Family & Youth Initiative mentors have an immeasurable impact on the lives of their mentees. 

Mentors expose teens to new experiences and opportunities. They become trusted friends.

Teens develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence and experience personal growth. The involvement of a consistent, caring mentor can change a teen’s outlook and life trajectory.

The more triumphs my youth makes, the more I realize it takes a team to get there. I love being part of his team and watching him grow towards successful adulthood.

-DCFYI Mentor

Because not only can you have a lasting impact on the life of a teen, but you will also have fun! You’ll share favorite activities and try new ones in the company of a teen who will be some combination of smart, outspoken, sassy, worldly, curious, insightful, skeptical and fun.

DCFYI will prepare and support you with training, support group meetings, and one-on-one advice. You’ll be part of a wonderful community of volunteers who share lessons learned and support each other. 

Mentoring is a serious commitment. A mentor must be a consistent presence in a teen’s life. It is the constancy and time spent together that allows a teen to open up and a relationship to grow.

Adults who do not follow through on a commitment once made reinforce a lesson that too many teens in care have learned: that promises are broken and adults are not to be trusted.

Family and Youth Initiative mentors must:

  • Be at least 21;
  • Have the health, energy and interest to spend time with a teen;
  • Complete background clearances;
  • Attend orientation and training;
  • Have means of transportation or willingness to ride Metro to pick up mentee for outings;
  • Make at least a two-year commitment to the mentoring relationship.

Do you have what it takes?

Mentors are matched with a youth and work one-on-one with that youth, developing a personal supportive relationship.

Mentors spend time with youth – participating in any activity that mentor and mentee agree on. Typical activities include going to museums, exercising or playing a sport, going to parks or cultural events, sightseeing, window shopping, going to the library.  Some mentors help mentees with homework or school projects. Others help their mentee explore college or career options. The range of activities will depend upon the interests and age and needs of the teen.

Mentors listen to youth, giving them a safe place to discuss hopes and fears. 

Mentors report to DCFYI, with updates on activities, developments and any concerns.

Mentors commit that once matched they will be a consistent presence in the life of their mentee.

Mentors protect confidentiality – only sharing information about or from the youth with others who are working directly with the youth.

Mentors spend at least eight hours a month with their mentee. Some of the time could be at DCFYI events, but most of their time is spent in the community doing other things.

Mentors commit to mentoring a youth for at least two years, because participating youth need people who will be in their lives long-term, not more people who don’t stick around. We hope mentors will be in youths’ lives long after the initial two year commitment.

Being a mentor for me has been a rewarding and enriching experience. (Priceless)

-DCFYI Mentor

Steps to being a mentor:

  • Attend DCFYI orientation;
  • Submit the mentor application (which you will get at orientation);
  • Complete mentor training;
  • Complete required background clearances.

While you are in process to become a mentor, attend Family & Youth Initiative events so you can get to know participating teens and be ready to be matched once you’ve completed the required steps. We match mentors and mentees based on relationships that develop at events.