Helping our Little Birds Fly

“Helping our Little Birds Fly” – a day in the life of a Child Mentor

Last year, we added three Child Mentors to our Emergency Shelter team. Initial feedback is that this new service is having an extremely positive impact on children’s well-being, performance at school, and stress reduction within families. The Child Mentors provide a range of support for children in our shelter – helping with homework, offering fun and engaging ways to reinforce positive behavior, as well as providing workshops and special events to address issues such as bullying and reduce stress and anxiety during the children’s time in the Shelter.

The Child Mentors are critical to our efforts in helping children exposed to violence and abuse heal from the trauma they have experienced. They work to promote children’s self-esteem, develop positive communications and social skills, and encourage their academic and personal development. This work is vital to our efforts to break the cycle of family violence.

Want to know more about what our Child Mentors do? Mentor Berensia Aguilera tells her story:

“I often get asked the question, “What is it like being a Child Mentor?” While the answer might seem simple, it’s very complex in so many ways. That’s like a child asking, “How do birds fly?” It sounds like a simple question but there are many complex answers. In the same way, there are many things that go into being a Child Mentor.”

“In my career I’ve worked with both children and adults. One thing I have learned while working with adults who had difficult childhoods is that they wished they had someone who believed in them when they were younger.  During those childhood years, having someone who supported them and loved them may have led to a less complicated life.”

“As a Child Mentor I play many, many roles. Whenever our kids are down and out or lack confidence, I am a role model. I’m a friend when they are feeling lonely. When classes are getting tough and they need help, I’m there as a tutor. I am a shoulder to cry on when crises happen.”

“I’m there to empower, encourage, and motivate.”

“Last but not least, which is my favorite, I help the kids through neurofeedback training. Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback brain training that works to increase focus, improve behavior, and raise grades.”

“As a Child Mentor, I wear many hats. So, what is it like to be a Child Mentor? It’s great!

“I get to help our little birds fly.”