In the News

The MENTOR Network Announces FY17 Q3 and Q4 Community Partner Grant Recipients

The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the organizations that were awarded grants through the Foundation’s Community Partners program for the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2017. Community Partners are change agents within human services that are either delivering innovative care or developing new ideas and models for doing so. They are results oriented, leverage resources and knowledge to positively impact individuals and communities, and have the power to transform society’s vision of and approach to its most vulnerable members.

The Arc of Greater Twin Cities (St. Paul, MN)

People Planning Together

The Arc of Greater Twin Cities promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, actively supporting them and their families in a lifetime of full inclusion and participation in their communities. Funds from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used to partner with Support Development Associates (SDA), a specialized consultation and training organization designed to promote the abilities and talents of every individual and every agency, to offer its highly effective People Planning Together (PPT) training. Through this program, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities will be certified as PPT trainers through SDA. Next, each Arc-affiliated certified trainer will lead People Planning Together classes for other individuals with disabilities. PPT is about empowering people with disabilities to take a leadership role in planning a life they desire. All classes are led by a certified trainer with an intellectual or development disability, with the support of a disability professional, and include guidance in developing a person-centered plan.

Arc of New Jersey (Manville, NJ)

The Jerry Davis Center for Children and Families

The Arc of New Jersey provides quality services and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to support development and achievement at every stage of life. Their licensed childcare facility, Jerry Davis Center for Children and Families (JDCCF), ensures every individual’s optimal growth and development. JDCCF’s comprehensive, interdisciplinary programs are designed to meet the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs of children who have a diverse range of abilities. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will provide scholarships for children to attend The Jerry Davis Center for Children and Families.

Boston CASA (Boston, MA)

Older Youth Advocacy Project

Boston CASA’s mission is to promote and advocate for the best interests of children involved in abuse and neglect cases in Suffolk County. They fulfill their mission by recruiting, training and supervising community volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (“CASAs”) who work to ensure that these children have safe and permanent homes. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support their Older Youth Advocacy Project which will allow for 50 youth ages 16 and older, involved in abuse and neglect cases in Suffolk County, to have CASAs.

Encore Studio for the Performing Arts (Madison, WI)

2017-2018 Performing Arts Season

Encore Studio for the Performing Arts is the only professional theater company for people with disabilities in Wisconsin and one of the very few in the United States. Encore offers an innovative, inclusive, and professional environment where all people work together in the pursuit of artistic and theatrical excellence. Since its founding 15 years ago, this groundbreaking theater company has produced over 50 original works to much local, regional, and even national acclaim. It is Encore’s objective not only to provide employment opportunities in the performing arts for people with disabilities but also to use this medium to convey an authentic message about disability and culture. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will go toward operational program costs for the upcoming season.

Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County (Santa Ana, CA)

Dental Sedation Program

Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County’s mission is to improve the oral health of children in Orange County through collaborative programs directed at prevention, outreach and education, access to treatment, and advocacy. Their Dental Sedation Care Program is a critical service for both low-income children and children with special needs. The use of sedation provides safety and comfort for children during dental treatment. Sedation can help increase cooperation, reduce anxiety and prevent injury by helping children remain still around the dental instruments used. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will ensure that children with special needs that require medical management and specialized services receive prompt and quality care.

Hope House, Inc. (Lee’s Summit, MO)

Guardian Program

Hope House’s mission is to break the cycle of domestic violence by providing safe refuge and supportive services that educate and empower those impacted by domestic violence. Adults and children who have escaped violent homes are not necessarily safe once they leave. Separation and divorce, which can be a long and emotionally trying processes, can create a risk of danger to custodial parents and children. To allow children safe access to their noncustodial parents, Hope House offers the Guardian Program, a safe exchange and monitored visitation program. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will allow for approximately 250 supervised visits through the program.

Life Learning Academy (San Francisco, CA)

Pathways to Work

The Life Learning Academy (LLA) is committed to creating a nonviolent community for students who have not been successful in traditional school settings. LLA welcomes students into an ‘extended family’ which motivates everyone to give and receive support, develop responsibility and judgment, and build the academic, vocational and social skills necessary to be successful. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support their Pathways to Work program which is a phased approach to workforce development where each LLA student learns soft and technical job skills, builds their resume, and gains invaluable experience in real-world work settings. The program matches students with internships and jobs and provides them with systematic monitoring of their behavior through communication with employers to ensure they get the most out of their work experience.

Opportunity Enterprises (Valparaiso, IN)

Outdoor Sensory Space

Opportunity Enterprises’ mission is to maximize self-sufficiency and enrich the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. They provide children and adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), severe physical and mental disabilities, Alzheimer’s, dementia, loss of limbs and other delays and disabilities a supportive environment where they can learn, continually increase their skills, and reach their maximum potential. Funds from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will be used to create an outdoor sensory space which will include a wheelchair swing, an ADA chair swing, interactive wheelchair accessible musical instruments, tactile and color integrating stations, oversized lawn games and more.

Partners for Youth with Disabilities (Boston, MA)

Mentor Match

Partners for Youth with Disabilities provides Boston youth the opportunity to develop a meaningful mentoring relationship with an adult. Mentors in the program, many of whom share similar disabilities with the youth, serve as invaluable role models who have already successfully navigated the challenges of becoming independent. At a minimum, participants commit to one year, meeting in person at least once a month and communicating by phone or email once a week. As a result of their participation, youth participants are expected to advance in one or more of the following five desired impact areas: independent living, motivation and self-esteem, community involvement, healthy relationships, and vocational development. Funds from The Foundation will be used to support the Mentor Match Program’s 2017-2018 goal of creating 50 new matches while supporting existing matches.

Stonehill College (Easton, MA)

Camp Shriver

Camp Shriver uses sports to promote the healthy eating habits and social wellness of children with and without disabilities, ages 8-12. In 2016, Camp Shriver at UMass Boston and Stonehill College served a total of 160 children from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Boston and Brockton. A grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will directly support Camp Shriver’s ability to provide inclusive sport and fitness programming to the increasing number of campers served. Specifically, the Foundation’s grant will support 10 campers for one week of camp: approximately 6 campers at UMass Boston and approximately 4 campers at Stonehill College, proportionate to camper enrollment at each site. Funds will support all aspects of Camp Shriver programming, including the free and nutritious meals, transportation, camp gear and the counselor and coaches who work with campers every day.

Wabash Center (Lafayette, IN)

Therapeutic Gardening Program

Wabash Center is a non-profit organization assisting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities or special needs to reach their fullest potential. They offer numerous programs and services to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities or special needs. Funding from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation will support their Therapeutic Gardening Program to allow them to accommodate more individuals with disabilities and to diversify their current garden to create more educational gardening activities, add nutritional learning, and support the learning kitchen program.

About the Community Partners Program

For more information, visit the Community Partners section of our Charitable Foundation website.