Focus Reentry mentors serve as a bridge in men and women’s transitions from life on the inside back into society, helping them to stabilize, rebuild their lives, and eventually achieve self-sufficiency and increased well-being. We provide training and on-going support to our mentors, who work in partnership with their mentees (incarcerated adults over the age of 18) to cope with the demands of reentry and reintegration into the community. Mentors and their clients work on practical needs: housing, employment, transportation, and communication. They also work on personal goals, one of which is often reunification with children and other family members.
The key to our success is the consistent presence of an experienced, concerned, and nonjudgmental adult who serves as a partner through the very challenging process of reentry, is not affiliated with the correctional system or any other institution, and who maintains a consistently encouraging presence.
A Focus mentor is 25 years of age or older and willing to provide guidance in life skills. Volunteers should be prepared to make a commitment of at least one year. The mentoring relationship may last for a longer or shorter period depending on the client’s needs. The mentor will spend roughly two hours per week with the client, beginning while the client is still incarcerated. More time will be needed during the immediate post-release period and around special life events: court hearings, custody issues, and graduations. The mentor and client will develop their own relationship and patterns, and each match follows its own trajectory.
Volunteers receive 20 hours of preliminary training before mentoring. Topics covered include: 1) Policies and Protocols, 2) Motivational Interviewing, 3) Mental Health, Substance Abuse and The Offender Population, and 4) From Learned Helplessness to Resilience. An orientation at the Boulder County Jail is required and includes a background check. Mentors will also be expected to regularly attend monthly mentor meetings, which provide support, collaboration, and continued training. Focus Reentry staff provides ongoing support to our mentors.
If you are interested in becoming a Focus Mentor, please click on the application link below:
What safety measures does Focus Reentry use to protect its mentors?
- With the support of Boulder County Jail and 20th Judicial Probation Department, Focus Reentry has created key policies that provide volunteers mentors with additional protection. At Focus Reentry we only introduce each other by first name and your personal information is never revealed. Additional policies and protocols are discussed in training.
Is there an age requirement to be a mentor?
- Yes, you must be at least 25 years old to serve as a mentor. Focus Reentry offers additional volunteer opportunities for individuals under the age of 25 years old.
Do I need training to be a mentor?
- Yes, Focus Reentry will provide 20 hours of training, which include Policies and Protocol, Jail Orientation, Learned Helplessness to Resilience, Motivational Interviewing, and Mental Health and Substance Abuse training. There is an extensive training program.
How long would I mentor for?
- Typically, mentor matches lasts for one year.
What if the relationship doesn’t work out?
- As this is a volunteer program, either mentor or client or both can determine the relationship should end. There is a simple process. You will work with Focus Reentry staff and determine if you would like to be re-matched with a new client.
How do I choose a client?
- Focus Reentry staff receive mentor requests from the jail. Clients meet with the Focus Reentry Program Manager and then are assigned a mentor of the same gender.