Robert E. Doyle: Mentoring Birmingham Program
Mentoring is separate and distinct from case management. Case managers are professionally trained workers "managing" an offender's entire program of services. Mentors are volunteers willing to donate their time to share their career and life experiences with an offender. The mentoring relationship enables an offender to build a responsible, fruitful friendship with a mature, responsible adult.
This relationship may be a new experience for an offender and the mentor may serve as a role model. Regular meetings with a mentor will foster responsibility and accountability. Ideally, mentors will support offenders through many situations as they seek to re-enter their community.
Mentoring Model: AJMN chose a one-on-one mentoring model. One mentor is matched with one offender. One - to -one mentoring is generally considered to be the most effective model because of its potential to foster deeper, more meaningful relationships and to provide stronger support to the offender. On a practical level, because mentors and offenders decide when and where each meeting will take place, this model also might help address the issues of time and transportation that sometimes make it difficult for offenders to attend group mentoring sessions that take place at a set time in a designated place.
Mentors must be
- at least 21 years old;
- pass a background check by the Jefferson County Sheriff Dept.
- must complete an 8 hour mentoring training session
- must present a letter of "good standing" from their pastor or community leader.
Volunteer mentors with a criminal background must have been free of parole / probation supervision for at least one year prior to the training session, and must also undergo an additional training to address potential liabilities.
Each mentor undergo an eight-hour mentoring training session, conducted by one of our on-staff Volunteer Prison Fellowship Certified Trainers.
We partner with the Prison Fellowship Ministry to provide all books and material used in training. An AJMN mentor handbook and an offender resource guide will also be provided to each mentor.
The mentor handbook will contain a complete set of rules including "do's and don'ts" as well as the consequences of not adhering to these guidelines.
The goals of our training will be to help the volunteers understand the scope and limits of their role as mentors; help them develop the skills and attitudes they need to perform effectively in their role; provide information about relevant program policies and requirements; provide information about the particular needs of the offenders they will be mentoring; and build confidence.