Compassion, Acceptance, Respect for all humanity and Equip(ping) them with the tools to release the power within

Make a Difference in a Young Person’s Life Today.

We’re thrilled that you’re interested in becoming a mentor to one of the youth in our programs! Many of the youth we serve haven’t had the opportunity to build consistent, healthy relationships with adults whom they trust. Our mentoring program is trying to change that.

We decided to start I C.A.R.E. Mentoring program

Many successful people credit one or more mentors who made a big difference in helping them achieve early success. It’s nothing like having someone put their arm around you and say let me walk this journey with you.

According to the National Mentoring Partnership, those with mentors are 55% more likely to enroll in college and are 130% more likely to hold leadership positions later on in life. Mentoring guarantees our young people that there is someone who cares about them.

Our mentorship program focuses on building meaningful, healthy, one-on-one relationships with youth from ages 5–18. Mentors are encouraged to visit their mentee at least once a week in order to establish a consistent, reliable and supportive relationship. Being a mentor is truly a fun and life-changing experience for all involved!

Mentoring FAQ

Mentors help children gain self-confidence and direction, and resist negative peer pressure. They give of their time and take our young people to places like ball games, museums, parks and more. Many of these young people may never have ventured outside of their own neighborhood prior to their involvement with Perkins Foundation. By having a mentor, they benefit by experiencing new things, seeing new parts of the city, and having a friend to lend an ear and lead by example.

JVMPF screens and trains adult volunteers who wish to mentor a child. We provide ongoing support, supervision, and encouragement to matches. Our match support staff helps to foster significant and life-changing friendships.

To be a mentor to a child, you need to be 19 or older, patient, and a good listener.

How are mentors selected?

All mentors must attend an information session and go through a thorough screening process. Mentors must complete an in-person interview, receive a fingerprint and online background check, get a light physical, and attend a mentor orientation and the Urban Volunteer training on preventing child sexual abuse. Based on an individual mentor’s initiative in completing the necessary application requirements, the screening process can take a minimum of 2 weeks.

Do I need a car?

Having access to a car is ideal for being matched in our program. 

What is the time commitment?

  • Matches meet for at least eight hours monthly
  • One hour each Tuesday (4 hours) at JVMPF, for one year.
  • 4 hours outside of JVMPF month, for one year. With parental consent
  • Weekend availability is required.
  • Matches meet during the school year from the end of August to the end of May.

How will I know I’m making a difference?

We would all love to see the immediate impact of our actions in the lives of young people, but change can take time and the full impact we make might show up years later. However, if you have an eye for small moments of hope and change, then you’ll know you are making a difference.

What if my mentee and I have a situation that I don’t know how to handle?

To ensure successful and meaningful matches, JVMPF staff offers support above and beyond what is provided in typical mentoring programs, including access to a licensed master social worker 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If a non-life-threatening emergency occurs, matches are encouraged to contact the following:

Elizabeth Perkins: 601-238-2073
Gabriel Gordon: 601-559-3595                      

During regular working hours, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, you may contact Elizabeth Perkins, at 601-238-2073

What types of activities do JVMPF matches enjoy?

Oftentimes, our matches can be found playing sports in the park, visiting a local library or book store, participating in cultural activities or events, enjoying the zoo, etc. We encourage matches to choose activities that foster communication and are free or low-cost.

With whom will I be matched?

Our kids range in age from 6 to 17, but are most commonly between 8 and 14 years old. The parent or guardian has identified that their child can benefit from positive one-on-one attention. The youth may have low self-esteem and struggle socially. Often, our mentees simply want to broaden their horizons and have new experiences. All of the kids in our program voluntarily participate and are excited about having a mentor in their life.

How are kids referred to JVMPF Mentoring?

Most of the youth in our program are referred by parents who recognize that their child will benefit from additional positive influences. We also receive referrals from schools and social service agencies.

Who are the mentor? Do I need any special skill to be a mentor?

JVMPF mentors are adult volunteers from all over the Jackson and surrounding areas who work in a variety of professions. Mentors come from all adult age groups and all walks of life, but are united by their desire to make a difference in the lives of young people.

Mentoring isn’t about having a special talent—it’s about being yourself. If you are at least 19 years old, are patient, a good listener, and can be a positive role model, you already have what it takes to be a good mentor.