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Transformational Mentoring Transformational Mentoring Document Transcript

  • BAKKE GRADUATE UNIVERSITY FAITH-BASED MENTORING AND TRANSFORMATION OF AT-RISK YOUTH A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF MINISTRY BY BRYAN MCCABE SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
  • JUNE 2012
  • Copyright © 2012 by Bryan McCabe All Rights Reserved
  • To Julie who is the love of my life
  • All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. -T.E. Lawrence
  • CONTENTS TABLES.......................................................................................................................x ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.........................................................................................xi ABBREVIATIONS...................................................................................................xiv GLOSSARY...............................................................................................................xv ABSTRACT.............................................................................................................xvii CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM.....................................................................1 Problem..................................................................................................................1 Audience................................................................................................................1 Background of the Project.....................................................................................6 The Outcome of the Project.................................................................................10 The Contribution of the Project to Transformational Leadership.......................12 CHAPTER 2. OTHER PROPOSED SOLUTIONS..........................................................................17 Overview of the Literature..................................................................................17 Larson and Brendtro: Addressing Spiritual Needs..............................................17 D’Ambrosio: Using Story to Connect with Adolescent Hearts...........................19 Search Institute: Developmental Assets..............................................................21 Geoffrey Canada: Large-scale Replicable Change..............................................23 Rhodes: Long Term Youth Mentoring Relationships.........................................25 Osgood, Foster, Flanagan, and Ruth: The Transition to Adulthood...................27 Furstenberg, Cook, Eccles, Elder, and Sameroff: Parenting...............................29 Dortch and Fine: One-to-One and Group Mentoring..........................................31 v
  • Rodriguez: Activism and Community Building..................................................34 Payne: Poverty and Classes.................................................................................36 Eldredge: A Crisis of Masculinity.......................................................................37 Olsen: Institutional and Systemic Reform...........................................................39 Ruthruff: Listening and Learning........................................................................41 Miller and Sowers: Fatherlessness......................................................................44 Anderson: Sociology of Youth Violence............................................................46 CHAPTER 3. THE CONTEXT OF MINISTRY..............................................................................51 Introduction.........................................................................................................51 Historical Background.........................................................................................53 Worldview...........................................................................................................56 Statistics...............................................................................................................57 Major Stakeholders..............................................................................................58 Other Current Issues............................................................................................61 CHAPTER 4. THE BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL BASIS......................................................67 High-risk Youth and Mentors in God’s Story.....................................................67 A Five Act Play...................................................................................................67 Act One: Creation................................................................................................68 Act Two: Separation............................................................................................70 Act Three: Israel..................................................................................................72 Act Four: Jesus....................................................................................................76 Act Five: The Rest of the Story in the New Testament.......................................80 CHAPTER 5. METHODS OF RESEARCH.....................................................................................85 vi
  • Identifying the Research......................................................................................85 Questionnaire.......................................................................................................85 Interviews............................................................................................................86 LAMP Mentor Interviews............................................................................87 LAMP Mentee Interviews............................................................................88 Global Perspective: Interviews in Honduras................................................89 Policymakers and Mentoring Program Coordinators in Honduras..............95 Pastors in Honduras......................................................................................96 Potential Mentors in Honduras.....................................................................96 Potential Mentees in Honduras....................................................................97 Parents of At-risk Youth in Honduras..........................................................99 Personal Journals.................................................................................................99 LAMP Data Analysis........................................................................................100 CHAPTER 6. FINDINGS AND RESULTS....................................................................................102 Evaluation of the Methodology.........................................................................102 LAMP Mentor Questionnaire.....................................................................104 Interviews...................................................................................................106 Personal Journal.........................................................................................109 LAMP Data Analysis.................................................................................110 Desired Outcomes.............................................................................................111 Calling-based Mentoring...................................................................................111 Incarnational Mentoring....................................................................................113 Reflective Mentoring.........................................................................................115 Servant Mentoring.............................................................................................117 Contextual Mentoring........................................................................................120 vii
  • Global Mentoring..............................................................................................122 Shalom Mentoring.............................................................................................123 Prophetic Mentoring..........................................................................................127 Transformational Mentoring.............................................................................129 CHAPTER 7. CONCLUSION.........................................................................................................132 Principles Learned.............................................................................................132 Applications.......................................................................................................137 Recommendations.............................................................................................139 Other Final Conclusions....................................................................................141 Church and School Partnerships................................................................141 Urban and Suburban Partnerships..............................................................142 Cross-Cultural Relationships......................................................................143 Incarnational Leadership and Faith-based Mentoring................................144 Final Thoughts...................................................................................................146 APPENDICES..........................................................................................................132 Appendix A. Expanded Answers to the LAMP Mentor Questionnaire..................................132 Appendix B. Expanded Answers to the LAMP Mentor Interviews.......................................137 Appendix C. Expanded Answers to LAMP Mentee Interviews.............................................139 Appendix D. Expanded Answers to Honduras Policymaker Interviews................................141 Appendix E. Expanded Answers to Honduras Pastor Interviews...........................................143 Appendix F. Expanded Answers to the Honduras Potential Mentors Interviews..................145 viii
  • Appendix G. Expanded Answers to the Honduras Potential Mentee Interviews...................147 Appendix H. Expanded Answers to the Honduras Parent Interviews....................................151 BIBLIOGRAPHY.....................................................................................................153 VITA.........................................................................................................................153 ix
  • TABLES Table 1. Significant ways to transform the lives of at-risk youth.............................107 Table 2. Key ways to mobilize faith-based mentors.................................................107 Table 3. Obstacles to faith-based mentoring............................................................108 Table 4. Hopes and dreams of at-risk youth.............................................................108 Table 5. The voice of at-risk youth...........................................................................109 x
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Above all, I would like to thank God. Jesus Christ died for me, and today the Spirit lives in me so that I can play some small part in advancing the kingdom of God. I cannot wait to spend eternity with the Savior! To my wife, Julie, I want to say thank you for being so supportive throughout the process of earning a doctorate degree. This dissertation would not have been possible without you. You were present during many of my courses, but you also served me sacrificially in many ways that people did not see. You proofread every single one of my projects. You understood when I stayed up late to write or read. Family plans were put on hold until daddy graduated. You believe in me and you inspire me. Thank you! Much thanks to my daughters, Kyra and Sierra. Half of the time I think that you are better at urban ministry than I am. You make me laugh. You are the greatest blessings that God could possibly ever give a father. My hope is that you will be able to understand the incredible adventure that God has planned for your lives. I have been blessed with an amazing family. Mom and Dad, I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me. Shannon, you are a great sister. Early on in your adult life, you set an example of adventure with God that I wanted to follow. Cameron, you are also an incredible sister. God is doing great things through your life. Jim and Sandy, thank you so much for supporting me throughout this journey. I would like to thank all of my friends at North Way Christian Community in Pittsburgh. In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Jay Passavant and Pastor Scott Stevens for supporting me and advocating for LAMP. xi
  • Thanks to Dr. Eric Swanson, my dissertation supervisor, who is an example of the kind of person I want to be some day. People follow you because you are genuine and intentional about giving yourself away to others. Your encouragement and advice has been very meaningful. Much thanks to the people I interviewed and surveyed for this project. I was warmly invited into the life experiences of many LAMP mentors and people living in Honduras. Thank you for being transparent about your lives. To the LAMP mentees and their families in Homewood, I want to say thank you for sharing your lives with me. I learn a lot from you about courage, resilience, and persistence in the face of tremendous adversity. You have taught me much about how the world really operates, and how we can all respond to adversity. To Dr. Randy White and Dr. Ray Bakke, thank you for mentoring me. I read your books before I met you, and when I met you I realized that both of you are the real deal. You live out what you talk about in your books and lectures. Thank you for blazing trails for those of us who are following you. Much thanks to my neighbor and friend, Dr. John Stahl-Wert, for serving as my second reader. Your advice has been very helpful, and I have benefited tremendously from your prayers and support. Thank you for blazing a trail in Pittsburgh. Much thanks to my LAMP colleagues, Joanne Galinowski, Lee Solomon, Janet Blair-Raible, Corrie Passavant, Del Howze, Deb Dilliplaine, Kelly Phillips, Mark Zabierek, Arleen Braun, and Raquel Branchik. It is a privilege to serve with such amazing leaders. I also want to thank my personal learning community, Errika Fearbry- xii
  • Jones, Tim Parsley, John Vecchi, and Jason Gregg. You all provided much needed encouragement at many points as I progressed through the program. Much thanks to my friends, family, and colleagues who have encouraged me throughout the doctoral journey that I have not mentioned. I appreciate your friendship and support. xiii
  • ABBREVIATIONS BBBS Big Brothers / Big Sisters GFSC Gang Free Schools and Communities HBCM Homewood-Brushton Community Ministerium LAMP Learning and Mentoring Partnership NGO Non-governmental Organization P/PV Public/Private Ventures PYIP Pittsburgh Youth Intervention Project SZP Safety Zone Partnership YMCA Young Men’s Christian Association xiv
  • GLOSSARY Calling-based Mentoring. Calling-based mentors commit to spending time with a mentee, despite the potential outcomes of the relationship, because mentoring is something God has called them to see through to the finish. Contextual Mentoring. Contextual mentors respect a mentee’s life and culture as they seek to help mentees experience meaning according to God’s purposes, not from the perspective of a mentor’s own limited worldview. Faith-based Mentoring. For the purposes of this project, Faith-based Mentoring describes the intentional placing of a caring adult from a congregation into a mentoring relationship with a high-risk young person. Faith-based Mentors make at least a one-year commitment to see their mentee for several hours at a time each week. Family-to-one Mentoring. Family-to-one Mentoring provides the same kind of mentoring as One-to-one Mentoring, except that a mentor’s spouse and family are often deeply involved in the mentoring activities that take place at the mentor’s home or out in the community. Global Mentoring. Global mentors intentionally expand a mentee’s worldview by teaching about the complexities of the modern world. Group Mentoring. Group Mentoring encompasses a group of caring adults who spend intentional and consistent time mentoring a group of at-risk youth. Incarnational Mentoring. Incarnational mentors intentionally spend a significant amount of time with a mentee in the mentee’s neighborhood or environment. One-to-one Mentoring. A One-to-one Mentors spends three or four hours each week with one at-risk youth. One-to-one Mentors make a minimum one-year commitment in which they will interact with a mentee out in the community, not in a school setting. Prophetic Mentoring. Prophetic mentors provide mentees a voice by advocating for them consistently over time. Prophetic mentors take-on broken systems in a way that will help clear the barriers to a mentee’s development. Reflective Mentoring. Reflective mentors move beyond programs and activities and focus their mentoring experiences in a way that will allow them and their mentee to find meaning within the context of their relationship. xv
  • School-based Mentoring. School-based mentoring places one adult with one at-risk youth. The mentor makes a one-year commitment to spend at least two hours once a week with a mentee inside a school building rather than out in the community. Servant Mentoring. Servant mentors initially become involved in mentoring because they want to serve God; however, as a result they come to be of service to a mentee. Shalom Mentoring. Shalom mentors are bridge-builders who encourage reconciliation between a mentee and the world around them. Transformational Mentoring. Transformational mentoring comprises intentional, long- term relationships between mentors and mentees that can lead to a process of transformation over time. Transformational Mentoring relationships are calling-, servant-, and shalom-based; incarnational; reflective; contextual; global; and prophetic in nature. xvi
  • ABSTRACT The world is rapidly becoming increasingly urban, and the complexities of modern cities often lead to increasing numbers of at-risk youth. Most societies struggle with developing effective interventions for children growing up in the midst of strained or even broken families, institutions, and systems. This dissertation represents the culmination of a project examining faith-based mentoring as a potential means of transforming the lives of at-risk urban youth by building life-changing assets. Chapter 1 evaluates the problem of at-risk youth living in complex urban environments; delineates the audience, the background, and the outcomes of the project; and the potential contributions of the project to transformational leadership. Chapter 2 offers a literature review that examines alternative solutions to faith-based mentoring. Chapter 3 looks at case studies of faith-based mentoring in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in the country of Honduras. Chapter 4 examines the theological foundation for faith- based mentoring by examining biblical mentoring relationships. Chapter 5 outlines the research methods utilized for the project, including a questionnaire, interviews, personal journals, and quantitative data analysis. Chapter 6 presents findings supporting the concept of transformational mentoring. Chapter 7 concludes the project by presenting the principles learned, applications, recommendations, and other final thoughts about church and school partnerships, urban and suburban partnerships, cross-cultural relationships, and the impact of incarnational leadership on faith-based mentoring programs. xvii
  • CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM Problem I began studying faith-based mentoring because I wanted to discover and share how to transform the lives of at-risk youth in a way that readers might come to understand how to build life-changing developmental assets. Most faith-based mentoring initiatives are designed to impact at-risk urban youth. Christians from both urban and suburban churches mentor children living in poor urban neighborhoods that experience high levels of crime, violence, gang activity, and school dropout rates. The mentees in these faith-based mentoring initiatives often demonstrate increases in academic performance, school attendance, and improved behavior at school. Beyond that, however, improved school performance, little is known about how faith- based mentoring relationships might contribute to the holistic transformation of children’s lives. This project seeks to show how faith-based mentoring makes a whole- life transformational impact beyond improved academic performance. Also, the project introduces the concept of transformational mentoring as a framework that could guide others to do more research. At-risk urban youth have many needs, but they also have many developmental assets that faith-based mentoring programs can build upon to help transform lives. The church should have a transformational role in society, and long term faith-based mentoring relationships can help to transform the lives of at-risk youth. Audience Faith-based mentors, youth practitioners, churches, schools, and mentoring organizations comprise the general audience for this project. The findings will also be 1
  • relevant to funders: individuals, foundations, churches, corporations, and government agencies. The practical and transferable research can help people and institutions serving at-risk youth to design the kinds of programming that leads to transformation. Faith-based mentors are volunteers, and just like most volunteers they want the valuable time they give to serving to be effective. Don Simmons notes that people “will be attracted to service if they can see that it will have results, build community, meet a real spiritual need, and help them grow in faith.”1 Mentoring is not just some random way to give away time to young people. Mentoring is a seed-planting ministry that generally produces results over the course of a number of years, or even a lifetime There are strategies that can help mentors be more effective and I anticipate the findings from this project will help both to increase their effectiveness and to greatly encourage the faith-based mentors in my audience. Indeed, mentoring has not only a positive impact on the at-risk youth being mentored, it conversely transforms the mentors when they see the transformation occurring in the lives of the at-risk youth. Practitioners who work with at-risk youth are also an important sector of the audience because they are familiar with the strategies that support the transformation of troubled youth. Youth practitioners are not simply satisfied with isolated programs that do little to impact children and youth. An expanded community-wide, partnership-based approach to reaching young people requires youth practitioners to be thoroughly trained and equipped. Francisco Villarruel and the team with whom he works offer, “Given the growing acceptance of this community-wide approach, practitioners, public policy professionals, the public, and researchers are trying desperately to understand what it takes to create environments that promote the positive and healthy development of all 1 Don Simmons, “Equipping Saints or Pulling Teeth?” Rev! July/August 2006, 60. 2
