The 501c3 Files
As Seen in The Ashland Sneak Preview
The Many Circles of Rogue Valley Mentoring
By Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle
Marie Bat’el is the Operations Manager at Rogue Valley Mentoring (RVM) and we have known her for a few years now through the Ashland Chamber of Commerce Greeters that meets every Friday. So when we chose RVM for our 501c3 of the month, it was easy to just ask her for an update on RVM. There has been some great expansion and changes in the last year starting with the name! Rogue Valley Mentoring used to be called The Rose Circle Mentoring Network. It started out in 2006 as one mentoring circle for nine girls in Ashland. After two years it expanded to include mentoring for boys too. Now, ten years later, it was time for a name update to reflect the scope of the programs that are offered.
RVM offers three kinds of programs: mentor training, one-to-one mentoring, and circles. Let’s take them one at a time.
First is the mentor training. These are classes for adults who want to learn to be a good mentor. Participants learn things like how to have healthy boundaries and how to listen actively. Of course there is a circle for mentors too so the mentors get the support they need. The next mentor training takes place on Saturday, January 26th. It is not expensive and it is easy to register. Of course you can’t learn everything you need to know in an afternoon, but this training will set you on the right path.What could be more rewarding than helping youth to succeed in life?
Second is the one-to-one mentoring. This is one of the programs the mentors are training for. It is a long-term commitment for a mentor to be there to support the young person (mentee) as a friend and role model. They spend a minimum of four hours a month together doing activities of their own choosing. Through this program, one of the RVM mentors, Ken, got to know the 16-year-old brother of his mentee and that brother asked for Ken to be his mentor as well. The dedication that the mentors have for this important work is wonderful.
The third program is the circles. Circles are a safe, confidential, place to talk about things that you are thinking about in your own life. It is a place to have fun while learning to understand yourself and others and it is a place to make friends. There are two mentors per circle who are trained to guide them. There are circles that are meeting at Central Medford High School, Boys and Girls Club in Talent, Talent Middle School, Armadillo Technical Institute in Phoenix and last school year a circle started at North Medford High School for teen parents in partnership with the staff there. New circles are forming all the time.
One of the most successful and long-running boys’ circles takes place at Central Medford High School. The leadership for this circle has remained very consistent with the same mentors returning year after year to be there when the boys return after summer vacation. One of the reasons that this circle and also the girls’ circle that meets there are so successful is because of the support of the administration at Central Medford. They really help make it work.
Rogue Valley Mentoring has some inspired new board members and just this last week an interim Executive Director was hired from the board who has extensive experience with nonprofits that serve youth. RVM has attracted adults who have worked with youth in their careers; doctors, dentists, child development specialists, circle work specialists, and young adults who have a passion for supporting youth in need.
For more information about Rogue Valley Mentoring and how you can get involved, please call 541-708-6688 or visit their website at rvmentoring.org. There are a number of ways in which you can support the youth of Jackson County with Rogue Valley Mentoring. One interesting way, is that if you have a restaurant, bowling alley, art studio, ski rental, or any other sort of outing-related business, you could offer discounts or coupons to help facilitate some of the one-to-one mentoring pairs get out to do things together. Anything you can do to help will put you into the circle of friends that RVM relies on to make these programs work.