(AUSTIN, Texas) — NEWS: Seedling, a non-profit organization serving children who have an incarcerated parent, is seeking business partners and individuals to mentor children in Central Texas school districts during the 2021-22 school year. The organization served 349 children last school year and expects to significantly increase the number of children served during the 2021/2022 school year.
Seedling’s mission is to mitigate the impact of parental incarceration on children in Central Texas through school-based mentoring. The non-profit organization matches children with mentors in Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Hays Consolidated ISD, KIPP Public Schools, and Pflugerville ISD. Since 2005, Seedling has served over 2300 children who have a parent in prison or jail.
There are an estimated 8,000 kids that have a parent in jail or prison in the four-county area of Travis, Hays, Bastrop, and Williamson County. No system, including criminal justice and schools, reliably ask the question of whether a child is affected or is in need, due to parental incarceration. The organization began mentoring children of incarcerated parents due to the request of principals in local school districts.
“Our community needs to be doing all it can to support the children in Central Texas who have an incarcerated parent. It is imperative that we all find ways to support Seedling’s mentoring program so these kids have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Based in best practices for mentoring, Seedling trains and supports its mentors, specializing in the challenges surrounding being a child who has an incarcerated parent. Mentors meet with their mentee once weekly during lunch personally or virtually, at one of the 100 public schools partnering with Seedling. The organization pairs the volunteer’s skills and interests with a child who has similar interests.
“Mentoring helps employees adopt skills and behaviors at work that can make a real difference for both the individual and the employer in today’s socially conscious workforce. More importantly, the reward for both the mentee and volunteer is life changing,” said Dan Leal, Seedling Executive Director.
Seedling matches average 24 months which positively contributes to the students’ personal development, resilience, school engagement, attendance, and disciplinary outcomes. Eighty-five percent of Seedling’s 2019-20 high school seniors aspired to enroll in college. More than double the number of Seedling students confirmed college enrollment than did a matched comparison group of students.
Individuals can go to the Seedling website seedlingmentors.org/mentor to complete the new mentor application or call Seedling at (512) 323-6371 to inquire about an information session for a group.
Caregivers who are seeking school-based mentoring for their child in school districts partnering with Seedling should contact the school’s counseling department.
Seedling has provided school-based mentoring for over 2300 Central Texas children impacted by parental incarceration since 2005. Seedling is seeking mentors to serve children during the 2021-22 school year as schools allows mentors to return campuses. Seedling is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Tax ID #74-2841791. Donations are tax deductible.
Learn more at: seedlingmentors.org/
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