  • youth.”2 The youth practitioners reading this dissertation will be able to learn more about the ways in which faith-based mentoring can aid in the transformation of at-risk youth. Churches are part of the audience because, generally, they want to make a difference in their communities; however, they often either do not know how or they settle for short-term programs that cost little relationally and do little in terms of long- term transformation. Ronald Sider, Philip Olson, and Heidi Unruh posit: Living out the gospel in our churches means modeling God’s concern for the total well-being of people and communities. It means an incarnational lifestyle of integrity, compassion, and invitation. It means loving neighbors both far and near, especially those who are most needy and least lovable, with the same joyous abandon that Jesus displayed.3 Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson add that the church is a key component of transformation because one of the most effective ways to reach people with the message of Jesus Christ today is through real and relevant acts of service. Honest, compassionate service can restore credibility to the crucial message we have to share. To tell the truth, we must show the truth. It’s the model Jesus used. He served. He met needs. People listened.4 Externally-focused churches offer a key component for effective faith-based mentoring initiatives. Schools are another key segment of the audience for this dissertation because they face the very difficult challenge of reaching and educating today’s American youth. Student test scores are available online, adding pressure on educators at failing schools, who are expected to meet the needs of all students regardless of socioeconomic status. 2 Francisco Villarruel et al., Community Youth Development: Programs, Policies, and Practices (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003), x. 3 Ronald Sider, Philip Olson, and Heidi Unruh, Churches that Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 60. 4 Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson, The Externally Focused Church (Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, Inc., 2004), 11. 3
  • The ever-increasing emphasis on accountability and standards-based education reform has dramatically changed public education over the past decade. Faith-based mentoring can have an important role in the best practices noted in the findings from The Central Valley Educational Research Consortium, who offers that the “social, spiritual, and economic costs of incarceration, unemployment, disenfranchisement, and alienation make the notion of social justice in the application of best educational practice of extreme importance to the future of all citizens.”5 The search for best practices has led schools across the United States to open their doors to partnerships with churches and organization in their efforts to respond to the needs of struggling students. The benefits of engaging in such partnerships usually outweigh the downsides if the partnerships are formed correctly. Nonetheless, faith-based mentoring can go a long way to help struggling schools better educate their students. Mentoring programs are yet another vital component of the audience for this dissertation because effective research can lead to better outcomes for mentoring matches. Dubois and Karcher have noticed an imbalance between research and practice in the field of youth mentoring, in which developments in practice have outstripped the research community’s ability to keep pace and provide sufficient guidance. This imbalance can be traced to the explosive growth in youth mentoring programs of all kinds and across diverse contexts in recent years, contrasted with the much more slowly evolving status of corresponding scholarly work.”6 The research findings from this project offer one step to bridge the gap between research and practice, especially with regard to faith-based mentoring. Good research findings, if 5 Central Valley Educational Research Consortium, API What Works: Characteristics of High- Performing Schools in the Central Valley (Fresno: California State University, Fresno, 2002), 11-12. 6 David DuBois and Michael Karcher, Handbook of Youth Mentoring (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005), 10. 4
  • applied properly to future faith-based mentoring matches, could lead to longer matches and many more positive outcomes for mentees. Funders are a crucial part of the audience for this dissertation because they are most likely to give to projects that are making a real difference. Their desire to give correlates directly with good data, and good data aligns with good intentions when faith- based mentoring initiatives strive to be worthy of expanded support. There are many great causes and charities in the world to which funders can give. Bill Clinton has pointed out that “China has almost 280,000 NGOs registered with the government, and perhaps twice that number unregistered. India, a democracy born out of Gandhi’s citizen activism, has more than 500,000 working NGOs. The United States has more than one million charitable organizations.”7 Historically, people with access to financial resources often fail to steward effectively those resources. Fikkert and Corbett add, “Despite an estimated $2.3 trillion in foreign aid dispensed from Western nations during the post WW2 era, more than 2.5 billion people, approximately 40 percent of the world’s population, still live on less than $2 per day.”8 Due to current worldwide economic struggles, funders have been forced to become much more selective when it comes to causes that have a transformational impact. Faith-based mentoring may be just as likely as any other cause to receive funding from individuals and organizations, but solid evidence of the value of mentoring needs to be presented if programs are going to be sustainable and grown. The issue of best 7 Bill Clinton, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007), 9. 8 Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett, When Helping Hurts: How To Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… and Ourselves (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009), 141. 5
  • practices in youth work, especially faith-based mentoring programs, is of greater importance now because the window of time to proactively impact children is limited. Background of the Project Over the past twenty years, mentoring has become a popular way to connect with at-risk youth. As Cavell and others point out, mentoring relationships are quite important: Young persons who lack a strong relationship with a caring adult while growing up are much more vulnerable to a host of difficulties, ranging from academic failure to involvement in serious risk behaviors. Research finds that resilient youth – those who successfully transition from risk-filled backgrounds to the adult world of work and good citizenship – are consistently distinguished by the presence of a caring adult in their lives.9 Many organizations and schools have implemented mentoring programs that help to provide support for children who struggle developmentally. At the same time, many churches have been searching for ways to impact people in their communities. A lot of churches have identified at-risk youth as a group of people they can impact with their outreach programs. As a result, churches have started to launch mentoring partnerships with public schools and mentoring organizations. Some mentoring programs are effective and some are not, depending on how they structure those programs. In 2003 Pittsburgh Public Schools administrator Errika Fearby Jones launched the Pittsburgh Youth Intervention Project. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency recognized the work of PYIP as “one of four such projects originally funded by the United States Department of Justice Project and is a combination of Board of Education-led strategies designed to bring all available resources together in the 9 Timothy Cavell et al., “Policy Brief: Strengthening Mentoring Opportunities for At-Risk Youth,” http://www.mentoring.org/downloads/mentoring_1233.pdf” (accessed August 29, 2011), 1. 6
  • community in a common effort to positively impact young lives.”10 PYIP includes four initiatives: Gang Free Schools and Communities (GFSC); the Safety Zone Partnership (SZP); an after school program called Project Promise; and the Learning and Mentoring Partnership (LAMP). GFSC involves outreach workers managing cases of young people between the ages of twelve and twenty-five in gang-prone neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh as part of a collaborative effort with police, school, and community officials to reduce gang activity. The aforementioned Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency recognizes SZP as “a community-mobilization effort that develops individualized safety plans covering a 1,000 foot radius around schools in areas with high crime rates.”11 Project Promise employs academic intervention and creative programming to impact children living in the Homewood and East Hills neighborhoods of Pittsburgh during crucial after-school. LAMP matches churches with public schools to provide mentors for at-risk youth between the ages of eight and fifteen. The vision of LAMP is to impact the city of Pittsburgh one student at a time. The Pittsburgh Public Schools, a large urban school district with over twenty-five thousand students, first partnered with a mentoring organization called Family Guidance, Inc. in 2005. The goal of this partnership was to recruit mentors from Pittsburgh area churches and match them with at-risk students from schools with underperforming student populations. The original vision for LAMP involved matching only urban churches with 10 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, “The Commission,” http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/the_commission/5384/hide_- _errika_fearby_jones/516737 (accessed August 31, 2011). 11 Ibid. 7
  • urban schools, but in May of 2006 several suburban churches also began providing mentors through LAMP. The church I serve as a pastor, North Way Christian Community, was one of the first suburban churches to participate. North Way is now a multisite church with over three thousand adult members spread out over four locations, including two urban campuses. When North Way first joined LAMP the model of matching suburban churches with urban schools was somewhat innovative because heretofore cultural and geographical barriers had prevented many church and school partnerships involving blighted inner city neighborhoods. At that time, efforts tended to focus on matching only local urban churches with the urban children in the schools from participating. When suburban churches were involved, it was only in a financial-support role but rarely in a direct relational role with the children. Several additional urban churches from the Homewood-Brushton Community Ministerium (HBCM) began participating in LAMP in 2010. Today, LAMP regularly matches mentors from both urban and suburban churches with high-risk youth who mostly reside in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Over 250 individual mentoring matches have been made since LAMP began in 2005, and the number of matches continues to grow each year as more churches enter into LAMP partnerships. School-based mentors visit their mentees at the Pittsburgh Faison K-5 school or Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12 school once a week for one or two hours at a time during the regular school year. One-to-one mentors visit their mentees outside of school once a week for three or four hours at a time. 8
  • LAMP students have demonstrated marked improvement in academic performance, school attendance, and school behavior: all indicators of positive outcomes that are very important to the mission of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. LAMP has the potential to eventually impact every public school in the district. While academic improvement is important for all children, much remains to be known about how faith- based mentoring partnerships like LAMP can build other assets in high-risk youth. During the first three years I was involved in leading North Way’s LAMP efforts in Homewood, I lived in a suburban area about thirty-five minutes driving distance from Homewood. I recruited mentors from the church, and I intentionally built relationships with kids in Homewood who might be potential mentees by going into the public schools during the school day. I enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Bakke Graduate University after my second year of LAMP involvement in order to learn more about how to be effective at urban ministry, and when I was introduced to the perspectives on incarnational leadership I decided to move my family to Homewood. By moving into the neighborhood and becoming a neighbor with LAMP mentees and their families, I have been able to be much more effective at building relationships and supporting the development of the faith-based mentoring efforts. For the purposes of this dissertation, my incarnational leadership experience provides more details about the urban context of the research. The LAMP mentoring model from Pittsburgh has caught the attention of organizations serving high-risk youth in Honduras and El Salvador. The Orphan Helpers organization works in Honduras and plans to implement faith-based mentoring by matching the children they serve in orphanages and youth homes with adult mentors from 9
  • four churches in the city of San Pedro Sula. Orphan Helpers has already translated the Family Guidance, Inc. mentoring training materials into Spanish, and program coordinators are in place. Mentoring should begin in that context shortly. I traveled to Honduras in June of 2011 to collect data for this dissertation about faith-based mentoring programs in a second cultural and socioeconomic setting that are in the development stage. If the faith-based mentoring model works well in Honduras, Orphan Helpers plans to promote and implement the model throughout the countries that partner with in Latin America. John and Danielle Snyder serve high-risk youth in San Salvador through Youth With A Mission. When they noticed a gap in relational work with the poor, John and Danielle began taking the initial steps toward starting a faith- based mentoring program between local churches and children living in the orphanages and youth detention centers in San Salvador. The Outcome of the Project The intended outcome of this project, which encompassed studying faith-based mentoring, is to build developmental assets for faith-based mentoring that transforms the lives of at-risk youth. The Search Institute recognizes that assets “don’t just happen as part of growing up. They are built for and with children through all of the caring relationships they have at home and in their communities.”12 When churches build long- term mentoring relationships with at-risk youth, great things can happen. Another intended outcome of this project is that faith-based mentors and mentoring program stakeholders will learn more about how to intentionally build assets in young people through the context of long-term relationships. The U.S. Department of 12 Search Institute, Mentoring for Meaningful Results: Asset-Building Tips, Tools, and Activities for Youth and Adults (Minneapolis: Search Institute, 2006), 18. 10
  • Education Mentoring Resources notes that mentoring “is founded on a strength-based rather than deficit-based approach to helping young people realize their potential, focusing on assets rather than problems.”13 As a result, mentees build up resilience in life. At-risk youth often look for love, and through faith-based mentoring they can find that love in God because “the story of scripture is not a story of power, but a story of love – genuine love, overflowing love for the world God made.”14 Another intended outcome of this project is the transformation of Christ-centered mentors. Many mentors experience transformation much earlier than their mentees do, and that shift is often what keeps matches going. Mentors want to experience increasing life change and mentees are more than willing to receive the consistent, ongoing attention mentors provide. The Bible promises that if a mentor cares for the poor, their light will break forth like the dawn, their healing will quickly appear, their righteousness will go before them, and the glory of the LORD will be their rear guard (Isaiah 58:8).15 Mentoring is difficult, and one of the most significant outcomes of this project can be that more Christians in Pittsburgh and around the world will be encouraged and equipped by this research and get to experience the joys of mentoring that come with being stretched by God. The best outcome of this project is that the research will strengthen the existing mentoring matches in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Mentees will benefit more from transformational mentoring, and the mentoring experience will be much more 13 U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center, “Mentoring Fact Sheet: Putting Youth Development Principles To Work in Mentoring Programs,” (February 2007), 1. 14 N.T. Wright, “The Bible for the Post Modern World,” Latimer Fellowship (1999): 13. 15 All Scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® (Biblica, Inc.: 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011). Used by permission of Zondervan, all rights reserved worldwide, (www.zondervan.com). 11
  • meaningful for the LAMP mentors. Based on the finding of this project, LAMP mentoring program coordinators could adjust future training sessions and ongoing match supervision. In the general Pittsburgh region, my hope would is that more churches and more schools will want to get involved in faith-based mentoring through LAMP so that the lives of hundreds or even thousands more at-risk youth can be impacted. Another intended outcome of this project is to provide helpful research that advances the efforts of the several national faith-based mentoring initiatives underway in the United States. Starting new mentoring programs can be very intimidating for organizations such as churches and schools that are not ordinarily in the business of formally mentoring children. This project could help to encourage new organizations across the United States and even beyond to get involved in mentoring. As LAMP is implemented in places like Honduras, El Salvador, and potentially throughout Latin America, this dissertation has the potential to advance the cause of faith-based mentoring globally as a means of transforming the lives of at-risk youth through intentional relationship-building. The Contribution of the Project to Transformational Leadership Sometimes programs, including faith-based mentoring programs, seek to keep themselves in business instead of fulfilling their mission of transformation in people and places. Many mentoring programs fall into the trap of doing mentoring without utilizing best practices such as high standards, training, and support for matches. An organization called Public/Private Ventures did a major longitudinal study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters in the 1980s and 1990s, republishing a report in 2000 that emphasized how powerful the BBBS mentoring model is for impacting young people: 12
  • The report by Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) became what might be the most influential, most cited and most misused study in youth work… But mentoring researchers lament that the study has been used in ways that actually harm youth work, fueling a rush to expand mentoring that produced a flood of cheap copycats whose impact is unclear. In the popular culture of the youth work field, the study has morphed into a generic cornerstone to support anything called ‘mentoring,’ with countless organizations citing it as proof that mentoring works.16 Rushed or watered down mentoring programs are ineffective because they lose focus on the hard work that leads to transformation. Effective faith-based mentoring should lead to transformation in people, the mentees and mentors, as well as in complex urban environments. Most of the world now lives in cities, and with millions of people moving closer together all over the world problems are bound to result from the brokenness that people carry with them. Intentional building authentic, long term relationships through mentoring can be an amazingly effective way to bring about the transformation of urban places. Randy White says that the city needs a growing cadre of young leaders – both college and graduate students as well as those already in the marketplace – who will link their skills, their privileges and their sense of well-being to the well-being of the city. In today’s globalized world, to shape the city is to shape the way people experience life itself.17 Transformational leadership principles are crucial whenever a Christian chooses to mentor a child. Mentors can apply the eight perspectives on transformational leadership at Bakke Graduate University to the concept of “transformational mentoring.” Transformational, faith-based mentoring can be even more fruitful when it is calling- 16 Patrick Boyle, “The Study that Ignited (or Diluted) Mentoring,” Youth Today, December/January 2007, 1. 17 Randy White, Encounter God in the City: Onramps to Personal and Community Transformation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 17. 13
