In 1978, key community leaders in Larimer County adopted the Partners one-to-one mentoring model in response to the increase in juvenile crime and delinquency. This mentoring model, established in Denver in 1968, was geared towards matching positive adult role models with "at-risk" youth. Originally started as an intervention and juvenile justice diversion program, Partners evolved into a prevention and early intervention program to reach youth before they become involved in the justice system. The founders of Partners understood that a well run mentoring program serving "at-risk" youth positively impacts those youth by providing assets and protective factors to help them make better choices in their lives in regards to violence, delinquency, drugs, alcohol and other negative behaviors as they move into adulthood. This philosophy has carried us to today, where we continue to support activities that incorporate developmental and cultural characteristics of our youth. Our unique structure of intensive case management, focused education and structured activities provides the necessary foundation to ensure the development of supportive mentoring Partnerships. Over the years we have expanded services throughout northern Colorado and currently operate offices in Fort Collins, Greeley (2010 expansion) and Estes Park (1996 expansion). We are an affiliate in the statewide Partners Mentoring Association (PMA) and an Affiliate Member of Mentor Colorado. We are the only community-based, long-term one-to-one mentoring agency serving vulnerable youth in Larimer and Weld Counties.
The goal of our program is to provide assets and protective factors for "at-risk" youth through one-to-one mentoring relationships and prevention education programs. Through mentoring, life skills, on-going recreational and educational activities, and community service opportunities, Partners helps give these youth a better chance to succeed in life. The specific objectives of these long-term, mentoring relationships is to;
- Promote positive youth development
- Increase self-esteem and self-confidence
- Prevent alcohol and drug use
- Prevent juvenile delinquency
- Provide support for abuse and neglect victims
- Enhance school bonding and academic performance
In addition to providing one-to-one mentoring relationships through our Community Based and School Based Mentoring programs, we support youth while they wait for a mentor (Nexus). This is our opportunity to engage these youth in positive, structured activities. It also gives us the opportunity to get to know our youth better so that when we have mentors ready to be matched; we are able to make a quality match.
Best practices and evidence based research dictate that mentoring relationships be closely supervised and supported by well trained professional staff, include training for mentors, be a minimum of one year in duration, and structured around an average of 3 hours each week. Youth shown to get the most benefit of these relationships come from disadvantaged or "at-risk" circumstances. These are the practices around which our Community Based and School Based Mentoring programs were designed. Our one-to-one mentoring relationships are shown to assist youth in making positive, healthy choices. Youth who lack these supportive relationships are "at-risk" of making choices that will ultimately be detrimental to their future and a liability to society.
While our mentoring relationships (Senior Partner/adult and Junior Partner/youth) are a minimum of one year, or one academic year, our program is on-going. At any given time, we are supporting over 200 mentoring partnerships in northern Colorado with another 80 children in Nexus (waiting list). A Partnership can continue to be active with Partners beyond their one year if they choose until the youth turns 18. Partnerships spend an average of 1-3 hours per week together for a minimum of one year, or one academic year. Though the majority of partnership time is spent in one-to-one activities, or in a school setting, these relationships also have intensive, and consistent, support from a Partners Program Coordinator. Each partnership commits to regular contact with their Program Coordinator and attending required recreational, life skill and community service opportunities.