Court-based mentoring program supports returning citizens

Are you passionate about criminal justice issues? Invested in social, racial, and economic justice? Do you have knowledge about or lived experience with the justice system? Have you supported a loved one during reentry or completed your own reentry journey and now want to support others coming home?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, MENTOR is looking for volunteers like you!

MENTOR, run by Judge Michael Erdos and Judge Kai Scott, is a court-based reentry program unlike any other. The program pairs individuals aged 18-30 who are serving county probation sentences for nonviolent felony offenses with volunteer mentors from the Philadelphia community, plus provides case management and referrals to a network of community-based partners. Participation in MENTOR is totally voluntary. Participants have 12-18 months to earn the requisite 12 months’ credit to graduate, and graduating participants receive a substantial reduction in their remaining probation term.

As a mentor, you will provide emotional support and encouragement, life-skills assistance, and goal-setting coaching to support your participant in overcoming some of the traditional barriers to successful reentry. Mentors talk with their participant AT LEAST twice weekly through technology, meet with them in person AT LEAST one or two times monthly, and accompany their participant to one monthly status hearing (if mentors are able to attend). Mentors can expect to devote a minimum of 3-5 hours per month to the mentoring relationship. It is crucial that mentors commit to and follow through with the 12- to 18-month commitment after they have been matched with a participant.

Volunteer mentors receive ongoing support from the MENTOR Program Coordinator and Coach, complete a preparatory training prior to being matched, and are offered monthly training opportunities for the first 12 months of the program.

It is expected that participation in MENTOR will result in healthier individuals, communities, and families and a decrease in the exorbitant human and financial costs associated with crime, prosecution, and incarceration. The MENTOR Program could not function without our dedicated, passionate, skilled, and empathetic volunteer mentors. If you are looking to engage in social change by supporting returning citizens in direct and meaningful ways, we invite you to apply today.

More information is available here or by request via email.