California Families in Focus (CFF) designed their VIP program to ensure today’s high school students have the help they need to press on. The 12-month VIP program helps our young community members explore career interests and create goals that propel them with an inspiring purpose.
Each year, CFF matches each of the 25 chosen teens with a mentor in the career or related field a teen is interested in learning about. The matched duo creates a one-on-one quality relationship wherein the mentors inspire youth to follow their professional, personal or educational aspirations.
Throughout the one-year program, the teenagers partake in motivational presentations from influential people in the local community. Leaders of the community including the mayor, city prosecutor, chief of police, local business owners, and other community organizers lend their time to share their personal stories and inspire the teens to persevere toward a personal vision, to press on. CFF provides the VIPs with after-school tutoring, homework assistance, and monthly educational virtual workshops with their mentors.
During each session, the teen and mentor develop and strengthen their relationship. They discuss an important topic each session to help the teen develop into responsible citizens. They become knowledgeable about their communities, aware of social issues, and are prepared to confront challenges and resist pressures that will keep them back.
A sample of topics include:
- Ethical leadership,
- Setting boundaries in relationships to avoid domestic violence,
- Anti-bullying and self-esteem,
- Suicide prevention, substance abuse, gangs,
- Effective communication, etiquette,
- Financial literacy and career planning.
During quarterly virtual meetings, the VIPs share what is happening in their daily lives, what milestones they are celebrating, and challenges they are facing.
The youths are encouraged to participate in an internship with a business, nonprofit agency or government agency that matches their interests. Work experience gives teens an opportunity to understand the transition from school to work, evaluate personal goals, target career skills, explore possible career paths and develop lasting mentor relationships.
Applications are due in July and after a maximum 25 matches have been made, the training begins in September and runs until June of the following year.
The VIP Virtual Mentoring Program is registered with the Long Beach Mentor Connection, California Mentoring Partnership and the National Mentoring Partnership to provide our mentors and mentees the resources for an ideal mentoring experience.
A VIP Testimonial …
“I was a teen parent and thought I knew it all and had it all figured out, but through the trainings, workshops and presentations from people who had ‘been there and done that’ I found out that I had so much to learn and that there were resources that could help me not only be a good student and human being but a good mother to my son. They never gave up on me.”
– Candace Meehan, LBUSD program supervisor, nonprofit leader, adjunct counselor and instructor at LBCC with an AA Degree in Human Services, a BA in Sociology, and a MS in Counseling with a PPS credential.
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT VIP
“You are not lucky to be here. The world needs your perspective. They are lucky to have you.”
-Antonio Tijerino, President & CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation
Mentors and Mentees Must …
- Have access to a computer or electronic device,
- Commit to the 12-month program to receive recognition awards/certificates,
- Agree to a 1 to 1 mentoring relationship,
- Attend virtual orientation, training, matching ceremony,
- Attend all virtual activities,
Mentors Must …
- Complete a VIP mentor application,
- Be an ethical and caring adult,
- Be 21+ and over,
- Have a stable career,
- Live in Long Beach, Los Angeles, or Orange County,
- Be willing to undergo a live scan background check and complete a brief phone interview,
- Complete and submit monthly mentor logs and attend all virtual coaching and support appointments.
We welcome Mentors from any ethnicity and encourage our LGBTQ+ community to apply
Mentees Must …
- Complete a VIP mentee application,
- Live or attend high school in Long Beach and be between the ages of 13-19,
- Have a GPA of 2.5 or higher,
- Have a declared academic major and some idea of career goals,
- Commit to one meeting per month with your mentor (this can be virtual),
- Be willing to update program coordinator on progress and communicate with mentor.