Drenched hair, one heel on and the other off and you can’t find your cell phone to save your life. Sound familiar? For young professional women in Hoboken, the scene described above is all too familiar. Yes, we are all busy…but are we really that busy? Don’t answer that.
No matter how demanding your schedule may be, it can take as little as 30 minutes to change the life of a child forever, as cliché as that may sound. That’s why it’s so important to give back, regardless of how busy you are – shaping our future, one child at a time. At HG, we are excited to showcase the various volunteer opportunities available to partake in Hoboken. Enter TRUE Mentors, a local Hoboken volunteer-run organization.
Three years ago, Pastor Chris High, a local Hoboken resident, started TRUE Mentors after volunteering at an after-school program in town. It was his vision that ever child in town has an extra champion in their lives to bring out their fullest potential. His vision for each child in Hoboken to have a dedicated champion in their life was passed on to Susi Tully Milligan, who launched TRUE Mentors in January 2011 with the help of many volunteers throughout the city.
We were fortunate enough to have the chance to speak with Jen Johnson, Board President of TRUE Mentors, who gave me all the details about the growing organization, as well as how local Hoboken residents can get involved.
At TRUE Mentors, we really focus on the 1:1 relationship to ensure our children are able to develop great, trusted relationships. It’s the goal that our mentors will be able to teach their mentees lessons that they may not have been exposed to elsewhere.
Jen explained there are three main programs where volunteers can get involved:
The TRUE Mentors staff will take time to find you the perfect match from the kids within the program, taking into account interests, background and experiences. They ask both the child and mentor to dedicate one year to the program, meeting for at least 8 hours per month. The program has seen many kids stay for several years, learning life lessons from an assortment of mentors. Jen said the organization has seen mentees join various programs including sports and music because of the encouragement from their mentors – so inspiring!
Once of week during the school year, TRUE Mentors creates a fun yet educational environment for kids from 6-8PM. They focus on completing schoolwork for the first hour, and then welcome volunteers to teach a lesson for the latter half. Past classes include: Finding Your Inner Super Hero, Nutrition, Tour of Ben & Jerry’s, Tour of Taco Truck and a dance class taught by a local dance teacher. This option tends to be the least commitment, while still making a large impact!
– Teen Internship Program
This opportunity gives high school juniors the chance to explore relationships in the work place through paid internships with local businesses In the past, teens have worked on projects such as Marketing, Digital Media, Product Development, Business Planning, and Event Planning. The internship ends with a demonstration of the work the intern has done and the completion of the project. Within the internship, students also learn how to create their resumes and cover letters. Guidance counselors have said they’ve seen these kids’ esteem rise tremendously thanks to this program.
Aside from the options described above, Jen said TRUE Mentors has many positions within the organization for volunteers. Currently, there are volunteers that focus on fundraising, marketing, relationship management, matching and recruiting.
This summer is a notable one for the organization as they are instating the first paid position, the Program Director, who started July 7th. To date, all money the organization has received has been through grants, fundraisers and individual donors. Stay tuned for details on their Happy Hour August 12th in Hoboken well as their Annual October Scavenger Hunt!