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Other Youth Groups and PROGRAMS

YOOTS Institute
Educating teens as community health leaders and advocates for a new generation.

KIDZ Commission on AIDS
Teen-led group for prevention of youth HIV infection

GROUPS AND PROGRAMS: Youth Mentoring


Kids-Helping-Kids

As Health People helped greater numbers of people, we learned that severe illness often affects the whole family. Children, in particular, can be harmed if their parents become overwhelmed with the realities of a debilitating and life-threatening disease.

To help kids cope, we've added the Adolescent Peer Mentoring Program: Kids Helping Kids. This program is designed to help kids as young as 6 and as old as 20 to understand how best to cope with their parents' illnesses. The kids also learn how to protect themselves and other kids from HIV infection, to make good eating and exercise not just part of their life, but something they teach other kids about, and how to stay free of dangerous behaviors  i.e. drugs and risky sexual activity.

Our work follows our belief that children helping each other is the best form of intervention to interrupt the cycle of poverty, drugs, early sexual activity, pregnancies, and school failure. We train older teenagers to become leader in their community and serve as mentor for younger children whose parents are ill. Many people have recognized our work. In 1999, the Health People Mentoring Program was named one of 16 Model Mentoring Programs by the National Mentoring Partnership. The Program Coordinator who helped start the program received a Mayor's Award as the City's Outstanding Volunteer of the Year.  Under funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development through the National Development and Research Institute our theory that Kids helping Kids effects positive change for individuals and, in the community at large is being well evaluated.  

In its ten years, the Kids-Helping-Kids Jr. Peer Mentoring Program has proven itself to be one of the most outstanding youth programs in the United States. It is especially designed to help children and teens whose parents have chronic diseases and HIV/AIDS. In the program, older teens are trained to become leaders and mentors for younger kids from families affected by serious illness.

Not only is this program evidently unique in the United States—in having older teens be the mentors while helping younger kids in a particularly difficult situation—but evaluation by N.D.R.I., under funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, shows its positive impact on youth development; among other outcomes, kids in the mentoring program are significantly less likely to abuse drugs than similar kids who aren’t in the program. More than that, these teens have shown themselves to be real leaders and wonderful, dedicated mentors for younger kids.

In the summer teens take a six-week training to become jr. educators and mentors. During the rest of the year, they go pick up their assigned mentee every Saturday morning and bring them to the program. The teens run a support group for the younger kids, giving them a safe place to discuss their worries and problems. Then, there’s time for games and play or the mentors take their mentees on cultural and recreational outings.

Ages for mentees are 6 to 13 and for mentors age 14 to 21. If you wish more information, or to enroll a child or teen, please contact Michael Goodhope at 718-585-8585 ext. 228.

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