serving Together program and the Jobs for Life Class a participant is prepared to enter the New Day Staffing employment pool. A One to One Mentor is then matched with the participant. One to One Mentors meet weekly with the Mentee offering encouragement, role modeling, friendship and guidance.
A Mentoring Story
Jackie is a go-getter. She picked her own mentor, Jenny, after enjoying their volunteering experience together. “She is one to take charge of her own success. So when people see her and the growth that has happened…it’s just been exponential. She has really taken that responsibility upon herself, instead of using the program as a crutch,” says Jenny of her mentee and friend.
For Jackie, the 70×7 mentorship re-entry program has been a “God-send”. She says, “It really bridges that gap between the felon and the employer.” She participated in classes and the volunteer experience at Ridge Point to prepare herself for landing that first job. She did not expect anyone else to do it for her. “That’s where people really get lost with the program. They expect that the program will do it for you, but you still need to take charge. That’s just not how life works. You gotta step up.”
Jackie’s mentor, Jenny, is confident that relationship building through mentoring is one of the reasons that the re-entry program can be so successful for go-getters like Jackie. The mentors also participate in the volunteer experience, and engage in conversations on working effectively at various the types of job skills that are required by employers. “We hold them accountable for the work they are doing and the work they are supposed to be doing,” Jenny says. “It’s about building relationships in a group setting. It was a two-way street, and we both learned out.”
As neither Jackie nor Jenny have large community groups in the area, they became friends quickly; another important ingredient for successful mentorships here at 70×7. “We were one of each other’s’ first friends,” explains Jackie. The two bonded over breakfast most often, and had phone calls in between, with get-togethers with each other’s families.
“You get itchy when you don’t talk to your best friend in a while,” says Jenny. “Jackie is no obligation to me. It’s always been a friendship. She has helped me more than I’ve helped her.”
Jackie disagreed; if only to impress how much they have gained from each other. “My son wasn’t speaking to me and Jenny was in a position to help with that based on relationships in her own life. God put us together.” Jenny attributes the mending of relationships in Jackie’s family to Jackie’s reliance on God.
Jackie explains the change, “I grew closer to God through the difficult times. No drug or relationship could fill the void like God does. The contentment is incredible. I used to be addicted to cigarettes, and I asked God to take away the urge. My last cigarette was Dec. 31st.”
Two weeks ago Jenny and Jackie met with Doug for their final evaluation, and a friend of the program said Jackie was “glowing” after not seeing her for months. “There was a visible change in her demeanor and personality. Jenny said, “I thought, what a testament, that Jackie felt more unburdened throughout the program.”
For those contemplating becoming mentors, Jenny says “You should go for it. If you are contemplating it, then God is nudging you. I feel selfish sometimes from what I’ve gained from the re-entry program. And don’t be discouraged if a mentee drops out. Just wait for the perfect match.”
Jackie is convinced that for mentees, “It doesn’t work unless you try.”
70×7 has brought me an opportunity to meet positive people in a positive network. They make the impossible possible.