  • based, incarnational, reflective, servants-intensive, contextual, global, focused on shalom, and prophetic. Transformational mentors who engage in the lives of high-risk youth can be more effective by integrating transformational leadership principles into their mentoring. A good faith-based mentor will have a strong sense of calling; otherwise, the mentor is more likely to give up when the match becomes difficult. Mentors often enter into broken environments that are different from anything they may have ever experienced culturally, so incarnational and contextual activities are important. Mentors who are servants spend a great deal of time investing in kids who are not often as appreciative as mentors might prefer. Good mentors reflect on their mentoring relationships, and they have a solid understanding of the appropriate role they play in a young person’s life. Faith-based mentors can help their mentees have a more global worldview when the mentees experience the isolation that comes with poverty. Mentors may also be able to help their mentees work toward the shalom of their communities, and mentors can definitely speak prophetically into the lives of their mentees. Faith-based mentors are ordinary followers of Jesus that take a risk by engaging in the life of a young person in need. Most would not think of themselves as heroes. Sometimes the mentoring makes a huge difference in the lives of the mentees, and sometimes it does not seem to make much of a difference. Regardless of the outcomes, mentoring is a heroic endeavor that is more about the journey than it is about the destination. In the words of Ken Fong, speaking to an Overture I class, “When ordinary people go on a [sic] heroic journey, they are transformed by the process along the way whether or not they beat the foe.”18 18 Ken Fong, Class Lecture, “Organizational Transformation,” [lecture, Bakke Graduate University, Overture I, Seattle, WA, January 21, 2009]. 14
  • Mentors exhibit many of the characteristics found in transformational leaders, including what the Family Guidance, Inc. Volunteer Training Manual presents as the ability to readily see potential in a person, the capacity to tolerate mistakes, flexibility in responding to people and circumstances, the ability to be patient – knowing that time and experience are needed for development, the ability to see down the road and suggest the next step, and the capacity to encourage and build up others.19 Mentors are bridge builders and reconcilers. They are stewards of resources for the sake of vulnerable people. I cannot think of anything more than faith-based mentoring that can contribute to the literature about, and the practice of, transformational leadership. 19 Family Guidance, Inc., Learning and Mentoring Partnership: Volunteer Training Manual (Sewickley, PA: Family Guidance, Inc., 2011), 10. 15
  • CHAPTER 2. OTHER PROPOSED SOLUTIONS Overview of the Literature There are many different approaches to transforming the lives of at-risk youth. Some models focus on changing the behaviors of young people, while others focus on changing societal systems and institutions that may generate the problems that cause adolescents to struggle. After reviewing a wide variety of literature for this dissertation, the following fifteen reviews represent the diverse cross-section of perspective on the subject of at-risk youth. The perspectives are theological, biblical, comprehensive, relational, psychological, and sociological. Some authors focus on relationships while others focus on programs. Some focus on individuals while others focus on systems. Some focus on spiritual dynamics while others focus on policy reform. Each review focuses on the author’s approach to the problems, strengths, and weaknesses of the approach and how the particular approach compares to faith-based mentoring as a method of transforming the lives of high-risk youth. Larson and Brendtro: Addressing Spiritual Needs In their book Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters, authors Scott Larson and Larry Brendtro suggest that most traditional approaches to serving at-risk youth are ineffective because they do not address the spiritual needs of children. Larson and Brendtro believe that high-risk young people must be reclaimed, and they provide strategies for churches in particular to be able to transform the lives of at-risk youth by meeting their spiritual needs. The authors clearly outline the concepts of reclaiming 17
  • troubled adolescents through reparenting, redirecting, reconciling, and redeeming. The reparenting concept is defined as “providing a youth who is not closely attached to adults with bonds to a positive adult.”1 That definition describes what is at the heart of faith- based mentoring. Spiritual development is important, but one weakness of the authors’ argument is that they deemphasize the need for institutional support of children through such places as schools and social service agencies. It is true that at times many institutions that serve children are ineffective, but traditional institutions still can play a role in serving the needs of troubled youth. When Christians withdraw their attention from traditional institutions and only focus on what can be done by Christians within their own church buildings, they fail to help at-risk children at the systemic level. The authors’ argument strongly highlights the need to develop courage in young people so they can strive in society. The authors rightly point out that “disadvantaged youths may actually have an advantage when it comes to developing the attribute of courage – as long as they have access to someone who can instill in them some of the essential building blocks for healthy development.”2 I agree with the authors about working with youth at the level of faith, because, in their words, interventions at this level help youth understand how their theology – their view of God – informs every other area of their lives and gives meaning to their existence. This has been the missing element in youth work in recent years. Yet there is no deeper belief that any of us can hold than our personal understanding of God.3 1 Scott Larson and Larry Brendtro, Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters: A Practical Approach for Connecting with Youth in Conflict (Bloomington, IN: National Education Service, 2000), 99. 2 Ibid., 72. 3 Ibid., 178. 18
  • My solution to transforming the lives of at-risk youth differs from the authors in that they seem to write off schools as incapable of supporting the spiritual needs of troubled youth. They write, “Modern youth are suffering from a deep spiritual hunger. Yet most schools are so narrowly preoccupied with academic achievement and superficial behavior that they fail to meet the most basic emotional and spiritual needs of their children.”4 While it is true that standards-based education reform has focused on the development of reading, math, and testing skills, many schools do still attempt to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of their students. My solution differs from these authors in that I will attempt to show that mentoring, not necessarily reclaiming, leads to transformation. D’Ambrosio: Using Story to Connect with Adolescent Hearts Jay D’Ambrosio suggests that the key to transforming the lives of at-risk youth lies in utilizing story and myth to connect with their hearts. “Schools today put forth a heroic effort in developing and teaching a student’s mind. Likewise, opportunities for the body to be conditioned and trained abound in the form of physical education and athletics. However, more energy needs to be channeled toward the hearts of the young.”5 D’Ambrosio further suggests that myths and stories “can help people place their own personal narrative and those of others into the proper context.”6 Young people must learn to take risks and take on challenges in life. In the words of D’Ambrosio, young people 4 Ibid., 173. 5 Jay D’Ambrosio, Rethinking Adolescence: Using Story to Navigate Life’s Uncharted Years (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2006), xii. 6 Ibid. 19
  • must wrestle with forces that would strive to define and form them. That is the only way to become what they were born to be. They are shaped by the trials that come their way. By making a stand for what is good and right in the midst of great evil, they become noble, they become greater, and they become the heroes and heroines of this life.7 D’Ambrosio observes that almost all adults can connect with youth by intentionally using stories; this is one of the strongest points of his approach to reaching at-risk youth. He writes, “The adolescents in our lives need us to fill the role of mentor, counselor, confidant, and friend. They need someone to believe in them, to see them mythically. They need someone to know that they have what it takes to be heroic in the tale that is being laid out before them.”8 Adults can help orient young people in God’s Story as they experience the ups and downs of the life journey. A weakness of this approach is that many adults who work with young people in a professional capacity are unwilling or unable to get to know children at the heart level. D’Ambrosio points out that we “will never be able to engage adolescents on more than a surface level if [we] don’t spend the time getting to know them.”9 Many teachers, however, are unable to focus on the heart of a child because academic standards focus pressure on job performance. An educator may have to separate head knowledge from heart connection for the sake of efficiency, or it may be that getting to know youth at the heart level requires too much relational capacity. Leaders who supervise professional educators and youth workers often require them to reach hundreds of children on a daily or weekly basis, so logistically the capacity to build relationships is simply not there. 7 Ibid., xiii. 8 Ibid., xviii. 9 Ibid., 11. 20
  • Faith-based mentoring is similar to the solution offered by D’Ambrosio in that faith-based mentoring relationships aim to connect with kids at the heart level in a world where many adults are unwilling or otherwise unable to do that. Some mentors, however, may not be able to connect with at-risk youth through the use of story or myth. Many kids do not open up to their mentors. It can be difficult to have meaningful conversations with kids who have experienced abuse or neglect. Intentionally using stories to reach kids may turn into a prescriptive relationship. Mentors should instead focus on building a developmental friendship with their mentees, which may or may not involve the use of story. Story could be integrated into the relationship, but not with the goal of trying to fix the problems of the youth. Mentors connect with kids in many different ways, and they can do so without the use of stories or myths. Search Institute: Developmental Assets The authors of A Fragile Foundation understand that modern youth have many needs, but they suggest that youth workers should focus on building on assets to transform the lives of at-risk youth. The Search Institute surveyed a large group of adolescents and determined forty developmental assets that are important to the growth of all young people. The authors take these developmental assets and suggest a comprehensive approach to impacting children: One wouldn’t necessarily reach the conclusion that virtually all young people are building their lives on a fragile foundation by looking just at isolated areas of their lives. Nor would you notice the power of many assets if you focused on just a few of them. The power and impact become evident as you put all the pieces together in a mosaic of young people’s lives, and then step back and look at the big picture.10 10 Peter Benson et al., A Fragile Foundation: The State of Developmental Assets Among American Youth (Minneapolis: Search Institute, 1999), vi. 21
  • The book suggests that adults should focus on assets instead of needs, with an emphasis on keeping an eye on the big picture of youth development instead of on the isolated problems kids face. The focus on assets is a strong point of the authors’ argument. They would argue that mentors should be able to focus on assets instead of needs. If enough adults are on board with the building of assets, transformation can occur in the lives of at-risk youth “By focusing attention on ensuring that all young people experience the developmental assets, individuals, families, organizations, and communities can begin to transform a fragile foundation into a solid foundation for life.”11 A weakness of this approach is that it may be too comprehensive as it underestimates the role that many institutions could offer in the process of transforming the lives of at-risk youth. As an example, the authors state that the “fact that most youth in all communities lack many of the assets represents a disturbing critique of American society. The lack is so widespread and common that it is fruitless to expect families or schools to repair the developmental web on their own.”12 Schools that seek to educate students who are severely at-risk can still educate children in spite of the children’s environment or life circumstances. Too often schools use the excuse that they cannot effectively educate at-risk kids because of the breakdown of American society, family dysfunctions, or illegal activity and blight in the local neighborhood, yet many other schools are able to effectively educate at-risk youth in spite of environmental issues. Mentors may be able to build assets in at-risk youth over time, but the mentors can also create other problems for the relationships with their mentees if too much focus 11 Ibid., vi. 12 Ibid., xii. 22
  • is given to fixing gaps in development. Faith-based mentoring differs from the Search Institute’s approach to transforming the lives of at-risk youth in that faith-based mentoring relationships do not focus on simply building developmental assets in youth. Assets may be built as a byproduct of spending time together consistently over a number of years, but asset-building is not necessarily the goal of the mentoring relationship. Even though the approaches are different, the forty developmental assets can provide a good framework for mentors to be able to understand how their mentees are growing and changing over time. Again turning to A Fragile Framework: The asset framework attempts to more broadly define what is possible and to motivate people to take steps toward making the possible real. It is easier to visualize doing something positive than preventing something negative. So, by describing the positive things youth need, the framework gives typical residents more tangible and concrete ideas about what they personally can do.13 More effective possibilities and motivations take more than developing assets. Geoffrey Canada: Large-scale Replicable Change In the book Whatever It Takes, author Paul Tough describes Geoffrey Canada’s approach to helping poor children in America. Canada has become relatively famous in America for developing a model for transforming the lives of at-risk youth through comprehensive, holistic initiatives that impact children from before they are born all the way through when they graduate from college and move into the adult world. The model seeks to empower the parents of poor children in addition to a wide variety of programs that impact kids. First implemented in late 1990s through a broad initiative called the 13 Ibid., 8. 23
  • Harlem Children’s Village, “Canada’s objective was to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood couldn’t slip through.”14 The approach works to establish strategic partnerships aimed at impacting children through education, parenting classes, counseling, early childhood intervention, tutoring, after school programs, and much more. Canada’s model asks the question, “What would it take to change the lives of poor children not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in a programmatic, standardized way that could be applied broadly and replicated nationwide?”15 The strength of this approach to transforming the lives of at-risk youth lies in its large-scale, replicable focus on impacting the lives of thousands of children in meaningful ways. A weakness of Canada’s approach is the relative lack of emphasis on the spiritual transformation of children. This approach is definitely not a Christ-centered approach to building assets in poor children. Although Christians may be highly involved in efforts to impact high-risk youth and the model can inform those efforts, the model could seemingly be implemented in any city with little regard for whether or not churches or Christians are involved. The faith-based mentoring model is comparable to Canada’s approach in that both models seek to move beyond individual programs toward relationships that transform the lives of many children. Admittedly, faith-based mentoring has a narrower focus on transforming one child at a time, although that might be converted to a broader scale as the mentoring movement continues to grow. While faith-based mentoring usually involves partnerships between institutions such as churches and schools or churches and 14 Paul Tough, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America (New York: Mariner Books, 2008), 5. 15 Ibid., 19. 24
  • mentoring organizations, the faith-based mentoring approach does not incorporate as many institutions or programs as the Harlem Children’s Zone model does. Canada’s model also focuses much more attention on meeting the educational needs of children than on mentoring. This dynamic may have positive academic outcomes that are not the sole focus of the approach. In the end, both approaches seek to intervene early in the child’s life; continue to intervene throughout adolescence; give him extra time in school and extra support outside of school; involve his parents if possible but be prepared to compensate for their absence; focus on improving his cognitive skills but also nurture his noncognitive, social, and emotional skills.16 These common goals seem to lead to transformation. Rhodes: Long Term Youth Mentoring Relationships Mentoring programs for at-risk youth come in many different forms and sizes. Some programs focus on one-to-one mentoring, while others focus on school-based, group, vocational, and even e-mentoring. Regardless of the type of mentoring being done, Jean Rhodes, a prominent researcher in the field of mentoring, strongly contends that “vulnerable children would be better left alone than paired with mentors who do not recognize and honor the enormous responsibility they have been given.”17 Rhodes advocates for mentoring programs to ensure high standards for mentoring recruitment, training, support, and supervision by placing the quality of matches over the quantity of matches. With so much money available to mentoring programs, the temptation is for program directors to put quantity over quality. Mentoring matches that end prematurely 16 Ibid., 282. 17 Jean Rhodes, Stand By Me: The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today’s Youth (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), 3. 25
  • can really harm young people while long-term, consistent mentoring matches “can serve as a pathway out of the poverty that often extends across generations.”18 The emphasis on research and quality are definite strengths to Rhodes’ approach to impacting at-risk youth through mentoring. Mentoring is a field filled with anecdotal evidence, but little research-based evidence. In other words, policymakers can often tell if a child is being helped or hurt from mentoring relationships based on stories, yet, with good research now available on mentoring programs, there is no longer any good excuse for any child to be matched in a harmful mentoring relationship. A weakness of this approach is that Rhodes tends to downplay the significance of both faith-based and school-based mentoring as effective approaches to transforming the lives of at-risk youth. Good data is helpful to assure high quality relationships, but much of the magic of mentoring remains difficult to quantify. Even Rhodes admits, “There will always be some degree of mystery in determining what makes two people click.”19 Transformation in the lives of mentors and mentees often happens at the heart, or spiritual level. Many of the high expectations of faith-based mentoring matches are based upon Rhodes’ work on increasing excellence in the field of mentoring, so the faith-based mentoring approach to transforming the lives of at-risk youth compares greatly with hers. The approaches differ, however, in that Rhodes emphasizes community-based mentoring while the other fuses community-based, school-based, and faith-based approaches together in a comprehensive mentoring effort. 18 Ibid., 127. 19 Ibid., 104. 26
  • In Stand By Me, Rhodes leaves the door open for the future fusion of the various mentoring models as long as the standards for the programs are high. She points out that although there are constraints to school-based and career-focused mentoring, These constraints, although considerable, should not discourage what could be a promising response to the infrastructure problems facing community-based programs. A challenge will be to determine how to meld the flexibility, intensity, and enduring nature of successful community-based approaches with the structure and support of school-based approaches.”20 Osgood, Foster, Flanagan, and Ruth: The Transition to Adulthood American society places a great deal of emphasis on meeting the needs of high performing young people who attend college and generally make successful transitions to economic opportunities. Society, however, often overlooks and under resources the population of young people who struggle to successfully make the transition to adulthood. The authors of On Your Own without a Net suggest that American society needs to be more proactive when it comes to supporting the large percentage of young people that struggle to make the transition to adulthood. They note, The critical step is creating public will. Thus, the starting point for any reform is changing the public’s awareness and image of the population. The public and policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels must conclude that society has an interest in helping, and an obligation to help, these youth through the transition to successful adulthood.21 This approach seeks to develop a comprehensive system for intervening in the lives of at- risk youth, similar to the safety nets that have been developed over the past couple of decades for children between birth and five years old. 20 Ibid., 113. 21 D. Wayne Osgood, On Your Own Without a Net: The Transition to Adulthood for Vulnerable Populations (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), x. 27
  • Many people and agencies have developed many policies for adolescents and young adults in society, yet as Osgood finds, “Unfortunately, all of the authors find that current policies often impede, rather than facilitate, the transition processes for these youth.”22 This concept comes down to the idea of the process of transformation versus the transaction of services in reaching struggling youth. Just because programs are in place to reach at-risk youth does not mean that the services lead to a process of transformation. One of the strengths of the authors’ recommendations is the advocacy for including young people in the decision-making process when it comes to designing policies. “With more thoughtful policy we have the potential of gaining not only the economic contributions of these youth as productive workers, but also their contributions to families, friends, and communities as supportive and engaged citizens.”23 Indeed, systemically changing the nature of public policies could be helpful in transforming the lives of at-risk youth; however, a weakness in their approach is the lack of relational and incarnational presence in the lives of troubled youth. Increased awareness on a wide scale is wonderful, so long as that awareness leads to real change and relational involvement as opposed to much debate based upon relatively little interaction with young people. This approach differs from faith-based mentoring in that it is much more focused on policy than on interpersonal relationships as a means of transforming the lives of at- risk youth. Mentoring programs, however, should be based upon sound policies and research in order for the long-term relationships to be more transformational for the mentee and the mentor. 22 Ibid., viii. 23 Ibid., 388. 28
