Firstly you need to assess if your church or community group is ready to connect more meaningfully with young people. You can also contact the Family Ministries service of your church administration, as they have a survey tool that you can use to assess attitudes towards youth engagement at a local church level. The B Somebody to Someone programme is not something that can only be done by an individual. It is important that your church as a group of people committed to working together to make the programme a reality, and it is important that your church has the support of the pastor or church board.
If you decide that your church is ready to establish a Be Somebody 2 Someone youth mentoring program first let us know about your decision by sending us a message using this form. Then your next step is to download our Community Mapping tool*. This tool will help you assess the needs of young people in your community and identify gaps where your church can help or partner with other organisations. There are a number of tasks in doing a good community assessment, so the committed group at your church should do the assessment work together and not delegate it to an individual.
Here are some useful questions to ask:
- What are the needs for young people in your community?
- Do you have enough mentors?
- Do you have enough resources to meet the needs of your mentees as well as the community?
- What is your vision for young people in your community? It is only to get them to church? If so, you need to think more widely about how you can help without any agenda.
- Are there other organisations doing similar work to your project? If so, why don’t you partner with them?
- How do you know your idea is going to work? Look for research or evidence.
- Is funding available? At this point you should form a committee to help fundraise and look for funding from government and private sources.Here are a couple of funding websites for Australia (Community Grant Guru; and Our Community which is excellent not just for funding but all matters in the not for profit sector) New Zealand (CommunityMatters for funding; and CommunityNet for general matters for the community sector) to get you started.
- Pray all the way through this process. God will show you genuine needs if they exist.
When you have finished your Assessment and prepared a short report, then contact ADRA and we will help you take the next step.
For your assessment and community mapping you have already been working in a small group. Now it is time to build the group into a team, gather wider support in the church community, and create links to other organisations in your community that are needed for a mentoring program to be successful. Some questions you should be asking:
- Who wants to join your core team? Recruit like-minded others from your church or community who are passionate about young people.
- All volunteers need to consider their spiritual gifts, suitability and the amount of time/hours they can give to the project.
- Appoint a leader/s and a team. If possible, assemble people who have experience with working with young people and community organisations. They should be youth friendly and approachable.
- Everyone involved must have Working with Children checks (Australia) and Police checks (NZ)
- Formalise the support from your Pastor and church board by having approval for the programme endorsed at the appropriate church committee.
- Share your ideas with the local council and other appropriate youth organisations identified in the community mapping activity – be ready to learn from some constructive feedback.
- Establish partnerships with youth organisations so that you can refer tricky issues to the experts
- Identify where the young people you want to work with? Find a partner school or youth organisation that needs mentors and are aligned with your church values – then find mutually beneficial ways to work together.
- Although we are not expecting your team to be full of qualified youth workers, we recommend you reading through the Youth Worker Code of Ethics in Australia (there is not a national one but this one applies in NSW, WA & ACT) and New Zealand to familiarise yourself with the values and conduct that is expected of those that work with young people.
Now is the time to get start designing your mentoring programme. But firstly, get in touch with ADRA to share your initial findings and proposed idea. After that you can start designing your project. All projects should try to include all of the elements on the back of this page – the 4 ELEMENTS EVERY YOUNG PERSON NEEDS. Remember some young people may already be strong in one of these elements so try to ensure they have a balance of the other three. Your church may be strong in a couple of these areas but lacking in the others. Think about how you or other groups can provide a balance of these elements for your community.
Questions to keep in mind:
- Who are your target audience? Be specific.
- What service/s or programme can your church provide that plays to your team’s strengths.
- Are young people involved in the design of the programme?
- What is your project purpose or aim? Write it down, know it and stick to it!
Don’t try to make it too big. Start off small and realistic. Once you have created your programme, make sure your Pastor and board understand it and have approved it.
Now that you’ve gathered your team and made formal agreements with other schools or community organisations, you are ready to launch into delivery mode:
- Have you created a roster so a team of volunteers that can keep it going week after week.
- Have you advertised and communicated your events in your community?
- Who is supporting the mentors? Do young people have an option to change their mentor?
- Are there any opportunities for you to meet the families of the young people?
- Have you created a policies and procedures manual? Our website has links to many you will need.
- Do you have regular debriefs and trainings for your mentors and core team? This is where you can identify risks before they happen.
ADRA don’t require a formal evaluation but sometimes they may request reports or undertake an evaluation to support the project. However performing your own evaluation is good practice. How? In a nutshell, you need to create measurements and determine indicators of success. If you define these early on you have something to work towards. Ask questions like these:
- What does success look like? Is it how many young people attend your church? Is it young people reporting to feel more confident? Are they at school more often? Are they now less likely to engage in risky behaviours or consume substances?
More information is on our website but a simple way to report on your project is to describe your achievements, challenges and learning’s in a written report at the end of your project or the year.