Becoming a Mentoring Family for a young adult who has no one is what we call “stepping into their story.” It’s simple; it’s relationship.
Imagine being 18 – 24 and:
- having no one to call when you want to fix a fancy meal for a date and you don’t know how to cook spaghetti
- celebrating your birthday and holidays alone because you don’t have a community of people to “belong” too (we typically call that ‘family’)
- getting ready for that first big job interview and having no one to talk you through your nerves and insecurity
- mismanaging your money and having no one to help you see a way out of the hole
- getting married and having no one on “your side” to celebrate with you
- experiencing a crisis like sickness, job loss, personal failure or tragedy and having no one to walk with you through it
In all of our lives, we’ve faced times that we needed a shoulder to cry on, a hand to help us up, a steady set of feet walking beside us, and a scream of excitement to share our successes. For most of us, all of those things and more come in the form of a family; our lifelong, stable relationships that are always there.
We don’t want to over-complicate things by using familial terms like “mom” or “dad”— relationships, even lifelong ones don’t depend on titles, they depend on connection, consistency, and care. This is what we invite you to be a part of when we invite you to “step into the story” of an amazing young adult, male or female, who has no one in their life to call in all of their mountain-top and valley moments.
What’s Required of a Mentoring Family
The Ability to Connect – Our program is based on creating lifelong, stable adult connections for young adults who don’t have consistent or healthy family relationships at their disposal as they navigate the path to fully independent adulthood. The success of those relationships is largely determined by our Mentoring Families and their ability to “stick like glue” to the young person in their life, to connect, care, and be consistent.
Flexibility & Availability – The Connections Homes program is relationship driven, not housing driven. We take into consideration the stability of the young adult in their current living situation and rarely recommend that a young adult move into the home of their Mentoring Family; living together often hinders the long-term success of the relationship. Even so, for a relationship to develop time and attention must be given to the relationship so our Mentoring Families need plenty of availability to give their young adult their time and attention. Additionally, being consistent, caring and connected as a part of anyone’s life isn’t always convenient or able to fit within a tightly managed “schedule,” so flexibility is a must. Remember when you were in your early 20s? Everything was a “crisis” and we often called on our own families and meaningfully connected adults to walk with us through them. Our young adults are no different than we were at their age.
A Desire for Connection – There is both responsibility and accountability that accompany a successful connection. It’s important that our Mentoring Families accept the responsibility of being relationally invested in the new connection so that it can grow (i.e. completing Connections Homes paperwork, returning phone calls, meeting regularly and communicating regularly) and the accountability of relationship (i.e. being able to handle conflict, discuss goals and plans, and have difficult conversations when necessary without breaking relationship, walk through things you might disagree with without “judging” or walking away).
The Commitment for Connection – Our number one goal is to make a great match between a young adult and their Mentoring Family, and for that connection to last a lifetime. Whether your role in their life looks more like a mentor than a mom, or more like a dad or devoted uncle, it doesn’t matter how it’s defined, it only matters that it lasts.
We all want to make a difference in someone else’s life, connecting with a young adult who has no one is a profound and lifelong way to make that happen. Are you ready to step into their story?
Our process for becoming an adult connection for a young adult without family is simple:
- STEP ONE: Complete an interest form to let us know that you would like to step into the story of a young adult’s life.
- STEP TWO: Complete an online orientation that takes only 10 minutes. Someone from our team will email you the link after we’ve received your interest form.
- STEP THREE: Complete a one-day Connections Training. Training is offered every six weeks, dates and times will be sent to you as classes are open for registration.
- STEP FOUR: All Mentoring Families are required to read and sign our Values & Statement of Faith, complete all paperwork on their family history and allow for a state and federal background check. Almost all paperwork is completed leading up to and during training, there are a few items that are needed after training.
- STEP FIVE: We will match you with a young adult that fits your lifestyle, location, and interests. When we think we have a young adult that you would make a great connection with, our team will send you their profile for review.
- STEP SIX: Connect and build a relationship!
Refer A Young Adult
Young adults who enter the Connections Homes program are often referred from a partner organization or individual connected with both Connections Homes and young adults 18 – 24 without family. In some cases, it is fine for a young adult to recommend themselves to the program; often young adults will hear about us through a friend who’s benefited from connection. Here are a few criteria that our team is looking for throughout the acceptance process:
The Need for Connection
Our program is based on creating lifelong, stable adult connections for young adults who don’t have consistent or healthy family relationships at their disposal as they navigate the path to fully independant adulthood. Our acceptance process takes a look at the relationships that are in place in a young adult’s life to determine whether an adult connection is needed.
The Connections Homes program is relationship driven, not housing driven. We take into consideration the stability of the young adult in their current living situation and rarely recommend that a young adult move into the home of their adult connection; living together often hinders the long-term success of the relationship.
Desire for Connection
There is both responsibility and accountability that accompany a successful connection. It’s important that a young adult accepts the responsibility of being relationally invested in the new connection so that it can grow (i.e. completing Connections Homes paperwork, returning phone calls, meeting regularly and communicating regularly) and the accountability of relationship (i.e. being able to handle conflict, discuss goals and plans, and have difficult conversations when necessary without breaking relationship).
Our number one goal is to make a great match between a young adult and their adult connection. In order to do so, it’s important that the young adult provides us with truthful and open information about their desires, habits and personality so that we can match them with a connection who understands them.
There are three criteria that would disqualify a youth from acceptance into the program and match to a Mentoring Family:
- Inability to live independently (our families are not adult special needs qualified).
- Active drug addiction (we will suggest resources for rehab and recovery prior to matching to a Mentoring Family).
- Lack of desire for connected relationship. Many times a youth feels forced into being matched by pressure from someone or pressure from a current crisis circumstance.
Because our goal is a healthy lifelong relationship, we find that matches based on a short-term crisis aren’t healthy for the long-haul. We will screen for a true desire from the youth for a Mentoring Family.
Once a recommendation is received the young adult and the individual submitting the referral will receive a call that will begin the acceptance process. There are four simple steps to the acceptance process:
Initial Interview – A Connections Homes team member will conduct a short telephone interview with the young adult to fill in any gaps in the information received on the recommendation form and to get to to know them. This is a great time for the young adult to ask any questions that they may have about how the program works. Following this meeting the young adult will receive an email with links to their paperwork and background check forms.
Paperwork, Background Check – The paperwork is designed to take the young adult less than an hour. We will conduct a state of GA criminal background check on every young adult entering the program who is not a part of a partner program.
Acceptance Interview – Once all paperwork is received a member of the Connections Homes team will meet with the young adult either via video call or in person to conduct the final acceptance interview.
Matching – After a young adult is accepted into the program, our team will begin looking for an acceptable adult connection for them. The main criteria that we look at includes location and proximity to the young adult so that meeting and building relationship is easier, we also look at the likes/dislikes of the young adult and the issues inventory to make a match that will flow easily in relationship.
Connection Process – Once our team has found a match that we think a young adult will enjoy, we will give the young adult a chance to review the adult connection’s information and approve moving forward. After the young adult gives their approval we will arrange an initial meeting and will monitor and support the relationship for a minimum of one year.