  • The safety net model for policy-making does not involve much of a focus on the spiritual development of high-risk youth. Faith-based mentoring is Christ-centered and focuses on mobilizing churches to make a difference in the lives of young people. Mentoring can be a bridge that links adolescence to young adulthood. The author pays particular attention to the need to impact young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, yet effective faith-based mentors generally maintain their relationships with their mentees far beyond the time the formal mentor-mentee relationship is designed to end (when the mentee turns eighteen). Furstenberg, Cook, Eccles, Elder, and Sameroff: Parenting Family structures play a crucial role in youth development, and the authors of Managing to Make It have researched the impact parents have on transforming the lives of at-risk youth experiencing urban poverty. The researchers have also examined the impact that neighborhood environments play in adolescent development. Based on a study of five hundred families in the inner city of Philadelphia, the authors point out that the “objective of our project is to identify a strategic site – the interface between the family and community – that influences the course of adolescent development for disadvantaged youth.”24 The researchers have determined that “Family management practices can be cultivated to children’s advantage. Parents can become more knowledgeable about the social world in which their children are situated.”25 Still, many high-risk youth struggle because their parents often do not know how to help their children gain access to resources, and “institutions – typically outside 24 Frank Furstenberg et al., Managing to Make It: Urban Families and Adolescent Success (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1999), 7. 25 Ibid., 227. 29
  • impoverished communities – do a generally poor job of connecting to parents.”26 The lives of at-risk youth can potentially be transformed if institutions are able to more effectively connect their resources to the children and their families. Many organizations serving high-risk youth tend to ignore the parents and family structures that play such an integral part in youth development. A strength of this research project is its intentional focus on empowering young people and their parents to gain access to resources so they can build assets and resiliency. The faith-based mentoring research counters the stereotypical idea of lazy parents in the inner city mooching off the government and instead brings to light the great potential that lies in the power of effective family management. The parenting approach tends to be based on strengths instead of deficits; however, a weakness is that although the authors present a lot of valuable data, they could have gone much further in explaining recommendations for how parents and institutions could more effectively bridge the resource divide. Their discussion seems relatively transactional in nature, as if they could simply address the problems of high- risk youth by ensuring that a transaction of resources occurs between families and resources. For example, the authors write, “If the places at the front of the line are always purchased in advance by those with means, then parents with limited economic resources will not have much success in gaining a favorable position for their children, regardless of how hard they try.”27 Transformational leadership is absolutely essential to the process of bridging the gap of resources. Leaders from institutions with access to resources must be willing to be 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid., 231. 30
  • incarnational and enter into the context of people in need. Most parents and families experiencing poverty must deal with isolation as their biggest issue, and transactions do not do much to ease the isolation on a sustainable basis. The parenting approach differs from the faith-based mentoring approach in that parenting deals less with families than with building relationships with at-risk youth. Parents are still an integral part of the faith-based mentoring process because without the support of the parents the quality of the matches goes down. Parents must be supportive of the mentoring, ensuring that the mentees are where they are supposed to be when the mentoring time is scheduled and also encouraging mentees to stay the course with the relationships when matches experience difficulties. An important part of effective mentoring programs rests in the power of mentoring organizations to provide support to parents (such as links to resources) without that responsibility falling on the mentors themselves. When mentors become too caught up in helping parents get out of poverty, they tend to lose focus on the main goals of the match that focuses simply on building a long term relationship with a child. While supportive parents help the process of transforming the lives of at-risk youth, mentoring is not necessarily a field that focuses on parental intervention. Dortch and Fine: One-to-One and Group Mentoring One can see there is a wide variety of mentoring approaches that can impact the lives of children. The Miracles of Mentoring uses The 100 Black Men of America, Inc. to demonstrate how an organization can use the one-to-one and group mentoring approaches to reach hundreds of thousands of high-risk youth. 31
  • The book provides an extensive overview of the organization’s work, and it covers such replicable topics as understanding the do’s and don’ts of successful mentoring; building the mentoring relationship; choosing a mentoring program that is right for you; developing programs for young people in schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces; and partnering with businesses, corporations, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations to expand the mentoring experience.28 For a long time the only focus of The 100 Black Men was one-to-one community-based mentoring, but they expanded to offer group mentoring in an effort to reach more children. The author’s presentation of this effort is as inspirational as it is important for mentoring practitioners to understand. A strength of this mentoring approach rests its practicality. Businessmen and community leaders across many segments of society should be able to step easily into this type of mentoring to begin the process of impacting the lives of at-risk youth. Even though these mentoring principles are transferable, the author is quick to point out that mentoring is not simple. “Mentoring is an art. The relationship grows and matures, and you and your mentee grow with it. As you journey forward, you’ll need to call on different abilities, and hone your understanding and your skills.”29 A weakness is that organizations can at times dilute mentoring standards in order to utilize mentoring to reach a larger number of high-risk youth. It is great that the author has big goals to reach many children, but sometimes activities such as group mentoring or career-focused mentoring are not as transformational for mentees as long term, one-to- one relationships. 28 Thomas Dortch, Jr., The Miracles of Mentoring: How to Encourage and Lead Future Generations (New York: Broadway Books, 2000), 14. 29 Ibid., 177. 32
  • Also, the author suggests that mentoring “is open to everyone, and people from all walks of life participate in hundreds of diverse and interesting mentoring programs throughout the country.”30 Effective mentors are called to be mentors, but neither is everyone called nor can very person serve as a mentor. There are many adults who should not be mentoring children because they will either quit the match early or destroy matches by being overly prescriptive while interacting with their mentees. It is important for mentoring programs to have high standards and not just let anybody become a mentor. This approach differs from faith-based mentoring in that Dortch and Fine do not explicitly focus on faith-based mentoring. Another difference is that it includes group mentoring. While group mentoring can be effective when the matches are organized in a one-to-one fashion, there are several examples in Pittsburgh where group mentoring has proven to be ineffective. Dortch and Fine also focus on making matches within the same race, specifically matching African American mentors with African American mentees. While both mentors and mentees have much to offer one another when children are matched with mentors of the same race, there can be an advantage to cross-cultural and cross-racial mentoring, not the least of which is such matches can be very effective. The Dortch and Fine mentoring approach and the faith-based mentoring approach are similar in that they focus on impacting and casting new vision for the next generation of young people. Dortch offers that mentoring “is about the future. It is about changing the world by opening it up for young people. Help a child to dream and to believe in his or her dream, and you help create hope in place of fear, self-esteem in place of doubt, 30 Ibid., 5. 33
  • ambition in place of powerlessness.”31 Indeed, both models have much to offer in informing the other. Rodriguez: Activism and Community Building Luis Rodriguez argues passionately that when it comes to transforming the lives of at-risk youth, culture must move past solutions that do not work to focus on dialoguing around innovate solutions to youth violence and gang-related activity. “To consider truly innovative responses in meeting the needs of young people, we must start with real assessments of what their situations consist of – away from the political spin doctors, sensationalist headlines, and generational fear mongering going on today about children and youth.”32 Rodriguez’s approach focuses on empowering young people and encouraging them to work together to improve the lives of the young people who are struggling. His approach is multigenerational and comprehensive because “we must reorient our thinking on how young and old are joined in the political and social matrix of the land – where the people are fully activated and their dreams, aspirations, and strivings are central to what makes up community.”33 Rodriguez suggests that people should do much more than meet needs of high-risk youth, but that leaders need to engage the entire community in the process of changing violent youth culture. Rodriguez has earned his credibility from many years of working at the street level with troubled young people in Los Angeles and Chicago. One of the strengths of his 31 Ibid., 7-8. 32 Luis Rodriguez, Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001), 17. 33 Ibid., 18. 34
  • work resides is its visionary, comprehensive, advocacy-based design; as well, the multigenerational approach is crucial to the development of young people. Children are able to band together to make the world a better place, but they need adults to come alongside them to implement the change across a broader span of the culture. Rodriguez also moves the discussion past the inner city and into mainstream society. A weakness of his approach is that it deemphasizes the traditional approaches to transforming the lives of at-risk youth that have proven to be successful over time. While far too many young people have been incarcerated in ineffective youth detention systems or completed ineffective community service programs, institutions such as schools serving high-risk youth still play a critical role in their development. Reform is definitely necessary in institutions, but the institutions should not be abandoned. Rodriguez’s approach differs from the faith-based mentoring model in that activism and community building focus is much more comprehensive, where faith-based mentoring relationships focus on impacting one child at a time. As well, Rodriguez seems to be a very spiritual man (he points out the need to connect with young people at a spiritual level) and although he mentions Jesus’ teachings as helpful tools for reaching kids, he also mentions a wide variety of other spiritual paths. Most of the transformation in the lives of high-risk youth is not merely spiritual, it is Christ-centered. The approaches do share a passion to reach every single struggling child. Rodriguez says it this way: “The social erosion stops at our door. To build from there, we’re going to need a different ethos in this country. Not ‘kill or be killed,’ which some youth take literally, but one that values and nurtures every child. One that teaches us to work for the decent survival of all, for therein lies our best chance for survival.”34 34 Ibid., 322. 35
  • Payne: Poverty and Classes Dr. Ruby Payne consults in the education field to help educators understand how to reach children living in poverty. Her approach involves training adults who directly impact children to understand the general traits associated with poverty. Her practices suggest that once adults have a proper understanding of the root causes of behaviors associated with poverty they can plan ways to appropriately respond to the unique needs for which they previously may not have had a proper framework. Essentially, Payne seeks to transform the lives of at-risk youth by helping youth work practitioners, most of whom come from a middle-class background, to be able to understand poverty. She asserts that at-risk youth are capable of making choices that can lead to success in life, but “it is the responsibility of educators and others who work with the poor to teach the differences and skills/rules that will allow the individual to make the choice. As it stands now for many of the poor, the choice never exists.”35 Since many adults working with high-risk youth come from a middle class background, a strength of this approach is that it equips practitioners practically to interact effectively with children across all socio-economic classes. Her framework is very user-friendly, so it has a broad appeal that may lead to quick results. One of the weaknesses of Ruby Payne’s approach is its focus on deficits, namely poverty, instead of assets. One of Payne’s biggest critics, education consultant Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, points out that instead of poverty or the educational level of the mother being the key indicators of why schools are failing children living in poverty, the “usual culprits are as follows: poor school leadership, low teacher expectations, low student time 35 Ruby Payne, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, (Highlands, TX: aha! Process, Inc., 2003), 148. 36
  • on task, irrelevant curriculums, an abundance of left-brain lesson plans, an individualistic vs. communal student approach, and coed classrooms.”36 Payne’s theory appears to be based more on her own experiences as a middle-class educator than on research that has been done on best practices that lead to transformation in the lives of at-risk children. A deficit-based approach to poverty can only yield limited long-term results. Payne’s approach is similar to the faith-based model in that faith-based mentoring mobilizes many adults to interact cross-culturally with high-risk youth who often come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. The techniques for impacting children across classes can be very helpful in equipping mentors. Cultural proficiency training is a crucial component of mentor training; however, the approaches differ in that mentors are encouraged to focus more on building assets in Payne’s model than on understanding deficits, as it is in the faith-based model. When mentors focus too much on needs and deficits, which can be plentiful with at-risk youth, the desire for mentors to overcompensate or focus too much on fixing the circumstances of the mentees tend to sabotage mentor-mentee matches. Solutions that transform the lives of high-risk youth should take needs into consideration but should also be built upon developing assets in young people. Eldredge: A Crisis of Masculinity Christian counselor, author, and speaker John Eldredge suggests that a crisis of masculinity in modern culture has led to a wide variety of problems in society. He suggests that most outward signs of trouble can be traced back to heart issues, so solutions to life’s problems involve allowing God to heal broken hearts that have been 36 Jawanza Kunjufu, An African Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory (Chicago: African American Images, 2006), ix. 37
  • wounded over time. In The Way of the Wild Heart, Eldredge provides an initiation- focused framework that can impact the lives of at-risk youth when parents, youth workers, and mentors intentionally move young men through the stages of a masculine journey. Initiations help people to reframe their lives. According to Eldredge, the “reframing begins when we see that a man’s life is a process of initiation into true masculinity. It is a series of stages we soak in and progress through. And as for God, I believe that what he is primarily up to at any point in a boy’s or a man’s life is initiating him.”37 In this approach, men experience initiation through several stages of masculinity: “Boyhood to Cowboy to Warrior to Lover to King to Sage.”38 Caring adults carefully guide at-risk youth through the Boyhood, Cowboy, and Warrior stages by serving as bridge-builders to the adult stages of Lover, King, and Sage. A strength of Eldredge’s approach lies in its focus on intentionally healing deep wounds by guiding young people through the life stages. Many approaches for transforming the lives of at-risk youth focus on treating symptoms associated with destructive behavior as opposed to treating the root causes of outward behavior. Entire institutions and systems have been built in the United States to address problems with young people once crimes or destructive behaviors have been committed, but few institutions have been set up to intervene in the lives of troubled youth proactively. One weakness to Eldredge’s approach is that at times he has a rural bias. He is quick to point out that God is found in nature and that much of the initiation involving young men should happen in the context of nature. While it can be very helpful to connect with God in nature, it is also very possible to be initiated into the masculine 37 John Eldredge, The Way of the Wild Heart (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2006), 10. 38 Ibid., 11. 38
  • journey in the midst of complex urban environments. Healthy people can generally learn how to successfully navigate through life, whether that navigation occurs in either an urban or a rural environment. Eldredge’s approach to transforming the lives of at-risk youth is comparable to the faith-based approach in that both approaches emphasize spiritual development as a crucial component to human development. Eldredge points out, “All masculine initiation is ultimately spiritual. The tests and challenges, the joys and adventures are all designed to awaken a man’s soul, draw him into contact with the masculine in himself, in other men, in the world, and in God, as Father.”39 In this regard, faith-based mentors are very well suited to help high-risk youth navigate through the various stages of the masculine journey. The faith-based mentoring matches that lead to transformation are much more structured and supervised than the informal mentoring relationships Eldredge emphasizes. When it comes to intentional initiation, some components may be transferable to formal mentoring relationships while other components might lead to the relationship becoming prescriptive and therefore harmful to the relationship. Olsen: Institutional and Systemic Reform Successful development can be extremely difficult for young people. In Youth at Risk, author Peter Christian Olsen points out that all adolescents are at risk regardless of their behavior or life circumstances: Being at risk is a condition common to all adolescents. They are born that way. Each one of them is dependent on the society in which they grow up to provide for their needs; when that society, that culture, those parents, those schools, those 39 Ibid., 287. 39
  • communities upon which they depend fail them, they face the consequence of becoming at risk.40 Olsen’s approach to transforming the lives of at-risk youth focuses more on changing the institutions that impact young people in society than focusing on fixing the young people themselves through counseling and additional personal interventions. One of the main institutions Olsen challenges is the Church: “No more significant task confronts serious Christians and the communities to which they belong than that of ministry with teenagers. They must be willing to take responsibility.”41 It is true that ineffective institutions play a huge role in the path to destructive behavior for teenagers, so this part of this model’s strength comes from its focus on systemic change for transforming the lives of high-risk youth. If society can reform broken institutions, the efforts will go a long way to increase the levels of shalom in cities and in the lives of adolescents. If leaders always focus on meeting the needs of struggling kids, people may miss out on ways to relieve the pain of hundreds or thousands of children. Another strength of this approach resides in its focus on God’s unwavering and relentless pursuit of all of his people: Our God is a God of lost causes. God seems to thrive and show the most compassion when resolving our blunders, undoing our mistakes, or fixing the messed-up situations into which we get ourselves. Jesus relates countless stories and parables in which God is constantly bailing us out, rescuing us, or retrieving us when we are lost. To God, every individual is worthy, each person is important.42 An argument can be made that all youth are at risk; however, a weakness of this approach is that it does not focus enough on contextualization and building unique assets in 40 Peter Olsen, Youth at Risk: Ministry to the Least, the Lost, and the Last (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2003), ix. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid., 2. 40
