Frequently Asked Questions
Who are we? A school-based youth mentoring program that began at McNear Elementary School in 2000. We currently serve 250+ children across 29 Petaluma area schools. We recruit adult volunteers from the community and match them in mentoring relationships with children at risk of not succeeding in school and in life; children who need a listening ear and someone “in their corner”. The Petaluma City Schools, Old Adobe Union School District, Waugh School District and Wilmar Union School DIstrict provide in-kind donations of the facilities, utilities and custodial assistance that enable us to operate our youth mentoring program on their school campuses. We are a non-profit, school and community-based organization with Federal Tax ID 20-8525688.
What does it take to be a mentor with Mentor Me? Be available to volunteer one hour a week during the school year. Be available to make a two-year commitment to the program. Mentors receive initial orientation and on-going training. Experienced mentors and counselors are available to consult.
Mentor Center Coordinators make the best mentor match possible and provide on-going supervision and support to the mentorships.
What would I do as a mentor? Mentors essentially are just asked to spend time with their mentee.That could mean talking, laughing, reading, creating, playing games – just being together. These one hour get-togethers take place at the mentee’s school site or at our Cavanagh Rec Center.
Why do children need mentors and how is this program good for the whole community? Typically, at-risk children have difficulty focusing in school, their attendance and participation may be low, their behavior often disrupts the classroom and playground, their nutrition, hygiene and sleephabits are often poor and they lack self-confidence and resilience. They may drop out of school, join a gang, begin drinking or using drugs at an early age, or indulge in other risky and self-destructive behavior. Mentoring has proven to help in all these areas. Not only are the children helped, but the mentors report great satisfaction in their mentoring role. The community becomes more cohesive with these cross-generational and often cross-cultural relationships.
What is the Mentor Me Cavanagh Recreation Center? In 2014, Mentor Me took over management of this 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 all kinds of 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.
Where does funding come from? Donations come from a mix of local individuals and businesses, which also give in-kind donations of goods and services. Corporate and foundation grants are also an important source of income. The State of California no longer supports mentoring programs financially and Federal money has been greatly reduced over the past ten years. Businesses also contribute by matching employee donations and allowing employees time off in order to volunteer as mentors.
How can I help? YOU can support Mentor Me by signing up to become a mentor, attending our fundraising events, making a financial or goods/services donation or volunteering to assist in our office. Visit WeAreMentorMe.org to find out more.