History: In 1972, Al Reker, a Probation Officer at the Worthington Community Corrections Department approached the YMCA to start a mentoring program. He noticed that there was a need for additional support for children from single parent families. At that time, Wayne Klumper was instrumental in organizing the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program at the Y. In 1999 the the program became known as Y Pals.
Y Pals is a mentoring program with a goal to match adult mentors with young people; more specifically we want to provide young people who have special needs or comes from single parent households with another adult who they can turn to in times of decision making.
There is an application process for both the mentors and the mentees. Both mentors and mentees will go through an informational meeting and orientation. Mentors will need to complete a background check.
The program is designed for matches to meet once a week for 2-3 hours at times that work for them; after school, weekends, early evenings, etc. Communication between the mentor and the mentee's family is key to making this work. Meeting times could include going to school sporting events, concerts, etc, attending YMCA special events or utilizing the facility to swim, play basketball, rock climb, etc.
This new program to the Y is a unique matching experience for every member of the family. This is an chance to help close the opportunity gap and make a impact in the lives of another family. The opportunity gap is apparent in many places throughout SW Minnesota, and the income and social gap is the most prevelant in Worthington.
Family 2 Family (F2F) Mentoring is developed to help bridge connections for families, provide access to community resources, and help disconnected family units find time to interact. Each family will be matched with an outreach family and will connect at least twice a month for 2-3 hours. Each match will have the opportunity to connect and get to know each other by taking part in productive activities for their matched families. Some activities could include setting out a plan for the future, job searching, cookouts, attending events, etc. Matches are also encouraged to attend quarterly meetings at the YMCA, where discussion and activities will take place.
We have launched this program in the spirit of the late Ken Moser. Ken's legacy is to "be the adult you needed when you were a kid". This is the foundation of our efforts.