Mentor Me empowers youth in need to achieve their highest potential through mentoring and advocacy. We envision a world where every child in need has a mentor. Utilizing our Mentoring for Success Model, we strive for a world where every child feels safe to CONNECT with others and the world around them; feels empowered to GROW into their highest potential; and feels moved to CONTRIBUTE their talents to build a more positive world.
Mentor Me is a registered 501c3 nonprofit that helps young people achieve their best in school and in life by providing mentoring and advocacy programs and services. In 2000, a group of concerned parents, teachers and community members came together to explore ways to support students who were recognized as “falling through the cracks,” at McNear Elementary School in Petaluma, California. These youth were struggling to succeed academically, often due to at-home challenges, including mental and behavioral health issues and family challenges such as unemployment, incarceration and drug use. Supporting these youth was all the more challenging due to the California Department of Education cutting funding for elementary school counseling services, leaving a lack of support and guidance for many students whose life circumstances made them particularly vulnerable to academic failure and participation in risky behavior.
In 2001, the McNear Mentoring Program was started. Carefully selected adult mentors supported three mentees that year. Additional Petaluma schools were added to the mentor program, and in 2004 the program’s name was changed to Mentor Me Petaluma. In 2014, the name was changed to Mentor Me to support at-risk, in-need youth beyond Petaluma.
Serving youth ages 5-17 since the year 2000, Mentor Me currently has 225 active school-based mentorships, 35 youth being managed by our Advocacy Team and nearly 80 youth on our wait list. Trained adult mentors spend at least an hour a week with their mentees in Mentor Centers located on our partner school campuses, as well as at the Mentor Me Cavanagh Recreation Center. Mentor Centers are rooms on school campuses that provide a safe environment to foster trusting relationships between mentors and mentees. Our School Site Coordinators lead the mentoring programs at each school, managing the centers, recruiting mentors, accepting student nominations from teachers and counselors, meeting with parents and mentors, making mentor matches, and supervising mentorships.
In 2014, Mentor Me took over management of the Cavanagh Recreation Center, a 12,000 square foot community center owned by the City of Petaluma. After over $300,000 in renovations, the facility, which was built in 1959, has emerged as the go-to place for our mentees and their mentors, offering opportunities for educational enrichment (cooking classes, art/music programs, sports), for academic tutoring services and career exploration, and to receive college admissions coaching. In addition, the Center serves as the Mentor Me administrative offices and provides income for the organization by renting spaces within the facility for events. The Mentor Me Cavanagh Recreation Center is located at 426 8th Street in Petaluma. We welcome the public to come in for a tour.