Mentoring programs for moving from the streets to the middle class?
June 16, 2020 7:27 PM   Subscribe

My subject line is the basic question, simplified. People who grew up more-or-less middle class, with an intact family and such, have resources and still can make mistakes. But people who have spent a lot of time with or without certain things must find moving up hard to adjust. They might not know financial systems, social and cultural norms, etc.

I am curious about any programs that would help people adjust. I don’t have any specific need. I might give such a program some financial support, or possibly see about expanding the idea.

In New Mexico, youngsters aging out of foster care get financial support, and I think free college. But they don’t get mentoring.

Project Challenge, a program by the U.S. National Guard for troubled teenagers, requires the teens to find a mentor. The mentors are trained, and the pairs have a 12-month relationship.

Do you know of other mentoring programs for people making significant changes between worlds? I am very open about the details.
posted by NotLost to Society & Culture (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There’s this non-profit in Chicago that teaches people about buying homes, had down payment grants, and generally helps folks without other resources and knowledge to buy and keep their homes.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 7:33 PM on June 16, 2020

Best answer: For homeless teens, The Place.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:36 PM on June 16, 2020

Best answer: Upward Bound is a program set up to help low-income, non-middle-class kids get into college and succeed once they are there. There are a reasonable amount of resources within it dedicated to mentoring and teaching the "hidden curriculum." I did it when I was in high school (25 years ago!!) and I'm so pleased to see that it still exists.
posted by forza at 7:47 PM on June 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I can tell you late '90s homeless to productive citizen paying taxes, but it's less mentoring per se than just getting rid of the street-crazy and getting one back into normal society in general. More of a off the street than mentor to middle class. Memail if you'd like that little bit.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:02 PM on June 16, 2020

Best answer: We have a program like what you mention called Circles of McPherson County. The idea is to provide a circle of support. I'm not sure if it is part of a larger network or not.
posted by aetg at 8:04 PM on June 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think many universities that have strong first gen student programs involve things like this.
posted by raccoon409 at 8:10 PM on June 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: MindsMatter takes low income, high achieving early high school students & pairs them with two young (20-something) professionals say mentors, with the goal of getting them into high quality colleges with lots of life skills/pre-professional development. I did this as a mentor and found it meaningful; the change in trajectory I saw in my mentee & many others was from a future at a decent college or community college with lots of debt to top 50 colleges with lots of scholarships, and a network to help them throughout college & launching into a professional career.
posted by Jaclyn at 11:15 PM on June 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Arts Emergency in the UK does this for kids who want to work in the arts but have no family background or network that would help them with the processes of getting into higher education, and later with industry networking. They get a mentor for a year, between the ages of 16 and 18, and I think subsequently can plug into the wider network of other mentors if they need help to progress their career. Meant to be a replacement for the old boy network that results in so many privately-educated kids dominating the arts, building something equivalent for working class young people.
posted by penguin pie at 3:30 AM on June 17, 2020

Best answer: I knew a colleague years ago who sang the praises of SEO. Here is an article in the Times about them.
posted by minervous at 6:01 AM on June 17, 2020

Best answer: The Posse Foundation does this. It "identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The Foundation extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. The Foundation’s partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars full-tuition leadership scholarships." (I just learned: It was one of 10 organizations that President Obama donated his Nobel prize money to.")
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:18 AM on June 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Upward Bound certainly helped me out briefly when I was a kid, although I don't know much about them as an organization.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:55 AM on June 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thread is a program started in Baltimore that fits your description. The work they do is great. Thread harnesses the power of relationships to create a new social fabric of diverse individuals deeply engaged with young people facing the most significant opportunity and achievement gaps. Our community is committed to ending social isolation and building a more equitable culture in which everyone thrives.
posted by maxg94 at 9:30 AM on June 17, 2020

Thinking about launching a career from a small Midwest background and a selective college degree from a stable family with limited resources at the time and how much luck I needed....

My college offered a summer stipend for unpaid internships and it made a huge difference having some concrete experience (that wasn't waiting tables, assembling parts or other paid summer jobs) to put on my resume when I graduated.

Having a place to live while you find a job can be another barrier (I had a friend in the city where I was moving and lived with her parents for a bit).

Mentorship is great but resources make a huge difference.
posted by typecloud at 10:00 AM on June 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Of course the way to support Upward Bound is to continue to pay taxes and get people like Betsy DeVos as far as possible from the Education Dept.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:27 PM on June 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the helpful answers!
posted by NotLost at 6:17 AM on June 18, 2020

« Older Can someone else cash my stimulus check in another...   |   Why do animal crackers taste like that? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments