Mentorship Through Employment
Thousands of kids in America “age out” of foster care every year without any family to lean on during their early adult years. I've been considering mentoring a recent foster grad through an organization in Dallas called TRAC. While weighing this possibility, I was struck with an idea about how small business owners—bosses—could uniquely serve these kids who are in a really tough spot.
My desire to mentor has really come from a deep gratitude for the men who guided me along in high school and college, my dad being one of them. I had a pool of people to look up to. How can I stand by when some kid out there has nowhere to look but down?
“Within 12 – 18 months of leaving foster care, 50% of foster grads will be unemployed.” For more statistics like this, read the AFCARS Report.
During my late teens and early twenties, I was unemployed from time to time. For me it wasn’t such a big deal because I had my parents to lean on. But for a kid with no family or support network, small misfortunes can be life altering.
Imagine living in 10, 20, 30 different homes throughout your formative years. That’s 10 – 30 parents and families who have rejected you. Would you have much of a category for commitment? If you own a small business or have a lot of authority in terms of who you employ, you’re in a unique position to mentor a young man or woman who might otherwise have a really tough time keeping a job.
Here’s my thought:
Could a business owner serve one of these kids by giving him a job, coaching him in some life skills, and keeping him employed even if things are rocky? I’m not talking about enablement. If a kid doesn’t show up for work, he doesn’t get paid. I’m just saying he also doesn’t get fired.
To be clear, I’m not an employer so I’m not in the position to serve in this way. I am really curious though if this resonates with you or if you are already doing something like this.