The CHIP Mentoring Program exists to serve children in Baltimore who have an incarcerated parent. After being referred, children are matched with a volunteer mentor from the community. Over time, the mentor and mentee build a positive, consistent, and caring friendship.
Children of incarcerated parents often face many barriers to success, including:
- Often living in moderate or severe poverty
- High risk of academic and behavioral problems in school
- Higher risk for drug use and abuse
- Increased likelihood of teen pregnancy and gang affiliation
- Increased likelihood of becoming incarcerated themselves
Studies show that being in a mentoring relationship can have a huge impact in helping children of incarcerated parents overcome the challenges and risks that they face to become successful.
A mentor is many things, like a role model, and advocate, and a supporter. More than anything else, though, a mentor is a friend. Mentoring responsibilities for the CHIP Program include:
- Be a positive and supportive friend to your mentee.
- Meet with your mentee a minimum of four hours each month, at least once every other week.
- Commit to a minimum of one year with your mentee (many matches decide to continue after the year is up).
- Communicate with the mentee’s parent or guardian.
- Communicate with the CHIP Program coordinator about your relationship with your mentee.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Sarah Kennedy was raised in upstate New York, and later moved to Baltimore after graduating from college. She became the director of the CHIP Program in September of 2012. Before working with the CHIP Program, Sarah spent four years working with incarcerated adults and teenage boys. Sarah also runs the After Care Transition (ACT) Program, a transitional service for women as they transition back into their communities after being released from prison.