Children placed in the care of the state have seen a lifetime of struggle even at such a young age. Whether they’ve been neglected or abused by their parents, the damage done is often hard to reverse or entirely erase. What makes things even more difficult is the fact that these at-risk children and teenagers who have nowhere to call home are being bounced around as a more permanent solution is sought. When he founded Children’s Hope Residential Services, James Aldrich CEO set out to accomplish the difficult yet rewarding task of giving disenfranchised youth a more permanent place to call their own.
While volunteers, who help lead various events, and foster parents, who take in these affected youths, provide invaluable assistance with acclimation, mentors are another party whose role can’t be overlooked. Mentors who partner with Children’s Hope Residential Services must be at least 21 years old, complete an application, be fingerprinted, pass a background check and receive the okay of a state-level agency such as Child Protective Services. If approved to work as a mentor, successful applicants will be able to work one-on-one with Children’s Hope residents who have already been approved to participate in the mentoring program. While we wish all youth who came to our facility were ready to work with a mentor, the difficult road they’ve already traveled has left some with mental or behavioral problems that will need to be addressed first. Once the mentoring process begins, these workers will be able to start building the foundations of a relationship where the child can start trusting an adult.
The need for establishing such a trusting relationship is due to the fact that the people who should have been caring for these youth — be they parents, guardians or other family members — have simply neglected their duties as adults. At Children’s Hope Residential Services, mentors under the caring guidance of James Aldrich CEO help with bridging the gap between distrust and a caring relationship. At Children’s Hope, mentors play a pivotal role in improving the lives of at-risk youth. Since its founding in 2002, Children’s Hope has assisted more than 2,000 children placed in the care of the facility.