History of Transformative Mentoring
Transformative Mentoring for youth in the juvenile justice system is a transformative process through which Credible Messengers – individuals from similar backgrounds, many of whomwere themselves justice-involved – engage DYRS youth in structured and intentional relationships that help them change the attitudes, beliefs and actions that have led to their involvement in delinquency, criminal activity, and justice system involvement. The DYRS Transformative Mentoring approach is based on mentoring programs originally developed by the Mentoring Center in Oakland, California, and implemented on large scale in New York City by the Department of Probation through the ARCHES Transformative Mentoring Intervention. It is grounded in positive youth development and uses evidence-based strategies employing cognitive behavioral principles. Transformative Mentoring is primarily a group-based process that brings together DYRS youth and adult mentors in a community setting using a structured curriculum through which mentors guide youth through the transformation of thoughts and behaviors.
All DYRS youth will be eligible for participation in Transformative Mentoring. Care Coordinators will assign youth to Transformative Mentoring groups based on their home residence area or ward. Youth in placement may begin to participate in facility-based Transformative Mentoring Groups with Credible Messengers prior to their release from placement to prepare them to engage in similar groups when they return to the community.
The core components of the Transformative Mentoring intervention include:
- Mentoring Groups: A group process that encourages the development of a positive peer culture in which participants, with the support of Credible Messenger Mentors, become an important support system for one another;
- Cognitive Behavioral Principles: Engage young people in the process of examining their attitudes, actions, and beliefs;
- Credible Messenger Mentors: Mentors facilitate the group process, and are also available for intensive support, advice, guidance and crisis response on a one-on-one basis;
- Positive Youth Development: Incorporation of positive youth development values, principles and practices, especially the practice of facilitating youth ownership and leadership of the group process;
- Restorative Justice: The use of circle practice in a Restorative Justice modality that creates safe spaces, builds community, and establishes opportunities to deal with community conflict in a restorative setting;
- Family Meals: A hot, healthy meal served at every group that encourages youth and mentors to eat together in a family-style setting;