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Parent Mentor Program
by The Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

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, Oregon 97232.
Phone: (503) 231-3571, Fax: (503) 235-3791,
Email: mentor@emoregon.org
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