Share Your Heart & Home as a Mentor.
Earn a generous monthly payment by making a difference in the life of an Adult with special needs.
BY: ALISON WILSON, Brisbane Chamber Editor/Marketing Director firstname.lastname@example.org
California MENTOR offers services and supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is the most experienced Family Home Agency (FHA). In 1997, California MENTOR was among one of the first organizations to be approved by the state as an FHA service provider. The FHA program matches individuals with special needs to loving adult foster families, called Mentors. Today, California MENTOR serves hundreds of adults and continues to focus on creating a future where all individuals with special needs have the opportunity to live in a family home and receive services and support in their community.
Nancy Kline is the Program Recruiter for the California MENTOR FHA San Mateo area, serving the Golden Gate Regional Center. Her office in San Mateo services the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin. With an extensive background in community home health nursing, including on-hand experiences caring for a sibling with developmental disability at home, she has dedicated herself working with the California MENTOR to educate and provide awareness in the community on the many advantages of becoming a Mentor in the California MENTOR FHA program.
The mission of California MENTOR FHA is to provide adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities a safe, supportive private family home. This provides an opportunity for both the host family and an individual with disabilities to develop grow, participate in community life, make choices and develop positive and supportive relationships. Nancy said, “Today, we serve numerous adults who are intellectually and developmentally disabled with the focus on the need to create a future where all individuals with special needs have the opportunity to live in a family home nestled in the area of their choice, receive services and participate in their community.”
I asked Nancy what/who a Mentor is. She replied, “A Mentor can be a retiree, stay-at-home parent, a working family with children of their own, anyone. In short, it’s someone who wants to make a positive difference in another person’s life and make the world a better place. Mentors are not simply caregivers, rather they are integral in the quality of life by being a trusted advocate, cheerleader, role model, teacher, friend and family home. Mentors show daily that individuals with a disability matters. They can participate in the community and live life to its fullest, realizing their potential, regardless of the physical, intellectual, behavioral, or medical challenges they face on a daily basis. Our continuum of services and support is built on shared values, experience and an unwavering commitment to quality.”
We spoke about independence, responsibility, and living life to the fullest is possible for both the Mentor and the individual. I learned that the qualification for a family is to have a clean extra bedroom, commitment, and a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of adults with special needs.
The Mentors receive a generous monthly payment as 1099 Independent Contractors. Nancy said, “A good Mentor respects, listens, understands the challenges that the individual is experiencing, has the ability to be flexible, and is willing to find solutions and opportunities to make family life work.” I said “wow.”
We spoke about the support that FHA provides. Mentors do not start or live this journey on their own. Nancy spoke at length about the level of support each family and individual receives. In fact, each home is assigned a Program Services Coordinator (PSC), whose job is to provide resources and support to both the individual and the Mentor. Nancy said, “it is all about vibrant relationships; our goal is to create and foster meaningful, long-term relationships.”
California MENTOR FHA provides a personalized support system that includes programs, such as: Around-the-clock, personalized support in family homes; Life skills development; Assistance with daily activities; Advocacy services; Behavioral supports; Opportunities for structured activities and day programs; Program evaluation & quality improvement; Family involvement and support; Community integration; Medication management oversight; Clinical supports; and 24-hour, on-call support from the California MENTOR FHA team.
Nancy also spoke about how the team of clinical experts and experienced human services professionals provided to individuals with special needs. They can benefit from the personalized services and opportunities to take part in the everyday activities of family life, such as: Learning new skills; Socializing with family and friends; Managing household chores; Discovering new hobbies; Improving independence; and Participating in community events.
For more information or just to say hi, contact Nancy Kline at (650) 389-5787, visit their website at www.MentorsWanted.com or Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/CaliforniaMENTOR