Did you know that Kentucky has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world? If each U.S. state were its own country, Kentucky would be #7, according to a 2015 analysis by the Prison Policy Initiative. Inmates aren’t the only ones affected by their incarceration- so are their families, especially their children. Youth with incarcerated parents are statistically more likely to have problems at school and home and may have other risk factors which can lead to the repeat cycle of incarceration seen by many of their families. The Y-NOW mentoring program aims to stop the cycle of incarceration by providing youth with skills to succeed and break the cycle of incarceration.

The Y-NOW Mentoring Program is a 10 month mentoring program for youth ages 11-15, who currently have an incarcerated parent or had one at one point. The program aims to teach the youth life skills that they will use to develop and grow. We are proud to say that after 15 years of classes, 90% of the program’s graduates have remained

out of the criminal justice system. This program wouldn’t work without volunteers. They help make this program possible.

A mentor supports the commitment and participation of the youth in Y-NOW. They encourage the youth to stay focused on their goals and forge a path that is unlike that of their incarcerated parent. Fosters trust and serve as a positive adult role model by keeping commitments, following through, and participating 100% in all activities. Mentors are required to commit to their youth for 10 months. The next class will starts in October 2018 and goes until July 2019. Mentors are also required one weekly phone call and meet up. There are group meetings led by one of the case manager here at Safe Place every 2 weeks on Thursdays from 6-8:30pm (group meetings count as a meet up for the week). The group meetings cover topics like grief and loss, incarceration, communication, and other topics that could help the youth figure out how to succeed.

As of right now, there are 27 youth signed up but only 19 mentors are signed up/trained. We would like it if interested volunteers could attend the retreat (mentors are required to attend Oct 12th-13th; arriving back at 2pm on Sunday). If you can’t attend the retreat but are still interested in the program, that is okay. We could still use you as a mentor as long as you can commit to the 10 months after the retreat.

This video is from 2014 but it does a good job of explaining the program and how it benefits the youth in it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjSFUVAbEew&t

Contact Tory (tportale@ymcalouisville.org) with any questions or to become a volunteer