Mentoring at UCS (United Counseling Service) continues to actively connect adult mentors and youth mentees in the community. As social restrictions continue, kids and teens are having to cope with the dissolution of normal routines and contact with extended family and other supportive adults. Boredom, anxiety, stress, isolation, and loneliness are all possibilities being experienced by youth and adults alike. Mentoring at UCS offers a mutually beneficial solution to many of these issues.
Erika Crowers, MSW, who oversees Mentoring at UCS, has been with the organization for more than ten years. As a case manager, clinical therapist, and crisis counselor, she has provided care to individuals of all ages and demographics. Since joining the mentoring program this spring, she works closely with program coordinator Laurie Sallisky to recruit, train, and support mentors and mentees.
“I have witnessed the positive impact that mentoring can provide to youth and to the community,” says Crowers. “Mentoring is also beneficial to mentors as they learn about themselves, expand interpersonal skills, cultivate greater empathy, and gain a deeper understanding of challenges that face our youth today.” Mentors in the program frequently mention the rewards of seeing the positive influence they have on their mentees.
This year, the Mentoring at UCS Bowlathon (the program’s primary fundraising event), was cancelled due to COVID-19. Nonetheless, the event’s major sponsor, The Bank of Bennington, along with many of the other area businesses and individuals, donated the money and silent auction items to support this treasured program. “We are working on alternative fundraising and outreach activities to support Mentoring at UCS,” notes Sallisky. “To start with, we will be holding basket raffles and informational webinars about how adults in the community can become mentors and what is involved.”
Mentoring at UCS currently has 39 active mentor/mentee pairs, and there is a waiting list of youth looking for a positive role model. If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a difference in the life of a young person, contact Laurie Sallisky at 802.442.5491 or email@example.com.
“Mentoring allows me to be creative and share things with my mentee that I enjoy doing such as gardening and taking walks. I enjoy teaching her about the process it takes to do an activity and how sometimes we have to plan for them.
Having Covid happen during the time we meet at school was tough because she really needed that break during her recess at school to meet and regroup…. I can’t wait to be able to explore more of the things she wants to try and do. “
Betsy Hurley, Mentor with Mentoring at UCS