All children have the support they need to achieve and prosper despite life challenges and circumstances.
The Seedling Foundation supports children challenged by parental incarceration with innovative, research-driven, school-based mentoring.
Seedling Foundation launched Seedling Mentoring Program in February 2006 at the request of a group of school principals who were concerned about the growing numbers of children affected by the incarceration of one or both of their parents. These children are often living in unstable situations and are at a greater risk for academic and emotional problems, succumbing to risky behaviors and, potentially, encounters with the criminal justice system themselves.
Mentoring can provide the caring, consistent presence of an adult friend that research has shown to be a major protective factor in building resilience among at-risk youth. Mentors have been the reason that a child decides to go to school instead of getting into trouble. They’ve been the reason children have taken an interest in music, art, or sports. Most importantly, they provide compassion and companionship to children who are often in high-risk situations.
Click HERE for the latest infographic on children of incarcerated parents from youth.gov.
Our volunteer mentors provide stable, long-term relationships for the students and help them develop and maintain positive attitudes towards school. Much of our success can be attributed to the depth and longevity of the mentoring relationship. The retention rate for Seedling mentors averages 75%, far exceeding the national average.
Support For Mentors
Mentors and mentees in designated schools are matched through a multi-step process that includes a Mentor Profile, criminal background check, and reference checks. Mentors complete a 2.5-hour orientation which provides solid practical information about the mentoring process and the importance of their role prior to their introduction to a child.
Once this orientation is complete and their work with their student begins, we continue educating mentors and providing support based on research findings and best practices.
Our promise is to support you as a mentor. In addition to our initial orientation, we provide ongoing training and support:
Experienced professional staff members support mentors in their work. Mentors and staff discuss help if the mentee requires services beyond the scope of the mentor relationship, how best to communicate with the child, support in maintaining healthy boundaries or just sharing great stories.
We support our mentors and their students throughout their time in the mentor program and beyond. Many of our Seedling Mentor Program students have received college scholarships from our Foundation, and all mentors and students are welcome to stay connected to the Seedling Foundation family.
Hear Our Stories
Click KUT Spotlight below to listen to three great mentors discuss their work.
Click "Become a Mentor" below for more information and to join the Seedling Mentor Program Team.