JCC Pittsburgh on January 4, 2017
January is National Mentoring Month, which focuses on how mentors help ensure positive outcomes for our young people.
The JCC – a diverse, dynamic community providing services for individuals of all ages—is a place where meaningful mentorship is encouraged and supported, every day.
Effective mentorship is based on relationships of trust and the modeling of positive behaviors. Over the past few years, the JCC, recognizing the many possibilities for mentorship within the organization, took a leadership role in the regional Mentors in Violence Prevention project. As part of the project agenda, the JCC held a series of workshops for 30 high school-age coaches in our basketball program on bystander intervention, based on the Jewish value that “you cannot stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.” The young coaches themselves benefited and learned from training that articulated important issues in the prevention of domestic violence, while they were empowered as mentors and role models to their young players.
Mentorship happens every day in the JCC’s Clubhouse after-school program, where staff members with with more than 100 children every day. Clubhouse staff help the children with school work, plan engaging activities for them, help the children to develop friendships, and carve out unique experiences. The staff, who have extensive backgrounds in child care, human services and child development, get to know each of the children and respond to their individual needs and interests.
Each afternoon, the children run straight to their rooms and hug their staff members; they can’t wait to tell them about their day or about something funny that happened over the weekend. The children and staff smile and laugh throughout the afternoon and develop deep bonds with those around them. Our staff members have stepped into these children’s lives as positive mentors and models.
These are just a few of the ways the JCC provides mentorship experiences every day—through routine interactions in regular programming and sometimes, as a focused effort. We applaud all of our mentors as we recognize National Mentoring Month.