  • specific subgroups of troubled young people. There are people who have used the excuse that all teenagers are at risk to abdicate their responsibility to care for the poor and to act justly for the transformation of children who are really struggling in life due to their circumstances. Indeed, there is a danger in making a blanket statement about all young people. The faith-based mentoring approach to transforming the lives of at-risk youth involves Christians who intentionally build relationships with young people regardless of the outcomes or changes in adolescent behavior. The faith-based approach is favorably comparable to Olsen’s in that both agree the church should be building community with high-risk youth who may exhibit inappropriate behavior. Again turning to Olsen, “Exclusion from community cannot be a consequence of failure. The message we need to send to teenagers is that if we are going to encourage them to try new things, take on responsibilities, attempt new experiences, stretch their potential, they must be assured that they can fail in these ventures without rejection.”43 God is always on mission to redeem the world. If Christians are to live into that mission, it will be important for followers of Jesus to be able to build effective relationships with high-risk youth. If people intentionally reject troubled teenagers, then the followers of Jesus will be far from living out that mission. Ruthruff: Listening and Learning If adults want to be able to have a greater impact on at-risk youth, it is important for those adults to be able to listen and learn from vulnerable kids when engaging the process of intervening in the lives of at-risk youth. In The Least of These, Ron Ruthruff 43 Ibid., 21. 41
  • challenges the prescriptive methods that the church often utilizes when attempting to reach troubled kids. He offers, “Imagine a community of faith that listens and learns from each other. Imagine a missiology that revolves around listening and learning as much as teaching and speaking. What would it mean if we listened and learned as we served the widow, orphan, and stranger?”44 Ruthruff answers that question by pointing out that all vulnerable children have a recoverable treasure within them regardless of the painful situations they may experience on the streets or in dysfunctional homes. According to Ruthruff, youth practitioners participate in “an effort to find that treasure. Not only treasure that is buried with the kids whose lives have been hidden behind the rough exterior necessary for street survival. I hold strongly to the belief that kids on the street see God in amazing ways simply because God is close to those who suffer.”45 Relationships with at-risk youth are absolutely critical to their process of transformation. With many years of experience in serving street-involved youth, Ruthruff notes, “The kids have taught me that any strategy to deliver services to them must be highly relational. Programs don’t save kids; relationships, connection, and community do.”46 A main strength of Ruthruff’s approach for transforming the lives of at-risk youth lies in its bottom-up, incarnational, and relational emphasis as opposed to the top-down, prescriptive approach that many programs take in their attempts to reach troubled youth. Any youth development model that emphasizes relationships first has figured out the key that most often leads to transformation. The bottom-up method is very effective: 44 Ron Ruthruff, The Least of These: Lessons Learned from Kids on the Street (Birmingham, AL: New Hope Publishers, 2010), 19. 45 Ibid., 20. 46 Ibid., 46. 42
  • Jesus said, when we have acted toward THE LEAST OF THESE, we have done whatever we have done unto Him. Yet, not because the least are a problem to be solved, but because they reveal the brokenness and the faith found in all of us. They reveal US to ourselves and, in some strange way, they reveal the flesh and blood of Jesus among us – who loves us, heals us, and asks us to bear witness to a good God who wants to tell the world it’s loved.47 It is difficult to find weaknesses in Ruthruff’s approach to at-risk youth because he incorporates a relational approach that is mixed with solid, evidence-based programs that are contextualized to the unique environments that high-risk youth experience. As for the relevance of Ruthruff’s approach to that of the faith-based model, Ruthruff may be the most relevant of the literature review. One weakness of Ruthruff’s approach is that it focuses a great deal on his experiences of interacting with youth who have experienced severe trauma in their homes and while living on the streets. Many educators and youth ministry practitioners working with children may not be experiencing as high level of risk as the children with whom they work. As such, they may not be able to resonate with this model. This approach reflects the faith-based approach in that it is highly relational, developmental, and incarnational. Too many programs in America aimed at impacting high-risk youth focus on fixing kids through cold systems or institutions instead of really getting to know the kids relationally and then designing programming around those relationships. Faith-based mentoring is a great way to impact kids through meaningful, long term relationships that focus on listening and learning. The two approaches differ in that Ruthruff’s model also includes more prescriptive methods built on years of experience in working at a drop-in center for street-involved youth. His approach moves beyond the intentional mentoring 47 Ibid., 196. 43
  • relationships to lead children to appropriate case management and counseling strategies that provide a safety net for kids. Miller and Sowers: Fatherlessness Several initiatives are underway in America to address the issue of fatherlessness. The leaders of these initiatives point out that dysfunctional family situations generate many of the problems facing at-risk youth, and they add that the lives of troubled youth can be transformed by addressing the specific issues related to fathers who abdicate their role in society by being either physically detached or emotionally disengaged. In his book To Own a Dragon author Donald Miller takes up the cause of demonstrating how Christians can make a difference in the issue of fatherlessness. Miller is a strong advocate for Christian men stepping up to become mentors to the next generation of young people who are experiencing an explosion of fatherlessness that transcends class, race, or any other cultural identifiers. With regard to the need for mentoring, Miller notes, “People assume when you’re swimming in a river you are supposed to know which way you are going, and I guess some of the time that is true, but there are certain currents that are very strong, and it’s when we are in those currents we need somebody to come along, pull us out, and guide us in a safer direction.”48 Miller also emphasizes the importance of God intervening in the lives of fatherless young people if they themselves are to become spiritual fathers. “Even though some of us grow up without biological fathers, none of us grows up without our actual Father. That is, if we have skin, if we have a heart that is beating, and if we can touch and 48 Donald Miller and John MacMurray, To Own a Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006), 27. 44
  • feel; we can know that God has decided it would be so, because He wanted to include us in the story.49 Addressing the wide-reaching narrative of fatherlessness in the world is one of the strengths of Miller’s approach to transforming the lives of at-risk youth. Breakdowns in the family structure often lead to a great deal of brokenness, so Christians can make a significant difference in the world by restoring families and allowing God to minister to people in the place of their father wounds. A weakness of this approach is that sometimes well-meaning Christians tend to elevate the significance of family restoration at the expense of neglecting structures in society that may be able to impact the transformation of the lives of fatherless young people. For example, children definitely need healthy families to be successful in their developmental journey; however, they may also need effective schools and other institutions or systems along the way. Addressing the issue of fatherlessness should be a part of a more comprehensive approach to working with young people. The faith-based mentoring approach is comparable to this model in that it emphasizes God’s ability to definitely work through ordinary followers of Jesus to make a tremendous difference in the lives of fatherless young people through the intentional building of consistent, long term mentoring relationships where seeds are planted and watered over time. The emphasis on faith-based mentoring is a critical path to making a difference in the lives of high-risk youth. Faith-based mentoring differs from this approach as it focuses on mentoring young people. The model also works with fathers in order to be able to equip and empower them to become the men of God he created them to be. John Sowers, one of 49 Ibid., 62. 45
  • Miller’s colleagues from the national faith-based mentoring organization The Mentoring Project writes that it is important to focus on the issue of fatherlessness because “Fathers project images of trust and security that inspire faith. Or they project bleak, dark images of rejection, isolation, and abandonment.”50 No doubt great things can come from initiatives aimed at addressing the issue of fatherlessness, and it is exciting to think about the possibilities faith-based mentoring can offer as it approaches impacting the lives of fatherless youth in America and around the world. Anderson: Sociology of Youth Violence Inner city violence is a huge issue facing just about every city in the United States. Too many high-risk youth are involved in homicides and other forms of violent behavior in struggling urban environments. In Code of the Streets, sociologist Elijah Anderson investigates “why it is that so many inner-city young people are inclined to commit aggression and violence toward one another.”51 Taking an ethnographic approach to his research, Anderson details the social and cultural dynamics that shapes the daily lives of people living in urban poverty. His research offers an ethnographic representation of the code of the street, and its relationship to violence in a trying socioeconomic context in which family-sustaining jobs have become ever more scarce, public assistance has increasingly disappeared, racial discrimination is a fact of daily life, wider institutions have less legitimacy, legal codes are often ignored or not trusted, and frustration has been powerfully building for many residents.52 50 John Sowers, Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 75. 51 Elijah Anderson, Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999), 9. 52 Ibid., 11. 46
  • Anderson suggests that practitioners who work with at-risk youth must first be able to understand the code of the streets before attempting to design programming that might lead to transformation. Without an understanding of the root, sociological causes of youth violence, youth workers will be ineffective at coming up with solutions that are born out of mainstream society. One strength of Anderson’s approach lies in its examination of grass roots, street level problems that can lead to solutions that will also work from the bottom up. This model focuses on dealing with the issue of isolation that plagues so many people living in poor, urban neighborhoods. “The hard reality of the world of the street can be traced to the profound sense of alienation from mainstream society and its institutions felt by many poor inner-city black people, particularly the young.”53 A weakness of this approach is that it focuses on needs instead of assets, focusing on addressing negative issues as opposed to building up assets in inner city communities. While it is important to study problems associated with youth violence, it is equally important to study solutions that are built upon empowerment and sustainability. This approach differs from faith-based mentoring in that the author spends a great deal of energy emphasizing the reformation of mainstream economic and political systems as a means of transforming the lives of at-risk youth who may be prone to violent behavior. Anderson posits that in “dealing with these problems, society needs to take on a number of initiatives – above all, the development of jobs that pay a living wage. We also need political leadership that articulates the problem and presses hard to build coalitions that invest themselves in efforts to secure full inner-city enfranchisement.”54 The faith- 53 Ibid., 34. 54 Ibid., 324. 47
  • based mentoring approach may lead to some positive outcomes with regard to casting vision for young people in the areas of economic or political empowerment. The main focus of mentoring, however, continues to emphasize relationships more than programs. Mentoring focuses more on empowering individuals relationally over a long period of time than reforming dysfunctional institutions that may be failing to meet the needs of young people growing up in urban poverty. 48
  • CHAPTER 3. THE CONTEXT OF MINISTRY Introduction My first full-time job as a young man just out of college was serving as a public school teacher and coach at a small town in central California. About 80 percent of the students were Hispanic, and most of the people in the town worked very hard in either the agricultural industry or at the maximum security state prison that housed seven thousand inmates. The town experienced problems with youth gangs and violence because of such factors as overwhelming poverty, a transient population, and high unemployment. I really loved what I considered to be my first real job. The best part of working as an educator was building relationships with kids, and I was pretty effective at reaching some of the toughest kids who tended to get into a lot of trouble. As a brand new, untenured teacher, I was asked to coach just about every sport at every age level in the school district. That unique requirement of my job often put me in situations where I needed to learn a lot about new sports that I had not really had much experience in coaching. One of those sports was middle school wrestling. I knew next to nothing about wrestling, but I was coaching it whether I wanted to or not. One of the things I picked up on rather quickly as a brand new middle school wrestling coach was that the students who were most often in trouble in school also happened to be the best wrestlers on the team. That may have been because wrestling is a sport that thrives on channeling aggression. I soon came to realize I had a problem on my hands. The best wrestlers on the team were often unable to participate in after schools practice because they were serving detentions. They were often unable to participate in 51
  • team matches because they had been suspended from school or their grades had dropped to the point where they were ineligible to play. One day I would have a great time coaching a good wrestler who wonderfully behaved himself during practice, and the next day that student would be unable to participate. That situation created a frustrating scenario that still today drives my interest in supporting at-risk youth. It all started when I asked myself the question “Why?” Why do at-risk youth get into trouble, and what can the adults assigned to serve them do to help them? My initial interest in transforming the lives of high-risk youth was admittedly selfish. I wanted to intervene in the lives of tough kids so that I could have better sports teams. I am glad for that initial interest, though, because eventually my focus shifted from myself to the kids. I began a life long journey to reach kids that mainstream society often marginalizes and dismisses. Originally, my research efforts focused on impacting the lives of high-risk youth through public education reform. The research I did for my master of arts degree in education administration from Fresno State University examined how school districts could proactively intervene in the lives of troubled youth before destructive behavior patterns occurred. Through the research I was doing in the field of education, I stumbled upon the concept of mentoring as a means of reaching difficult students. At the time, I was also involved in church leadership as an elder and youth leader, so I became intrigued with the idea of churches partnering with schools in order to provide mentors for at-risk young people. That interest in youth mentoring and faith- based partnerships combined with my desire to be a facilitator of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth eventually led to my involvement in launching a faith-based 52
  • mentoring initiative in Pittsburgh when I moved there from California. With an eye on the best interests of kids who struggle in their development, this dissertation serves as a deep dive into how institutions such as schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations can be effective in their missions to reach all children. Historical Background Most cultures throughout the course of human history have developed practices and standards for raising healthy children. Due to the nature of sin in this world, many children become troubled. High-risk youth struggle for a wide variety of reasons, especially in the United States, where we have “the highest incarceration rate of teens in the world.”1 Youth development has been researched extensively over the past one hundred years, and many new social, psychological, and educational models have emerged as a result. Still, “while many youth manage to navigate through adolescence relatively unscathed, others are deeply wounded by their experiences.”2 From inner cities to affluent suburban areas, “the rage, vengeance, and nihilism of many contemporary youth is a testament to lives without spiritual purpose.”3 In the city of Pittsburgh, there are many at-risk children. One of the ways to measure high-risk adolescent behavior is to track gang involvement. Moriah Balingit has written, “About 40 gangs haunt Pittsburgh’s streets, with their 875 members involved in myriad crimes, from graffiti to armed robberies to homicides. Pittsburgh Police have been dealing with gangs for decades, with gang activity peaking in the ‘90s.”4 Gang 1 Larson and Brendtro, 4. 2 Ibid., 8. 3 Ibid. 4 Moriah Balingit, “Gangs To Face ‘Smarter’” Police,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 19, 2008. 53
  • involvement is especially prevalent in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh where I live and coordinate the LAMP mentoring program. Homewood’s gangs include “the Dallas/Inwood Crips-Dallas Boyz, Hilltop Boyz, Homewood Crips, Kelly Street Crips-Kelly O’s, and Race Street Crips.”5 Every year young men from Homewood die violently due to high-risk behaviors such as robbery or drug dealing. Jill King Greenwood notes, Gang members here typically are black males ages 17 to 25, most with criminal records involving drug and firearm offenses. Of an estimated 875 gang members in Pittsburgh, 45 percent are younger than 18. The youngest identified gang member is a 12-year-old Homewood boy… Neighborhoods with the most gangs are in the city’s East End, including Homewood, Garfield and Lincoln- Lemington.6 God wants to reclaim the wayward youth in these neighborhood, and he is calling local churches in Pittsburgh to respond to the many needs of the young people in Homewood. Faith-based mentoring may be able to transform the lives of at-risk youth by building a broad range of assets in troubled youth. Mentoring has occurred throughout the course of human history. Conn and Ortiz observe that mentoring “is certainly not a new approach to training. It has clear roots in the Old and New Testaments.”7 DuBois and Karcher add that the main concept of mentoring youth can be traced back nearly three millennia to its namesake character, ‘Mentor,’ in Homer’s Odyssey. Despite this extensive history, its remarkable surge in popularity during the past decade is clearly unprecedented. More than 4,500 agencies and programs in the United States now provide mentoring services for youth.8 5 Ibid. 6 Jill King Greenwood, “Gangs Stoke Tension On Web,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 19, 2008. 7 Harvey Conn and Manuel Ortiz, Urban Ministry: The Kingdom, the City & the People of God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 430. 8 DuBois and Karcher, 2. 54
  • Mentoring programs have facilitated positive development in young people when those programs are run effectively. Certainly, schools and other institutions turn to mentoring as a way to reach children who might otherwise slip through cracks in the system. Many schools in particular have seen some amazing results as a result of starting mentoring programs. Rhodes, Grossman, and Resch posit that mentoring “has a positive impact on grades and other academic indicators by improving the relationship between the youth and the parent and by boosting the youth’s perception of his or her academic abilities.”9 Mentoring can make a profound difference in the lives of young people who may be in desperate need of a caring adult to spend time with them. Linda Jucovy has found that evaluations of mentoring programs have shown that a youth’s one-to-one relationship with a supportive adult can lead to a number of positive outcomes. These include improved academic achievement, a stronger sense of self-worth, improved relationships with parents, and decreased drug and alcohol use. These benefits of mentoring emerge for youth who are in relationships that have been able to develop and endure.10 Good mentoring is all about consistency and commitment over a long period of time. Just as good mentoring matches can make a significant positive difference in the lives of children, ineffective mentoring matches can really harm young people at crucial stages in their life development. Mentoring relationships that do not last very long, sometimes only a matter of months, can have a negative effect on high-risk youth. Relationships fail for a wide variety of reasons. Jucovy asks and answers questions related to these failures: 9 Jean Rhodes, Jean Grossman, and Nancy Resch, “Agents of Change: Pathways through Which Mentoring Relationships Influence Adolescents’ Academic Adjustment,” Child Development 71 (November/December, 2000), 6. 10 Linda Jucovy, Measuring the Quality of Mentor-Youth Relationships: A Tool for Mentoring Programs (Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2002), 1. 55
