Giving Tuesday profile: Rogue Valley Mentoring
For the past four years, the Rogue Valley Messengerhas hosted the largest in-person Giving Tuesday event in southern Oregon, an opportunity to mix-and-mingle with local nonprofits. The irony! In a year that organizations and individuals most need support, we are not able to gather.
In the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, we will post interviews with local nonprofits—and urge you to give and support.
We start with Rogue Valley Mentoring.
Sarah Kreisman, Executive Director, Rogue Valley Mentoring
Rogue Valley Messenger: So much of mentoring is in-person connection. How are you managing providing those services and support?
Sarah Kreisman: Rogue Valley Mentoring has been adapting and evolving our service delivery in order to maintain connection with the youth in our valley. We connect with over 150 youth and families in the Expo in the aftermath of the wildfires. We moved our offices into the Coyote Trails Nature Center in order to be able to offer outdoor circles for youth which has been happening this Fall. We are receiving referrals from DHS staff. We are going online with Central Medford and ATI in Phoenix. We are also offering mentoring services to youth at OnTrack Rogue Valley and are building partnerships with Project Youth + and La Clinica to offer holistic services.
RVM: This past year has been very isolating, obviously. How is your organization help reach past some of those barriers and help kids/teens feel more connected?
SK: It certainly has. While schools have been moving online, our strategy has been to focus on building partnerships with other youth-serving organizations who are still connecting in person with youth. Our one-to-one mentors are meeting in-person with youth still (COVID safe of course), and we are serving more youth in matches than ever before. Thanks to our nature center office youth can gather there safely, face-to-face with the support of their mentors. We are doing everything we can to bring youth together in this time of great need.
RVM: Have these past six months had any silver linings—like, perhaps in terms of finding new ways to better connect and support kids/teens?
SK: The silver lining is that instead of only focusing on connecting with youth via schools, we have adapted and cultivated many different pathways to connect. We are no longer solely reliant on schools to facilitate circle mentoring for youth. This is hugely important as many youth do not attend schools and still need support.