Denver Children's Home Creates New Mentor Training with Guidance from MENTOR Colorado
Denver Children’s Home, Bansbach Academy (DCH) is a Colorado Department of Education accredited facility-based school that serve students who have experienced trauma and have learning difficulties as a result. Because of the experiences of these youth, DCH strives to consistently and intentionally connect its youth with qualified adults who will work in the youths’ best interests. According to Marisa A. Murgolo, LCSW, who is DCH’s Director of Daytime & Community Based Programs, the Children’s Home emphasizes “exposing [youth] to adults who are safe and invested in their growth.”
In order to achieve this goal, DCH reached out to MENTOR Colorado’s Drew DeMarie. The Denver Children’s Home applied to receive no-cost Technical Assistance (TA) through the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC). “We wanted to develop a training protocol for mentors,” Murgolo says, “who will be working with children and adolescents with trauma backgrounds, mental health issues, and educational challenges.”
DeMarie used therapeutic crisis intervention practices and training materials based off MENTOR’s Element of Effective Practice in Mentoring (EEPM) Toolkit to develop guidance for DCH mentors. Through a combination of in-person trainings and phone and video conference calls, DeMarie collaborated with Murgolo and DCH’s Educational Director, Annie Haskins, to create two 3-hour training sessions for incoming mentors that would prepare them to meet the needs of DCH’s unique population. “Our students have special challenges, Haskins says. “Drew was skilled in helping us navigate their needs and build aspects of the program that weren’t possible prior to his involvement.”
Because of their NMRC TA, Denver Children’s Home has the resources to provide its mentors with guidance on best practices in trauma-informed mentoring and enhance the support it provides for its youth. As Murgolo and Haskins agree, “we have a training program for mentors that we feel confident about.”
“DCH now has some of the training tools to guide interested volunteers towards becoming trauma-informed, effective mentors,” DeMarie says.
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) partners with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to deliver the National Mentoring Resource Center (NMRC) to the mentoring field. In addition to convening a Research Board which develops evidence-based reviews about mentoring topics, and offering a comprehensive mentoring resource center website, the NMRC provides mentoring programs nationwide with the opportunity to request and receive no-cost technical assistance to help them more deeply incorporate evidence-based practices into their programming. Once a mentoring program requests technical assistance, their request is assigned to a local or regional technical assistance provider within MENTOR's network of state and local affiliates and TA providers. New and emerging mentoring programs may benefit from technical assistance to help them design and implement programs that meet quality standards as outlined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring™, while existing or established programs may utilize TA to improve operations, assess impact, or adapt their program to changing or emerging community needs.