  • Why do so many relationships fail? In some cases, the reasons are outside a program’s or mentor’s control – for example, the youth might move to a different community. But in many cases, failed matches are a result of weak program infrastructure – programs might not provide adequate screening, thoughtful matching, and necessary training.11 It is crucial for mentoring programs to set high standards and have ongoing support if the matches they make will be successful over time. Worldview My worldview has been built from a white, male, middle class, American, Western, Christian perspective. Most of the LAMP mentees have a different worldview. The LAMP mentees from Homewood view the world from the perspective of an African American youth growing up in urban poverty. Worldviews are not right or wrong; they are just different. Mentoring constantly causes me to shift my worldview paradigm. God has given everyone a Story to live in, and people “need to learn how to apply ourselves to the Story rather than the other way around; applying the Bible to our worldview.”12 With that thought in consideration, I must be careful that I do not try to change or transform the lives of at-risk youth according to my limited worldview. People tend to think that their own worldview is normative and that others should adjust to what the individual believes. This is also a big problem for mentors. Mentors have to be careful they won’t try to make their mentees become what mentors want them to be. God has made mentees to become what he wants them to be within the context of his Story, and the purpose may have nothing to do with a white, middle class, American worldview. 11 Ibid. 12 Winn Griffin, God’s Epic Adventure: Changing Our Culture by the Story We Live in and Tell (Woodinville, WA: Harmon Press, 2007), 24. 56
  • Statistics There is a huge need for mentoring in the United States. Nearly eighteen million young Americans need or want mentoring, but only three million are in formal, high quality mentoring relationships. More than fifteen million young people still need mentors.13 Although mentoring is on the rise in America, unfortunately so is the number of children who become at-risk. Mentors are definitely needed in the Pittsburgh area, particularly in the Homewood neighborhood. The seven-county metropolitan Pittsburgh area has 2,354,957 residents, while the estimated population in the city limits in 2009 was 305,704.14 Homewood is one of over seventy neighborhoods within the Pittsburgh city limits. “The Homewood neighborhood of the city of Pittsburgh has 9,162 residents and 3,230 children. There are 634 students who attend the Pittsburgh Faison K-8 schools in Homewood, and 98.42 percent of the students are African-American.15 Crime in Homewood is two times the city rate. One of four teen girls in Homewood is pregnant. In the last ten years Homewood has had the largest number of homicides in Pittsburgh. Approximately 72 percent of Homewood children live in single parent homes. Homewood has over seventy-five health care, educational, and community services and organizations.”16 13 MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, “The Value of Mentoring,” http://www.mentoring.org/about_mentor/value_of_mentoring/ (accessed December 30, 2010). 14 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Pittsburgh Region’s Population Loss Slows Slightly in Ten Years,” http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11069/1130976-455.stm (accessed December 9, 2011). 15 Pittsburgh Public Schools, “Pittsburgh Faison PreK-8.” http://www.pps.k12.pa.us/144920101823046830/site/default.asp (accessed August 27, 2011) 16 Homewood Children’s Village, “One Square Mile,” http://homewoodchildrensvillage.org/press/videogallery/ (accessed December 30, 2010). 57
  • There is also a huge need for mentoring globally, beyond the United States. Many countries experience extreme poverty that often leads to children who become at-risk for many destructive behaviors. As part of this dissertation, the LAMP faith-based mentoring model may be implemented in the country of Honduras. “Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.”17 In Honduras, “21 percent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day.”18 Major Stakeholders The Pittsburgh Public Schools holds a significant stake in this dissertation. Errika Jones, an administrator at the Pittsburgh Board of Education, founded LAMP in 2004 and remains involved at a visionary level. The school principals and staff members in Homewood also have a vested interest in the success of LAMP because mentors can serve as a tremendous proactive resource with regard to intervening in the lives of troubled youth at an early age. As with any partnership, the school district would like to benefit from the partnership and see good results. Good partnership may seem obvious, but many outside groups have approached the Homewood schools over the past six years about partnering to help students. Sadly, many of those well-intentioned projects were short lived due to a lack of planning, implementation, or commitment from one school year to the next. North Way Christian Community is another major stakeholder. Dr. Jay Passavant is the founding pastor of North Way Christian Community, a multi-site church with about 17 Orphan Helpers, “Honduras,” http://orphanhelpers.org/WhereWeWork/Honduras/ (accessed August 9, 2011). 18 Buckner International, “Honduras,” http://www.buckner.org/locations/lamerica-honduras.shtml (accessed August 9, 2011). 58
  • three thousand members in Pittsburgh. Pastor Jay developed North Way’s LAMP partnership with the Pittsburgh Board of Education in 2006, and he remains engaged in the initiative by raising funds and mobilizing other churches to get involved through the many relationships he has developed with Pittsburgh area pastors over the past thirty years. Two other North Way staff members and members of the LAMP volunteer leadership team are also significant stakeholders. Pastor Scott Stevens is the current lead pastor at North Way, and he is a strong advocate for LAMP. His support is much needed because in his role he is able to steward his influence to mobilize church members to become mentors. Delbert Howze is a member of North Way’s staff providing relational and community-based support in several key aspects of North Way’s LAMP partnership with the schools in Homewood. The LAMP volunteer leadership team members at North Way (Deb Dilliplaine, Mark Zabierek, Raquel Branchik, Arleen Braun, and Kelly Phillips) have helped to develop and grow LAMP in many ways over the past several years. Family Guidance, Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh that provides comprehensive support for LAMP mentoring matches, ranging from recruitment to training to matching and also in ongoing supervision and match closures. The director of their mentoring programs, Joanne Galinowski, should find these findings useful for her management of the LAMP program and also for all of the other faith-based mentoring initiatives in the Pittsburgh area that Family Guidance is involved in leading. Another one of my colleagues Aletha Solomon works with Family Guidance as an onsite, school- based mentoring coordinator at the schools in Homewood. 59
  • Funders in the corporate and foundation community in Pittsburgh are also major stakeholders since people want to support projects that work. Jason de Wolfe is an executive at Chief Oil and Gas, a company in Pittsburgh that provides grant funding for LAMP. Leo Wisnewski and Brennan Gaertner from the White Fields Foundation are stakeholders because they support LAMP in many significant ways in Homewood, especially by supplementing mentoring activities through sports outreach opportunities such as baseball and basketball. There are currently twelve churches in Homewood that are involved in providing LAMP mentors. Dr. John Wallace is a pastor at one of those churches, Bible Center Church, which is a part of a broader network of churches from the Homewood Brushton Community Ministerium. He is the co-founder of the Homewood Children’s Village and also a professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. LAMP goes a long way in supporting the vision of the Homewood Children’s Village and also the function of Homewood churches in reaching the most vulnerable people in their community. My colleague Janet Blair serves as a coordinator for all of the churches in the Homewood Brushton Community Ministerium. These findings should be helpful for her in developing and supporting new mentoring matches from adults attending church in Homewood. The LAMP mentors and mentees in Pittsburgh are stakeholders because the outcomes of this dissertation can go a long way toward improving the quality and length of the mentoring relationships. Although transformation is a process, the findings could facilitate a greater level of development for existing matches and future matches. LAMP has made hundreds of mentoring matches since its inception, and hopefully hundreds or 60
  • even thousands more matches will be made in the years to come. Mentees may be the biggest stakeholders in this dissertation because they are the ones most directly impacted by the transformational aspect of faith-based mentoring. This project also has global stakeholders, particularly in several countries in Central America. Richard Yeargain is the president of the nonprofit organization Orphan Helpers. I am working with Richard to implement LAMP in orphanages and youth detention centers in Honduras and potentially throughout Latin America. Jon and Danielle Snyder are missionaries with Youth With A Mission in El Salvador. I am working with them to implement faith-based mentoring with children living in orphanages and youth detention centers there. Other Current Issues Other current issues related to this project are church and school partnerships, urban and suburban partnerships, cross-cultural relationships, and the impact of incarnational leadership on mentoring program outcomes. Individual Christians or churches working by themselves will have a difficult time making a difference in a complex, urbanizing, and globalizing world. Swanson and Williams note that transforming a city takes more work and resources than we could possibly imagine. Trying to change the city by ourselves, as a single congregation – or even as a unified church in the city – is an expensive exercise in futility. Rather than creating entirely new faith- based entities, why not partner with others in the city who share a common concern for the things we care about?19 There are many dynamics to effective partnerships between churches and schools. 19 Eric Swanson and Sam Williams, To Transform a City: Whole Church Whole Gospel Whole City (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 177-178. 61
  • One of the interesting things about LAMP is that it was initiated and continues to be led by a public school district, but it only works when churches are willing to embrace a common mission of reaching high-risk youth that may be outside of their traditional church vision. LAMP schools are usually schools that are struggling to educate their student population, and they take significant risks when they open their doors to local churches in order to be supported in reaching their most vulnerable students. The mentors that come from churches have a responsibility to be bridge builders and supporters of the education process. Often Christians in America tend to be first in line at tearing down public education in the court of public opinion, sometimes withdrawing from the issue by homeschooling their children or sending them to Christian schools. Often public schools have pushed away the support of local churches because of past failed partnership attempts or fears that the volunteers the churches may send will be overbearing, judgmental, or use the platform with the students to proselytize. Despite the obstacles, church and school partnerships still represent a powerful way for educators to be able to fulfill their mission to educate children more effectively and these partnerships are a great strategy for Christians to be able to positively impact the people living in their community in a meaningful way. Urban and suburban partnerships can be complex, but the outcomes can be mutually beneficial. Cities are often set up in such a way that suburban and urban people do not regularly interact with one another; therefore, intentionality is required from folks who are interested in developing these types of partnerships. LAMP partners urban and suburban people and institutions. 62
  • One of the most unique aspects of LAMP is that it partners suburban Christians directly with urban children in significant long term relationships. Most urban and suburban church partnerships are set up in such a way that the suburban churches partner with urban churches in providing resources such as financial support or donated items, and then the urban churches provide the hands on relational support to the people being served in the city. The model is usually done out of convenience because the cultural barriers are perceived to be too great for the suburban Christians to be able to overcome. Urban churches welcome the resources that can be used to accomplish their mission, and suburban churches are relieved of the awkwardness that sometimes comes with entering into unfamiliar urban territory. The Christians involved in these types of partnerships may experience only limited transformation, though, because the process of growing and stretching happens through a much more relational, hands-on process. In order to ensure the success of LAMP mentors, cultural training is part of the mentoring all mentors receive. The cultural training equips suburban mentors to be better able to develop effective relationships with urban mentees and with the adults in the urban context such as the mentors from urban churches and the school staff. As a result, suburban mentors are able to overcome their fears of being in the city or building relationships with people living in complex urban environments. Most suburban mentors describe an initial feeling of displacement as they experience something new, followed by a process of transformation that expands their worldviews through the relationships that they are building with urban people. The urban people, including adults and mentees, are usually somewhat skeptical at first of the 63
  • suburban Christians, but over time as the relationships grow a process of transformation occurs and new long term friendships emerge. LAMP demonstrates that partnerships between urban and suburban people can lead to an effective journey of transformation for all parties involved. Similar to the dynamics of urban and suburban partnerships, LAMP is also a facilitator of cross-cultural relationships and racial reconciliation. Many LAMP mentors are Caucasian, and most LAMP mentees are African-American. These relationships help both mentors and mentees gain valuable relational development across cultures. If relational difficulties do arise during the process of building the friendship, consistent support is provided for both school-based and one-to-one mentors by mentoring supervisors. It is critical that churches and schools commit to the process of developing these matches because difficulties do occur throughout the course of the partnership. If people, however, are committed to the relationships then the cross-cultural tension that arises leads to some amazing growth in the area of reconciliation over the course of time. The key to building cross-cultural relationships over time through mentoring depends on initial willingness and then patience over time as both mentors and mentees grow. Leadership is crucial to the development of any program or initiative aimed at transforming the lives of at-risk youth. Entire systems and institutions have been built on efforts to figure out what to do with kids who get into trouble. Many of the institutions come on the reactive end, as demonstrated by the juvenile justice system and all of the adults who are supposedly needed to capture, detain, prosecute, and incarcerate children who get into trouble. 64
  • One of the opposition arguments against programs or systems aimed at impacting troubled youth is that the adults leading those institutions start out with a desire to actually help kids or society, but over time the professionals end up focusing more on themselves and elevating their own lifestyles or career paths as opposed to serving children and building assets that may lead to transformation. People living in distressed urban communities perceive that the people who may be trying to help them are actually helping themselves by driving fancy cars and living in cushy houses in affluent neighborhoods. That perception is true, as when leaders live and spend most of their time outside the neighborhoods where their programs are located, but that mindset may still only be a general perception. Many leaders are able to be effective at working with at-risk youth by living outside of the communities where they serve. For the first three years that I led LAMP at North Way I lived in the affluent suburban area where most of the mentors live and worship. In an effort to be more effective at the work I was doing, I started reading books on urban ministry. Through urban ministry books I was first introduced to the concept of incarnational leadership, where Christian leaders working with people living in poverty try to be more effective by actually moving into the neighborhoods to live right next to the people they are serving. I was definitely intrigued, and I moved my family to Homewood in order to practice incarnational leadership in leading LAMP. Instead of leading from the outside, I now lead from inside the community where I work. I have found that I have been able to build much more effective relationships with my mentees by living in their community. 65
  • One theme of this dissertation that may impact the findings may be that my presence in the community has impacted the effectiveness of the LAMP mentoring initiative in certain ways. The impact of incarnational leadership in coordinating faith- based mentoring programs may lead to increased transformation in the lives of at-risk youth. 66
  • CHAPTER 4. THE BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL BASIS High-risk Youth and Mentors in God’s Story The world has plenty of stories to offer up to at-risk youth, and many kids have chosen to live in those stories. Mentors and youth workers can help kids understand the world by living in God’s Story. God wants to redeem at-risk youth while this Present Evil Age seems to want to destroy them. At any given point at-risk youth can turn away from idols and turn to the role that God has for them. That concept may turn out to be the key concept in what separates faith-based mentoring programs from traditional mentoring programs. God’s Story provides profound hope for both at-risk youth and faith-based mentors. Many different types of mentoring matches can be found in the Bible, such as Moses’ relationship with Joshua, Jesus’ relationships with his disciples, and Paul’s relationship with Timothy. A Five Act Play The Bible describes one large, overarching metanarrative from Genesis all the way through Revelation. The concept of living in a Story, as opposed to applying certain individual parts of the Story to life, may be a new concept for many modern Christians. It requires a different way of seeing the world and living. Christians are not called to simply understand God’s principles. Christians are called to live in authentic community in order to transform our world. God should be working through Christians in words and works to make a difference in this world. In order to understand how to live in the Story, N.T. Wright has presented the Story as a five act play. The first act describes creation; the 67
  • second act describes separation from God (sometimes called The Fall); the third act describes how God chose Israel to be a model for how he would redeem the world; the fourth act came when Jesus entered the world through his birth, life, resurrection, and ascension; and people are currently living in the fifth act where the church is the light of the world and Christians are called to reach the world until Jesus’ second coming. Act One: Creation The Old Testament is full of life-changing meaning for all Christians. It is the story of human spiritual heritage. Everything that God communicated and promised to Israel he offers to people today. Genesis presents the story of creation. When Moses shared the creation story with the Israelites, they were traveling from one polytheistic society (Egypt) to another (Canaan). God gave the Israelites the creation story to refute all other gods that the people had embraced in their context. The creation stories in Genesis argue against all other stories that may have provided meaning to people back then. Bartholomew and Goheen point out that “Israel was constantly tempted to adopt these other stories as the basis of its worldview, in place of faith in the LORD God, who created the heavens and the earth.”1 People learn through the creation narrative that life has a profound purpose. Human beings are all stewards who rule over creation so that God is glorified throughout the universe. Many Christians today lack purpose in their lives because they lack an understanding of stewardship. The concept of stewardship goes far beyond finances. Everything that people have belongs to God. Faith-based mentors are stewards of their 1 Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 32. 68
  • time, talents, and resources, giving themselves away to their mentees. Mentors model for their mentees that life is full of meaning that is found in God. The creation story was given to build a case against idolatry, and to provide meaning to people by drawing them into God’s mission. Christopher Wright notes, “Arguably the most fundamental distinction in all reality is presented in the opening verses of the Bible. It is the distinction between the Creator God and everything else that exists everywhere.”2 Once people understand the significance of idolatry, Christians can align more closely with God’s mission. God wants to restore the entire creation back to what it was originally intended to be. Human mission aligns with God’s mission, which is “to work with God in exposing the idols that continue to blur the distinction, and to liberate men and women from the destructive delusions they foster.”3 Idolatry is very prevalent in modern society, and it is extremely harmful. Christoper Wright adds that “if we are looking for true splendor, majesty, strength and glory, they are to be found in the presence of the living Creator God alone.”4 People become devalued as human beings by trying to become like God or worship things other than God. When God created the man and the woman, those relationships were perfect. God served as a mentor for humankind, giving them rule over all of the creation. Before Adam and Eve rebelled, those relationships were characterized by the joy that was found in vocation, community, and covenant. God created humankind for an amazing vocational purpose. “The first created being was given meaningful vocation to accomplish. He was 2 Christopher Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006), 163. 3 Ibid., 165. 4 Ibid., 167. 69
