Why is Mentoring Necessary?
When an ex-offender returns to the community there is tremendous need for a genuine friend... someone who will come alongside to assist in a successful transition to a stable, productive life! Typically, the three greatest needs facing the ex-offender are finding a solid support group (usually a church and a faith based fellowship group); getting a good job; as well as finding adequate, affordable housing. When these needs are met, rarely does one return to correctional facilities.
Therefore, the role of the friend/ mentor is to guide the individual as they work through the goal setting process. These are the goals of the individual, not the mentor, thus the individual must take an active role in this process. It is the hope of Gracious Promise that the mentee strives to achieve the objectives that they have set for themselves. In this effort, mentors do not try to fix the mentee’s problems, but act as a resource and encouragement. In so doing, they commit to love, care for, and pray for the mentee.
Finally, the mentoring relationship consist of a man with a man, a woman with a woman, or a couple with a couple. All of these opportunities are available.
Why is a Spiritual Dimension Needed?
All mentors have a serious commitment to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And the expectation is that mentees, while not necessarily having this relationship with Jesus, will be interested in growing their relationship with God. Our conviction is that since God made us, He knows best how we can have a fulfilling, abundant life. While not forcing anyone to commit their lives to Jesus, we will offer gentle encouragement and help, when desired.
What Does the Mentoring Process Look Like?
The mentor and mentee will meet regularly, at least every two weeks, at a neutral location (restaurant, park, coffee shop, church, etc.) for at least one year. You will get to know each other. A key part of this growing relationship must be honesty. You are not expected to share everything about your life with your mentor, but whatever you share or promise to do must be truthful. You will engage in some activities together, such as going to a ballgame, movie, concert, etc. And most importantly, you will commit yourself to the relationship.
What Should A Mentee Expect from a Mentor?
By the same token, the mentor will also be honest, will be a good listener, will respond proactively to crises in your life, and will provide guidance and encouragement. The mentor will also pray for you and with you if you desire. Your mentor will always want the best for you.
The mentor will help connect you with other area independent agencies and churches in the community to help with needs that GP cannot meet. However, the mentor will not be a financial resource for the mentee. If there are specific needs that arise, they can be brought to the attention of the mentor and handled with our ministry partners if possible. Any personal information shared with the mentor will be held in strictest confidence.
What Results Can You Expect?
The expected result mentoring is to move ex-offenders into healthy, productive ways of managing their lives amid their difficult circumstances. Only in this way can the cycle of defeat and crime be permanently broken. Our conviction is that achieving this result requires the grace of God at work in mentoring friendships.