Youth Development & Mentoring
Providing peer support groups, services, and mentoring to engage and empower youth
Youth Development & Mentoring
What is Youth Development & Mentoring?
Many of the youth served at NAC have experienced trauma throughout their lives, and through child welfare involvement. They have also experienced academic challenges and setbacks, and often don’t have positive role models in their lives. Our Youth Development & Mentoring programs are designed to help our youth build strong relationships, expand their horizons, gain greater self-esteem, and successfully transition to adulthood. With the right support, encouragement, and opportunities we know our young adults can reach their full potential and realize their dreams.
What Services Do We Offer?
From mentoring to creative expression and career support, Youth Development programs offer a variety of supportive services aimed at fostering positive pre-teen and teen growth. Our team of Social Workers and Youth Development Specialists provide individual youth support, facilitate youth peer and mentoring groups, and expose participants to inspirational and cultural new experiences, including trips to the theatre, comedy clubs, professional sports games, overnights to colleges and universities, and much more.
P.E.E.R. stands for Positive Exposure, Exploration, & Recreation. The program is for youth ages 11- to 13-years-old and utilizes the Wyman Teen Outreach Program (TOP) Curriculum as an evidence-based social-emotional approach. Including:
- Peer support to help youth gain a sense of belonging and sense of self
- Peer groups that teach youth healthy relationships, boundaries, assertiveness, healthy decision-making, effective communication skills, and much more!
- Community Service Learning, including volunteering at food banks and animal shelters, and participating in charity walks
- Field trips and recreational activities
- Parent education groups
YouthStrong serves teens ages 14-years-old and up, supporting adolescents and fostering a positive transition into young adulthood. Services include:
- Screenings and follow-up referrals for services within NAC or in the community
- Adolescent peer groups with discussions on topics including positive decision-making, communication, self-esteem, and planning for the future, including Career Days
- Field trips and Teen Rec. Nights (including Karaoke, Movie, and Game Nights)
- Parent education groups
Adoptment is a specialized mentoring program where adults who have been adopted and/or spent time in foster care mentor young people that have/or are currently experiencing foster care. In a fun, nurturing and safe space, young people receive an enriching mentoring experience with a unique layer of support, advocacy, and guidance from caring mentors who have personal connections with adoption and/or foster care.
Mentoring is essential in helping to provide NAC children with the opportunities to build a strong relationship with an adult role model who will motivate them to expand their views and experiences of the world around them. Children receive the individual attention, support and encouragement needed to grow into confident, achieving and contributing adults. Carefully screened volunteer mentors with a variety of professional backgrounds are matched with individual NAC children for a one-to-one experience that runs year-round. The Mentoring Program serves, most importantly, to help improve the self-esteem and confidence of participating youth who are often isolated and seen as different from other children in the community – this is experienced by both children with physical disabilities and their siblings. NAC’s Mentoring Program creates a positive forum for sharing information about life choices, career opportunities, personal dreams and goals, resources, and support systems.
Teen Art Group
The arts are an integral part of the therapeutic interventions offered at NAC. Art therapy is an alternative, non-threatening treatment modality that allows for the expression and communication of feelings in a creative, fun and safe way. Through metaphor, storytelling, and symbolic representation, children use various art forms to communicate conscious and unconscious material. Participants are empowered to choose the materials, subject and methods of working. The artwork produced is often used as a bridge to verbal discussion of complex issues. Pre-teen and teen art therapy groups meet once a week at NAC throughout the school year and during the summer months. As the children work on their art, they discuss what it is like to have a disability/illness or to have a sibling with a disability, and how these issues impact their lives. Individual and family sessions are also available.
Youth Development Workshops
From resume writing to coding and digital art, NAC works with corporate, non profit and community partners to bring new worlds and skills to NAC kids. Interested in making a difference for NAC youth? Learn more and get in touch here.
NAC’s College Bound Program helps children apply, attend, and graduate from college through tutoring services, college tours, one-on-one counseling, and specialized support. In addition to these offerings, specialists work to identify external opportunities like summer academic programs or scholarships for students. All of these services ensure that children are supported to become independent, healthy adults.
The NAC Futures program is part of a citywide coalition of child welfare agencies, non-profits, foundations, advocates and young adults working to ensure that we fulfill a collective promise to protect and adequately provide for New York City’s foster youth, ages 11 through 21. That promise calls for access to long-term coaching and robust academic, career development, and independent living support. With a child-first approach, NAC provides highly customized sets of integrated services including, mental health, 1:1 tutoring, housing, education and workforce support.
Who is eligible to participate in Youth Development programs?
Most youth development programs at NAC are reserved for youth who are already receiving other services at NAC.
Community and self referrals are accepted for:
- P.E.E.R. Project for youth ages 11- to 13-years-old
- YouthStrong for youth 14-years-old and up
To make a referral or for more information about these programs, please contact us at: email@example.com
Additional Supports Available
Providing ongoing, comprehensive support remains a priority at NAC.
Youth Development & Mentoring participants are also eligible for the following programs:
- Mental Health Clinic
- Medical Clinic
- Peter Haje Center for Autism
- Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS)
- Educational Advocacy & Tutoring
- Recreational Services
- Post Adoption Case Management Services
- Champions for Children’s Health (Care Management for Children)
- Food Bank