  • to till and keep the garden.”5 God also created man and woman to enjoy relational intimacy with him. “Male and female (the first human community) found delight in the presence of God without any fear or shame.”6 People were created for deep, meaningful community with God and one another. “There was a relationship that was established between God and the first male and female and between the first male and female.”7 Act Two: Separation Genesis 2:4b-11:26 deals with creation and separation. In this part of God’s grand narrative God explains how sin entered the world. Clearly something has happened since creation that has caused problems in the world. Human beings have lost communion with God. People became distanced from God, and as a result experienced brokenness as a consistent theme throughout the course of life. In this part of the story with Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, the trust relationship between humans and God was broken. Griffin offers that “all the world’s ills and evils come from this one selfish act. The world that was given to them to be their perfect garden became a wilderness full of sweat, thorn, and thistles. One wrong deed and separation occurred.”8 The rest of God’s Story will not make sense unless we understand this crucial part. People were created to be in communion with God, and then became separated because of disobedience. The separation of God and humankind is not something people can easily explain and move on to the next section of Scripture. It is a “quest for autonomy, a desire to separate ourselves from God. The consequences of sin are clearly 5 Griffin, 80. 6 Ibid., 81. 7 Ibid., 183. 8 Ibid., 80. 70
  • demonstrated.”9 The “fall” into sin remains a mystery, but the story of Genesis 3 illumines the fundamental nature of sin. Much can be learned from Genesis 2:8-17. God does not want people to be alone. He wants people to be in community with him and with one another. America does its best to cast a different story to live in, one based on individuality. The world celebrates people who are self-made. That smaller story is not biblical, but many people (including Christians) have been deceived by it. As a result, people are desperate to experience community even if it comes in the form of pain and dysfunctional relationships. God actually creates us for community, and he created things a certain way so that people would not harm one another within the context of those relationships. In Genesis, Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden. The Garden was an amazing place in which people were designed to live. In many ways, humans are still trying to arrange for Eden. In many parts of America, especially, people can be found building bigger homes and arranging for as many comforts as can possibly be found while ignoring as much brokenness in our society as possible. God has given people a different Story to live in, though. God has much bigger plans for life than anything that could ever possibly be imagined. Troubled young people can find hope in the story of the Fall, because God remained committed to his relationships with humanity despite their sin. “One wrong deed and separation occurred. When did they know this? When God came calling, ‘Adam, where are you?’ God, the missionary, was looking for his broken children, broken and hiding. This is the story in a nutshell. Humankind hides. God is like Francis Thompson’s hound of heaven sniffing us out to redeem us. This story runs straight 9 Bartholomew and Goheen, 43. 71
  • through the Bible and becomes our vocation.”10 Despite the brokenness of at-risk youth, God is always ready to mentor us just as he pursued Adam and Eve to mentor them after the separation occurred. God still desires to mentor all of us in meaningful ways by serving as our guides through life. Act Three: Israel God chose Israel for his plan to redeem his creation, so people should become familiar with the narrative portion of Scripture which describes God’s relationship with ancient Israel. Chapters 12-50 of Genesis introduce the patriarchs of the faith, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. People should try not to live exactly like these patriarchs because God worked differently through each of them, and many parts of their stories resulted out of wrongful thinking or disobedience. God often demonstrated that he was able to work through all kinds of different circumstances, if only his followers would choose to live in his Story. The concept of grace is a profound message of hope for at-risk youth who often find themselves in situations where they need God to intervene in the midst of their brokenness. If God can rescue the patriarchs of the Bible, he can certainly rescue young people from bad choices. Bartholomew and Goheen observe, “Time and again the stupidity and sinfulness of the patriarchs themselves put them and those who came after them – and God’s purposes – in peril. And yet, through all of this human turmoil, there is one constant: God remains faithful to his promise to Abraham.”11 If God can rescue the patriarchs of the Bible, he can certainly rescue young people from bad choices. 10 Griffin, 80. 11 Bartholomew and Goheen, 59. 72
  • Many at-risk youth experience a great deal of pain due to suffering that is often generated by factors beyond their control. The third act of the Story is filled with examples that encourage people in navigating through difficult circumstances. The best example of individual suffering may be found in the book of Job. Job shows that life is not fair, but God is still sovereign. Suffering is a part of life. It can be seen as a gift from God, for his purposes. Brueggemann helps interpret Job by recognizing the importance of understanding that we are dealing with an immensely sophisticated artistic work that is removed from any particular historical context or crisis, and that it stands on its own as a darling explication of the most difficult questions of faith. The book of Job is not for ‘everyday use’ among the faithful, but is an artistic extremity that is peculiarly matched to the most extreme crises of life lived in faith.12 Job can help troubled youth to be able to orient themselves within the context of God’s Story. The book of Judges demonstrates how the level of sin can get progressively worse in a society. Disobedience and lack of repentance can lead to complete chaos, which in the case of Israel yielded lawlessness, rape, and murder. Things got so bad for Israel that the nation was divided by civil war. At-risk youth learn that their destructive behavior leads negative consequences, and they need to know where to turn when things break down. When people choose to live in a different story than God’s Story, then the result is often separation and chaos. On the contrary, when people choose to live in God’s Story and teach the generations that follow to live in God’s Story, then God is pleased and people’s lives are more likely to be grounded in God’s life-giving purposes. The book of 12 Walter Brueggemann, An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 294. 73
  • Ruth demonstrates that even in a dark time period like the time of Judges, people can always choose to live in God’s Story. There is always hope. High-risk young people do not need to follow others into destruction and chaos. Generational disobedience can be broken simply by the actions of one person choosing to step back into God’s Story. Faith-based mentors generally build relationships with children in need, and often the mentors end up fulfilling a powerful advocate role in the lives of their mentees. Flowing out of that advocacy, mentors often end up acting justly and prophetically on behalf of their mentees. Mentors can gain a great deal of inspiration from prophets in the third act in God’s Story because those prophets spoke out against powerful people exploiting marginalized people. Israel at one time enjoyed a period of tremendous prosperity in both kingdoms, which occurred as a result of business and lifestyle practices that oppressed the poor while the rich got richer. These practices caused tremendous problems for the society God had chosen to represent light in the world. Amos delivered a message about the social injustice of that particular lifestyle, promising that God would bring severe consequences for anyone who became rich by taking advantage of the poor. The modern church has long been enamored by the message in Amos because the society still has rich people who take advantage of the poor all over the world. God does call Christians to engage in social justice, and faith-based mentoring is a good example of followers of Jesus living that out. Another example is how “the prophet Micah accents the rapacious economic practices of the landed community that exploit the vulnerable, and so violate the will of YHWH for economic justice in the community.”13 13 Ibid., 234. 74
  • Social justice is biblical, and failure to act with both compassion and justice on behalf of the poor is unbiblical. Troubled youth should be able to find a great deal of meaning in the book of Daniel. Daniel demonstrates that God works through difficult circumstances in ways that cannot always be understood. The Christian’s job is to remain faithful and obedient in the midst of trying circumstances. When the world tries to force people into living in a different story, it is important to orient ourselves once again in God’s Story. God rewards obedience when living in a difficult environment. Nehemiah also represents a tremendous example for at-risk youth and mentors. Nehemiah was able to model for Christians how to live in God’s Story in a remarkable way. He empowered the people of Israel by building effective relationships with them. Nehemiah’s example serves as a powerful reminder that God is a God of community, and relationships are much more important than any tasks that might be accomplished individually. Nehemiah was also resourceful. He listened well; he resonated with the pain of the people; he prayed; he had great timing, and he utilized the gifts and influence that God had given him in order to elevate others. He acted compassionately and justly within the context of God’s Story. Moses mentored Joshua, preparing him to understand the ways of the LORD and equipping him to lead the people of Israel to take possession of new lands. Moses often encouraged and advocated for Joshua as a mentor. He summoned for him toward the end of his life and told him, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with 75
  • you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deut. 31:7-8). Joshua’s life was profoundly impacted by this mentoring relationship with Moses, and the Israelites followed him because of what Moses asked them to do (Deut. 34:9). Moses also demonstrates that mentors do not need to be perfect people. He had many flaws, and he made many mistakes in his lifetime, but God still worked through him to mentor other people. Act Four: Jesus Jesus is the climactic act of God’s grand narrative. His coming to Earth represents a huge turning point for all of humankind. Jesus’ followers were intrigued by his description of the kingdom of God, which was now God’s plan to redeem the world. In this act, God conquered evil and suffering in a now but not yet way through the kingdom of God. Jesus modeled for the world how God works in the creation. He showed people how to live and interact with one another. Jesus created a new paradigm for how humanity should live their lives. Because Jesus’ life was so pivotal to all of humanity, it is extremely important for Christians to have a sound, biblically-based understanding of Jesus. N.T. Wright notes that the “disciplines of prayer and Bible study need to be rooted again and again in Jesus himself if they are not to become idolatrous or self-serving. We have often muted Jesus’ stark challenge, remaking him in our own image and then wondering why our personal spiritualities have become less than exciting and life-changing.”14 People should all seek to learn more about what it means to follow Jesus. After all, Jesus requires Christians to 14 N.T. Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 11. 76
  • be for the world what he was for Israel. Most everything people do should be understood through the lens of what Christ did for humankind. Jesus calls Christians to engage culture, and mentors live out that calling. Jesus entered the world in a context which was filled with basically three Jewish options. The quietists withdrew from the world. The compromisers assimilated as best as they could to the dominant pagan culture around them. The zealots sought to be revolutionaries by fighting a holy war against their pagan oppressors. Jesus entered the world in that context, and all three groups completely missed the point of his arrival. “He was neither a quietist nor a compromiser nor a zealot.”15 Modern Christian America has basically the same three subgroups of people. The quietists are actively seeking to withdraw from the world by separating themselves from the evil in the world. The compromisers assimilate well to American culture, to the point where one cannot tell the difference between a person who follows Christ and one who does not. The zealots are still alive and well, represented by people who are passionate about legalism and, yet, may be failing to embrace the grace and love of God. The same three subgroups of people still almost entirely miss the point of why Jesus came. People can experience the amazing joy of the presence of the kingdom now because Jesus has defeated evil, but also look forward to experiencing the fullness of the kingdom when Christ returns again. God does not want Christians to just be religious. God wants Christians to engage culture, articulating in story and music and art and philosophy and education and poetry and politics and theology and even, heaven help us, biblical studies, a worldview that will mount the historically rooted Christian challenge to both modernity and 15 Ibid., 37. 77
  • postmodernity, leading the way into the post-postmodern world with joy and humor and gentleness and good judgment and true wisdom.16 Wright’s challenge sounds like an exciting mission for mentors to be able to live out with their mentees. The kingdom of God provides meaning in the lives of at-risk young people. The kingdom of God represents God’s reign. It is not really a realm or group of people. The profound message and mystery of the kingdom of God is that it will one day completely transform the world, but for now it has arrived to bless and bring order to the world without having completely transformed it. Human beings still live in the way things used to be, but people have God’s power to enjoy the kingdom as it currently is. God’s kingdom has invaded the kingdom of Satan. People do not need to live as though bondage, sin and death reign anymore. The kingdom of God is here now. Jesus wants to give life now and also at the end of this evil age. Followers of Jesus can experience a relationship with God, even in the midst of trying circumstances in the world. Christians may not get to experience life in its fullest form yet, but there is plenty of hope and much to live for. Some day people will be transformed and the creation will be transformed. What do humans do until then? Christians will experience suffering, pain, and death, yet also experience heaven on earth for a little while. When Christians worship and build relationships with one another, the experience is in a way just like heaven. Christians can experience community amidst difficult circumstances. Jesus demonstrates for mentors that the kingdom of God is advanced through both words and works. In Jesus’ ministry, words were not more important than works. Both 16 Ibid., 196. 78
  • had equal value in communicating the gospel message. God worked through Jesus to redeem the world. He made it possible for people to be in a relationship with God. Christians, in turn, should become God’s messengers into the world to live out the gospel message with both words and works. Christians should live in the tension between the now but not yet. “In Jesus, we have the presence of the future. Jesus has brought the rule of God from the future into the present.”17 In Jesus, people see a picture of God coming to Earth to do what no person could do. God dwells with his people. God opposes anything that distorts or destroys his creation, and he has a special place set aside for human beings. God demonstrates a love for humans so amazing that humanity does not even have accurate words to explain it. The true function of Christians is to abide in the love of Christ and demonstrate that love to the world. People were made to reflect God’s love and stewardship in the world. Just as God used Israel to demonstrate his love in the Old Testament, Jesus arrived as the world’s true light and modeled what it is like to be truly human. The role as Christians is to live out the love of Christ for the world. Faith-based mentors live out the love of Christ. Christians need to engage in areas where the world is in pain. Jesus strategically selected people with whom he wanted to share his life (Matt. 4:18-22). His plan to advance the kingdom of God began by building meaningful mentoring relationships with a group of twelve men, three of whom he went very deep with, so that they might one day be able to build the church throughout the world. Jesus had many ups and downs with his disciples, yet he remained patient with them knowing the potential they would one day fulfill. At times Jesus encouraged his mentees, and at times he spoke challenging words to them. 17 Griffin, 189. 79
  • Jesus’ walking on water is a good example of the tension that all good mentors live in between encouragement and prophetic words. The disciples were terrified when they saw him walking on water, “But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’” (Matt. 14:27). Peter, of course, asks to go to Jesus, briefly walking on the water, and then he became afraid and he fell into the water. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” (Matt. 14:31). These words must have been difficult to hear, but Jesus was casting a new vision into Peter’s life with those challenging words. Jesus built up tremendous faith in his disciples, faith that they would need throughout the course of their lifetimes. Act Five: The Rest of the Story in the New Testament Following the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the church now serves as the light of the world. Because of Christ, the church has stepped into a significant role in God’s grand narrative. Much of the New Testament was written because the church faced difficulties in living out what was being required of them, and as a result God has given the church just about all that it needs to thrive in the now but not yet era of the kingdom of God through his Word in the Scriptures. The epistles give meaning to mentors and mentees. The writers of the epistles did their best to communicate that “Jesus reigns over all of human life, all history, and all nations.”18 The Holy Spirit is active in the world today. Humans cannot stop the spread of the gospel or the growth of the church because God is still at work. Paul’s letters, in particular, describe how people are living in the now but not yet. Bartholomew and Goheen point out that the “world of the Bible is our world, and its story of redemption is 18 Bartholomew and Goheen, 172. 80
  • also our story. This story is waiting for an ending – in part because we ourselves have a role to play before all is concluded.”19 Even though people all try to live out false stories, the biblical account of God’s Story is still the most powerful Story to live in. Faith-based mentoring requires a great deal of creativity relative to living out God’s mission to reach the world. Christians should understand the task today in terms of the context of Israel’s initial task from God. Jesus fulfilled that task, and now people need to understand what God is doing in the world today so as to fulfill roles in that Story. Much is required of modern Christians. Again turning to Bartholomew and Goheen, “We follow Jesus’ mission, but our own cultural situation is quite different from that of first- century Palestine. Thus, we need to carry out the mission of Jesus with imagination and creativity.”20 Cross-cultural relationships can lead to reconciliation, a theme that is important to the heart of God as can be demonstrated in books of the Bible like Galatians. God uses the concept of reconciliation to draw separated people closer to him and to draw people closer to one another. Because Christ is peace, Christians must remove all barriers between human beings. In simple terms, if Christians are estranged from one another, then people must do whatever is necessary to reconcile because that is what Christ requires. The church in America can be very segregated. I believe that Christians in modern culture should be on the leading edge of racial and cultural reconciliation, not lagging behind dragging feet. Participating in reconciliation can be a difficult task that comes with a cost, but it is something that all Christians should be doing. One of the central themes of Luke and Acts is that the gospel message is for anyone. God’s love transcends race, class, and 19 Ibid., 196. 20 Ibid., 199. 81
  • culture. With that type of understanding, Christians have a biblical foundation for why brothers and sisters in Christ should be reconciled to one another. The gospel serves as a bridge of sorts between cultures. The fifth act of God’s Story gives faith-based mentors and at-risk youth amazing hope. For instance, Revelation is a book about comfort. When people experience suffering, comfort is what will resonate most powerfully through those circumstances. That message would have been very clear to the early church, to which Revelation was written, as they experienced a great deal of suffering and persecution. Revelation is comforting because of one simple fact: followers of Jesus know that God wins. God’s victory should make everyone rejoice, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. The hope of God is such an amazing blessing to look forward to. Christians will all live together in a new earth characterized by the absence of evil and the presence of all that is beautiful and glorious. All of history leads to that one goal. God’s Story transforms lives, but all must decide which story to live in. Followers of Christ find meaning in God’s Story which is given in the Scriptures. “All of this has been designed as a plea to the church to let the Bible be the Bible, and so to let God be God – and so to enable the people of God to be the people of God, his special people, living under his authority, bringing his light to his world.”21 Paul chose to intentionally mentor a young man named Timothy. He essentially shared his life with him, knowing that effective mentoring involves the building of trust consistently over time through shared experiences. Paul called Timothy “my true son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). Similar to most mentoring relationships, Paul spent their early years together pouring into a young Timothy, writing letters to him, challenging him, 21 N.T. Wright, “How Can the Bible Be Authoritative” Vox Evangelica (1991): 21. 82
