Posted by jmeyer on February 18, 2022
While the opioid crisis has affected nearly every state in the nation, the Miami Valley Leadership Foundation (MVLF) in Dayton, Ohio serves one of the hardest-hit regions. Addiction and substance abuse have had a tremendous impact on local communities, families, and children. Through the efforts of national and local resources, great strides have been made in addressing addiction in these communities. Undoubtedly, the impact will continue to be felt for years to come.
Mentees involved in the MVLF mentoring program come from diverse backgrounds and many different school districts. The focus of mentoring programs offered by MVLF also differ between the school districts they serve, as youth development professionals in the region address the needs of their specific school populations.
MVLF wanted to provide specialized training to their mentors, so their mentors could be effective, supportive, and impactful as a resource about addiction and prevention for their mentees.
MVLF is primarily a school-based program that currently works with six different school districts in the Miami Valley area, which includes the Dayton area and nearby suburbs. Currently, they have 125 school-based matches. Due to an increased need for mentors and the success of their program, there has been significant interest from other school districts to expand the mentoring program to provide social-emotional support to as many students as possible. Mentees generally range in age from second grade through eighth grade. There are also a few high school students in the program this year as the initiative expands its reach.
MVLF is a member of the Leadership Foundations global network and is committed to harnessing the power of relationships to make real and lasting change to benefit individuals and their communities. An important part of the program is to build the capacity of volunteers based on what is happening in each community and in each school within that community.
When they join the MVLF mentoring program, mentors are required to attend a 2.5-hour in-person training workshop. Additional online training is offered to mentors throughout the year, but it is not required.
As a member of the Leadership Foundations global network, MVLF was offered the opportunity to participate in a pilot program with Mentoring Central to utilize the Substance of Change: Building Assets in Mentees Affected by Substance Misuse course.
Mentoring Central created the course to train mentors in a variety of different ways to support their mentees who are living in high-risk communities and who may have a family member or themselves be recovering from, misusing, or at-risk for misusing opioids or other drugs. The course offers research and practitioner-informed content for training mentors about opioids, the effects of opioids on the lives of mentees, and specific strategies they may use to support their mentees.
The one-time, multimedia, interactive, online training was completed by a selected group of experienced mentors interested in learning all they can about mentoring youth.
MVLF found the information from Substance of Change: Building Assets in Mentees Affected by Substance Misuse course to be valuable for all communities, including ones where addiction is prevalent. Mentors who took the course said they learned more about what addiction really is, how easy it is for a person to become addicted, and the importance of dropping their biases about addiction. After taking the course, mentors also felt more equipped to offer prevention resources to their mentees and let their mentees know there’s someone they can turn to when they are feeling isolated or stressed about something in their life.
With the successful completion of the pilot program under their belts, MVLF plans to roll out the training to a larger group of mentors in the spring of 2022. MVLF has also identified schools and teachers who may be interested in the course as well.
For more information about Miami Valley Leadership Foundation:
Miami Valley Leadership Foundation
425 North Findlay Street, Suite 223
Dayton, OH 45404