Justice & Mentoring Program Seeks Volunteer Mentors for Training

A mentee and her mentor pose together at a Mercy Connections event
A mentee and her mentor pose together at a Mercy Connections event
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NEWS & Events

Justice & Mentoring Program Seeks Volunteer Mentors for Training

Mercy Connections' Vermont Women's Mentorship program provides a path for women+ to rebuild their lives.

Mercy Connections is seeking women+ to join its Vermont Women’s Mentorship program aimed at supporting incarcerated women to successfully reenter the community.

The mentorship program recruits women+ in Vermont who wish to make a lasting impact on the lives of other women. It requires a five-week training course at the Mercy Connections center in Burlington, to be held on September 13 to October 11 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Mentors are then matched with a woman who is seeking a mentor.

Mentorship is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Corrections and other community partners to ensure that matches are trained volunteers who work with women in prison, under supervision in the community or participating in pre-trial services receive support.

“The program is pretty straightforward,” says Joanne Nelson, Mercy Connections Director of Justice and Mentoring Programs. “Mentors go through an in-depth training process … They meet about once a month and are also encouraged to attend multiple events planned by Mercy Connections throughout the year.”

Meanwhile, the Prison Policy Initiative states that the rate of women who have been incarcerated in the state of Vermont has increased approximately 500% since 1980.

This alarming trend speaks to the urgent need for successful interventions to assist women in completing programs that are alternatives to incarceration. The programs also aim to not only support women with reentering the community, but to also not re-offend.

The Vermont Women’s Mentoring Program has a proven track record of helping women to successfully reestablish their lives post-incarceration.

Thus, the support of a mentor promotes systematic and permanent change to the rate of incarcerated women by reducing risk behaviors associated with recidivism.

The program encourages mentors from all walks of life to join and requires that they make at least a one-year commitment. Mentors assist with support, coaching and act as a new healthy companion to trauma-affected women. Challenges may include addiction, disease, mental health, loss of employment and/or housing difficulties.

Mercy Connections’ training program will be held September 13 to October 11. Mentors will also receive ongoing support in the form of group meetings with other mentors, education on issues that affect the reentry process, and may attend social events for the mentoring program.

Pairs of women are carefully matched for a successful experience.

Women+ interested in training do not need to have prior knowledge of the criminal justice system or mentorship experience to participate.

For more information, please contact Mercy Connections’ Director of Justice and Mentoring Programs, Joanne Nelson, at jnelson@mercyconnections.org or at 802-846-7164.

Looking for other ways to contribute to Mercy Connections? Information on programs as well as volunteer and donation opportunities can be found at www.mercyconnections.org

“The Connections Make Us Whole”

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