Issue 72 | January 2019
Strengthening and Empowering Families through Mentoring

A Note from the Director

January is National Mentoring Month! Traditionally, we think of mentoring in the context of an adult mentoring a child. However, mentoring can play many different roles when it comes to strengthening families. Social service providers can mentor the families they serve. Additionally, they can engage families as partners in mentoring other families to strengthen social networks and build a stronger community.

Peer mentoring can be particularly beneficial for families navigating challenging circumstances such as families with an incarcerated loved one, a child with disabilities, or adjusting as part of a refugee resettlement program. Mentors who have been through similar circumstances can provide emotional support as well as practical guidance based on their own experiences. Additionally, peer mentoring can help parents learn healthy relationship and interpersonal skills while simultaneously encouraging them to inspire the development of those same skills in their children.

I hope the tips and resources below will inspire you to consider how you may serve as a mentor or engage mentors in your efforts to strengthen families.

Best Regards,

Robyn Cenizal

Robyn Cenizal, CFLE
Project Director
Tip of the Month
Your monthly tips to strengthen the relationships of those you serve. Share it - Post it - Pass it on!
Below are some great tips on mentoring!

If your organization is considering incorporating a youth mentoring program, it's important to effectively engage parents and other caregivers. Given the amount of influence and control that parents have over their kids, their involvement can be critical in fostering a stronger and more beneficial mentoring experience for their children.


Allow your mentees to have voice and choice in deciding on activities. Ask your mentee(s) what they would like to do during your time together. This ensures that they will be interested and engaged in the activity.

Let the mentee control the direction of conversations. Don't push the mentee to tell you everything at once; allow him or her time to get to know you. Be sensitive and respectful and above all keep everything the mentee says to you confidential.

Listen. When you ask questions and listen, you give mentees permission to share their stories and personal experiences without criticism.

If you're interested in becoming a mentor or incorporating mentoring into your existing programming, you can find more information and resources here! Here are some additional resources for mentoring mothers and fathers specifically.
Featured Resources
The Resource Center's Virtual Library has collected more than 3,000 materials in a variety of formats including fact sheets, research-to-practice briefs, brochures, pamphlets, training resources, program reports or evaluations, and research materials.
Mentors can play an important role in addressing the needs of children of incarcerated parents. Mentors are caring adults who work with youth as positive role models in a formal or informal way, offering consistent guidance and support. Youth connect with mentors through youth-serving organizations, including community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, businesses, and after-school programs. Mentors can help improve outcomes for the children of incarcerated parents by using research-based practices and effective supports.
Research has shown that mentoring relationships are most impactful when programs take steps to ensure quality service delivery. MENTOR's cornerstone publication, Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, details research-informed and practitioner-approved standards for creating and sustaining quality youth mentoring programs and consequently, impactful mentoring relationships. 
Mobility Mentoring's EMPath program (formerly Crittenton Women's Union's) transforms people's lives by helping them move out of poverty and provides other institutions with the tools to systematically do the same. 
The Resource Center's Events Calendar offers a listing of Resource Center events and other national, regional, and community-wide events that might be of interest. Upcoming events include:

This program provides comprehensive professional development to diverse participants, such as, Head Start Teachers, Family Service Workers, Child Welfare Workers, Fatherhood Practitioners, Criminal Justice Professionals in Probation, Parole, Health-Care and Maternal and Child Professionals, Social Workers and many more.


The International Symposium on Child Abuse is the premiere conference that provides expert training and networking opportunities to professionals in the child maltreatment field. The 35th International Symposium on Child Abuse offers more than 160 workshops.

Feedback and Technical Assistance
To learn more about the Resource Center, visit us at

The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families supports human service providers as they integrate healthy marriage and relationship education skills into service delivery systems as part of a comprehensive, culturally appropriate, family-centered approach designed to promote self-sufficiency.

If you have suggestions or wish to speak with a Resource Center staff member, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. To learn more about free training and technical assistance available to human service agencies, visit our  Training and Technical Assistance page.
This newsletter was published by ICF with funding provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant: 90FH0003. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031