A mentor in the Parent Mentor Program works with
a mother in recovery from addiction or domestic violence to help
her with parenting and other living skills. Clients come to treatment
from childhood histories and current living situations fraught
with addiction, violence and other problems that hinder their
parenting efforts. Treatment often is too short to overcome the
challenges arising from these experiences. During the critical
first year following treatment a mother must establish a healthy
environment for her children at the same time she develops a social
support system to help her stay free from drugs and violence.
A relationship with a supportive adult, something most clients
have rarely or never experienced, helps the mother apply the lessons
that she learned in treatment.
Parent mentoring is a friendly relationship between
a woman over the age of twenty-five who has expertise in raising
or working professionally with children and a mother for whom
a lifestyle change is necessary to protect her health and the
health of her children. The mother has demonstrated eagerness
and ability to learn skills in homemaking, healthcare, employment,
recreation, self-care and other areas from a role model and informal
teacher. Mentors show the mothers how to do simple things like
take kids for a walk, knit and make holiday gifts, check out library
books—and read and discuss them, and meditate.
Qualities mentors bring to their role include
the ability to listen nonjudgmentally, take initiative in developing
activities and maintaining relationships, understand recovery,
and follow through on commitments. The program also requires mentors
to actively support their parent partners’ commitment to nonviolent
child raising—finding positive alternatives to punishing children
physically and threatening them—and, when relevant, twelve-step
programs for drug and alcohol addiction.
Mentors spend about twelve hours a month in their
volunteer role, and a mentor’s commitment is one year. . Ecumenical
Ministries of Oregon’s Parent Mentor Program matches volunteer
mentors with mothers recovering from addiction or domestic violence.
The program provides preparation and support for mentors who are
assigned to clients of the Letty Owings Center residential drug
and alcohol treatment program for pregnant and/or parenting adult
women; White Shield Center for adolescent mothers; and the Raphael
Transitional Housing Program for female domestic violence victims
and their children.
Would you like to improve the life of a child
by mentoring the child’s mother and helping her improve her parenting
and other life skills? If so, please contact Sylvia Hart-Landsberg
at (503) 231-3571.
Parent Mentor Program, 2545 NE Flanders, Portland,
Phone: (503) 231-3571, Fax: (503) 235-3791,