  • encouraging him, and preparing him for a life dedicated to advancing the kingdom of God. Paul spoke powerfully into Timothy’s life by saying, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12). This mentoring relationship was transformational, because at some point in being mentored by Paul, Timothy became a co-sender of letters written to churches and an effective leader among second- generation Christians. Christ-centered mentoring can lead to powerful outcomes. 83
  • CHAPTER 5. METHODS OF RESEARCH Identifying the Research A variety of research methods were utilized to capture on a local and global scale the intricacies of faith-based mentoring relationships from the perspectives of mentors and mentees. This project includes quantitative and qualitative research components, with a definite emphasis on the pro-active research method. Case studies generally emerge from pro-active qualitative research. The three main research methods used in this project were questionnaires, interviews, and personal journals. Questionnaire A questionnaire was sent out to twenty-nine current LAMP mentors in Pittsburgh, representing a cross-section of school-based, one-to-one, and family-to-one mentors who are actively engaged in relationships with high-risk youth. The questionnaire was composed of a simple mix of Likert-type and open-ended questions. Specifically, the questionnaire sought to determine how transformational the mentoring matches were from the mentor’s perspective. The questions focused on the development of transformational mentoring, discovering whether or not the faith-based mentoring experience is calling-based, incarnational, reflective, servant-based, contextual, global, shalom-based, and/or prophetic. The questions asked in the questionnaire were: Do you feel called to be a mentor? Does your mentee think you have been called to be his or her mentor? Do you spend time with your mentee in his or her neighborhood? Does your mentee spend time with you in 85
  • your neighborhood? Do you reflect on the meaning of your mentoring experiences? Does your mentee reflect on the meaning of your mentoring experiences? Do you serve your mentee? Does your mentee serve you? Do you value your mentee’s cultural context? Does your mentee value your cultural context? Does mentoring expand your worldview? Does having a mentor expand your mentee’s worldview? Does your mentoring of one child make a positive difference in the community? Does being mentored help your mentee to make a positive difference in his or her community? Do you advocate for your mentee? Does your mentee advocate for you? Does mentoring lead to a process of transformation in your life? Does mentoring lead to a process of transformation in your mentee’s life? (See appendix A.) Interviews Open-ended interviews were completed with current LAMP mentors in Pittsburgh in order to determine the extent to which their mentoring relationships are transformational. Three LAMP mentors were selected for in-depth interviews, including school-based, one-to-one, and family-to-one mentors. Three LAMP mentees were interviewed to discover whether or not the mentoring experience has been transformational from their perspectives, a group that included school-based, one-to-one, and family-to-one mentees. Every LAMP mentor and mentee interviewee was asked open-ended questions about their mentoring experiences to determine the progress of the process of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth. Case studies were developed from the mentor and mentee interviews. As LAMP expands, faith-based mentoring is being implemented in Honduras through Orphan Helpers. Open-ended and unstructured interviews were completed in 86
  • Honduras with policymakers and mentoring program coordinators, pastors from churches interested in starting mentoring programs, potential mentors, potential mentees who might benefit from faith-based mentoring, and parents of at-risk children. These interviews may provide a foundation for transformational faith-based mentoring during the planning and implementation stages and also shed light on the challenges of mentoring in the Latin American context. LAMP Mentor Interviews LAMP school-based mentor Bob Stanionis (LAMP interview one) was interviewed in order to gain perspective about the potential of school-based mentoring in transforming the lives of at-risk youth. Bob is a seasoned school-based mentor who has mentored a child at the Pittsburgh Faison K-5 school for four years. LAMP one-to-one mentor Raquel Branchik (LAMP interview two) was interviewed in order to gain perspective about the potential of one-to-one mentoring in transforming the lives of at-risk youth. Raquel joined LAMP in 2007, and she has been a consistent weekly mentor since she was originally matched. She is also a member of the LAMP volunteer leadership team at North Way. LAMP family-to-one mentors Greg and Kelly Phillips (LAMP interview three) were originally matched with their first mentee in 2007, and they have since been matched with a second mentee. Greg serves as an elder at North Way Christian Community, and his wife, Kelly, is greatly involved in LAMP as well as a member of the LAMP volunteer leadership team at North Way. Their four children spend time with their mentees on a regular basis. 87
  • The LAMP mentors were asked the following interview questions: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? How has mentoring made a difference in your life? How has mentoring made a difference in your mentee’s life? What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to get involved in mentoring? What are some of the obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Pittsburgh? Is there anything else you would like to say? LAMP Mentee Interviews LAMP school-based mentee Rafael (LAMP interview four) was interviewed in order to gain an understanding of the impact of school-based mentoring on his life. Rafael was a school-based mentee for four years before becoming a one-to-one mentee. He provides a unique perspective into the effectiveness of LAMP in that he has benefited from having both a school-based mentor and a one-to-one mentor. LAMP one-to-one mentee Catrell (LAMP interview five) was interviewed in order to gain his perspective on the transformational nature of mentoring relationships in the lives of high-risk youth. Catrell was one of the original one-to-one matches that were made when North Way started recruiting mentors in 2006, and he remains involved in one of the longest tenured matches in the program. LAMP family-to-one mentee Tyran (LAMP interview six) was interviewed in order to gain more insight into how family-to-one mentoring impacts at-risk young people. Tyran came from a very difficult family situation, and he has been homeless at several different points in his development. Still, he continues to persevere and he is progressing well through his high school educational experience. 88
  • The LAMP mentees were asked the following questions: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? What is life like for you in Pittsburgh? How has having a mentor made a difference in your life? What is the most effective way to transform the lives of at-risk youth in your city? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Is there anything else you would like to say? Global Perspective: Interviews in Honduras From June 7 to June 15 of 2011, I traveled to two cities in Honduras, San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, with the purpose of conducting dissertation research in order to find out more about the potential impact of faith-based mentoring in urban environments in Central America. The trip was arranged through my relationship with the lead executive at Orphan Helpers at the time, Richard Yeargain. One of my pastor friends from North Way Christian Community, Pastor Bill James, went on the trip with my wife, Julie, and me. James has been to Honduras many times over the past few years due to his role in leading the Orphan Care Network at North Way. Through the Orphan Care Network, many teams of volunteers have gone on short term mission trips to work with high-risk youth in orphanages and youth detention centers in cities in Honduras. Beyond Orphan Helpers, James has also developed a strong relationship with another organization working with at-risk youth in several cities in Honduras called Buckner International. Our guide and interpreter on the journey was Roberto O’Connor, a native Honduran man, who has a great deal of experience in leading teams working with children being served by government institutions in Honduras. O’Connor also does a lot of work on his own with children living in the slums around the river communities in San Pedro Sula. 89
  • On Tuesday, June 7, we flew into the city of San Pedro Sula. The first thing we did was visit a big Orphan Helpers project called Genesis. The Genesis Center is a collaborative effort between Orphan Helpers and the government organization that provides care for orphans and high-risk youth throughout Honduras. Buildings are being refurbished on several acres of property that will one day house, feed, educate, and meet the general needs of hundreds of orphans. I had the opportunity to meet the Orphan Care staff people that are working to build Genesis, a group of five young men who were once at-risk youth themselves. Their names were Gerson, Saul, Oscar, Henry, and Pablo. All five of these young men represented positive outcomes of faith-based mentoring, as each of them had been mentored by a local pastor named Harold. On June 8, I was able to interview Gerson and Saul in one of the main buildings at Genesis. Next, our group went to visit a government-run orphanage called Nueva Esparanza, where approximately 160 orphans between the ages of zero and fifteen live. Seven workers worked with the kids, so the place seemed to be understaffed. While we were there I interviewed a child psychologist named Wilber who screens every child that arrives at the orphanage, and he also prescribes counseling and education plans for each child. I also interviewed the executive director of Nueva Esparanza, and as I toured the facility I was able to record interviews with three boys named O’Reilly, Manuel, and Schneider. We made one last stop at Genesis on June 8 so that I could interview Pastor Harold at Genesis, the man who had mentored the five young men working at the center. On June 9, I visited a juvenile detention center in San Pedro Sula called El Carmen. The residential facility housed many young men from different parts of Honduras who had been caught for a wide variety of illegal activities ranging from theft 90
  • and drug dealing to rape, kidnapping, and murder. Roberto O’Connor and Bill James told me that no group had ever been allowed to tour the facility and interview children, so I was prepared for rejection. On that day, however, we ended up talking to the right person and the lead administrator of the education classes named Dilcia Sosa ended up giving us a tour of the entire facility and allowing us to interview as many kids as we wanted. The adolescents I interviewed in El Carmen were John, Mario, Starling, Brian, Christian, and Nevi. I also interviewed an employee of the facility named Roberto who had served as a mentor to many boys at the facility over the years, and I interviewed a pastor from Orphan Helpers named Henry who was actively mentoring many of the boys in El Carmen. He had some great insights into the process of transformation with some of the at-risk young men in Honduras. On June 9, we also visited a place called Las Brisas that serves at-risk youth from slum communities around the rivers in San Pedro Sula. North Way has sponsored an urban transformation center at Las Brisas. I had the opportunity to meet many of the children being served by the transformation center, and I also interviewed Pastor Victor who oversees most of the work that goes on with the children. The day of June 10 started with my interviewing a pastor named Erick from one of the four churches in San Pedro Sula that have signed up to provide mentors to children in government institutions through Orphan Helpers. One of the highlights of the trip for me occurred when I was able to personally hand him the LAMP mentoring training materials that had been translated in Spanish by Orphan Helpers. Pastor Erick was from a large church called Great Commission that had been involved in many social programs in 91
  • San Pedro Sula, but not much relational work that involved matching adults in relationships with high-risk young people. After the interview with Pastor Erick, we traveled to a transition home for girls in San Pedro Sula that was run by Buckner International. I had the opportunity to interview six at-risk adolescent girls that lived in the home. We next traveled to a government-run orphanage for adolescent girls in San Pedro Sula called Casitas. The best way I can describe it is that they warehouse teenage girls. The girls are kind of confined to the compound-like area where they spend all day and night together with little to do. Many of the girls at Casitas had been sexually and physically abused, and many had been abandoned by their families. At Casitas I interviewed girls named Sandra, Hadie Luna, Maria, Wilma, and Morellia. On June 11, we returned to Casitas with some crafts and snacks. I was able to interview a couple more girls, Anna and Blanca. I learned a great deal from the girls at Casitas. On June 12, we prepared to fly to Tegucigalpa, but before we left I was able to interview two men who were working with many kids in San Pedro Sula. Aaron O’Connor was an Orphan Helpers employee, and I interviewed him to gain some perspective on the need for churches to get involved in mentoring kids from Honduras. I also interviewed Juan Angel, who served as our driver for a few days but also doubles as a Christian school administrator for eighty-five kids attending the school for high-risk children living in urban poverty in San Pedro Sula. On the way to the airport, we stopped at his school so that he could show us the work that he is involved in. June 13, we spent the day in Tegucigalpa with representatives from Buckner International. I had the opportunity in the morning to interview a woman named Janera 92
  • who runs operations in all of Honduras for Buckner. Our group visited a Buckner community transformation center where I was able to interview many staff people and volunteers from the community serving families in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa. After completing interviews at the center, we toured the river community and I was able to interview several families who were involved in the process of transformation including many children whose lives were being impacted by the presence of Buckner in the community. I interviewed Pastor Herminio, whose church was serving as a gatekeeper for Buckner into the community. He had mentored many at-risk youth over the years, and his interview provided a great deal of insight about the struggle toward transformation in the lives of at-risk youth. During the evening of June 13, I interviewed a good friend of mine, Lisa Anderson-Umana, who serves as a missionary in Tegucigalpa. She was able to shed some light on the Honduran culture, and she provided some good insight into whether or not faith-based mentoring might be successful in the Latin American context. On June 14, we visited a government-run institution in Tegucigalpa called 21 October that serves as a residential facility for forty-nine troubled boys between the ages of twelve and eighteen. I interviewed the director of the facility, Sada, and then I interviewed a pastor from Orphan Helpers named Victor who served as a mentor to many young men in the facility. Victor’s work was another example of Orphan Helpers filling a void in the lives of at-risk young people where other institutions were unable to meet needs. Most of the kids in 21 October were sent there for either living in the streets, drugs, gang activity, or domestic violence. I interviewed four boys who were there for 93
  • each of those reasons. Kevin was there for drug abuse, Lucas was in there because of gang activity, Brian was there for carrying a gun and living on the streets, and Richard was there due to domestic violence. Following our time at 21 October with boys on June 14, we went to a big orphanage in Tegucigalpa for kids of all ages called Casitas Las Kennedy. We toured every part of the facility, and I interviewed many kids individually and in groups. The individuals I interviewed were Kenya, Brenda, Angel, Carlo, and Lucie. The ages of the groups I interviewed ranged from five years up to eighteen. I also interviewed the director of Casita Las Kennedy, Ms. Lucia de Marquez, and she was able to give me her perspective on transforming the lives of at-risk youth. After Casitas Las Kennedy I went to an Orphan Helpers transition home where a North Way missionary Kara Conaway was involved in mentoring several girls in a group home. Most of the girls living in the home had been victims of severe abuse in their lives, and I was able to interview two girls who told me their life stories. They shared some amazing things about the process of transformation that they are on. I ended my last full day in Honduras by visiting the nonprofit organization that our translator, Roberto O’Connor, was involved in running with children living in poverty in river communities. I interviewed O’Connor to gain his perspective on working with high-risk youth in complex urban environments. In order to organize the large amount of data I collected during the interviews in Honduras, I established five main categories that emerged over the course of my time there. The categories are groups of stakeholders who have a vested interest in mentoring in Honduras. The first group is policy makers and mentoring program coordinators; the second group is pastors; the third group is potential mentors; the fourth group is potential 94
  • mentees, and the fifth group is parents of at-risk youth. I gathered the information in these interviews through the use of field notes and an audio recording device that I downloaded to my computer each evening. I conducted a total of fifty-four interviews over the course of eight days in Honduras. Policymakers and Mentoring Program Coordinators in Honduras The policymakers and mentoring program coordinators I interviewed in Honduras were responsible for implementing faith-based mentoring in the Latin American context. Although almost everyone understood the concept of faith-based mentoring and had a familiarity with the importance of impacting children through clinical or even informal relationships, few had experience with implementing formal mentoring programs in their institutions. This group of practitioners included Wilber from Nueva Esparanza (Honduras interview three), the woman directing Nueva Esparanza (Honduras interview four), Dilcia Sosa from El Carmen (Honduras interview nine), Pastor Erick from Great Commission Church in San Pedro Sula (Honduras interview nineteen), Janera from Buckner International (Honduras interview thirty), the group of volunteers and workers from Buckner in Tegucigalpa (Honduras interview thirty-one), and Lucie de Marquez at Las Kennedy (Honduras interview fifty-two). These policymakers and mentoring program coordinators were asked the following questions: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Can you tell me about your organization? What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to become involved as mentors with at-risk youth in Honduras? What are some of the 95
  • obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Honduras? Is there anything else you would like to say? Pastors in Honduras Pastors are crucial to the development of faith-based mentoring programs. Pastors can be directly involved in the actual mentoring, and also simply involved in casting vision and building a theological foundation for mentoring in their congregations. They are the catalysts for mobilizing many volunteers to become mentors. In Honduras I interviewed Pastor Harold from the Genesis Center (Honduras interview eight), Pastor Henry at El Carmen (Honduras interview fifteen), Pastor Victor at Las Brisas (Honduras interview eighteen), Pastor Herminio from Buckner (Honduras interview thirty-seven), and Pastor Victor from 21 October in Tegucigalpa (Honduras interview forty-four). The pastors were asked the following interview questions: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Can you tell me about the at-risk children you serve? What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to become involved as mentors with at-risk youth in Honduras? What are some of the obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Honduras? Is there anything else you would like to say? Potential Mentors in Honduras I interviewed several potential mentors in Honduras. A crucial step involved in the implementation of faith-based mentoring in any context involves identifying potential mentors that might be available to become matched with at-risk youth right away. These early adopters help to generate momentum in churches and in mentoring programs in general. Young adults who have gone through a process of transformation may be 96
  • excellent mentors because they understand the context. Gerson at Genesis (Honduras interview one) and Saul at Genesis (Honduras interview two) fit that description. Christian adults in any community are assets that can be built upon in establishing healthy mentoring programs, so in Honduras Mr. Roberto at El Carmen (Honduras interview thirteen), Aaron O’Connor from Genesis (Honduras interview twenty-eight), Juan Angel (Honduras interview twenty-nine), and our team guide Roberto O’Connor (Honduras interview fifty-four) would fall into that category. The potential mentors were asked the following interview questions: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? If you grew up as an at-risk youth, what was the process of transformation like for you? What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to become involved as mentors with at-risk youth in Honduras? What are some of the obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Honduras? Is there anything else you would like to say? Potential Mentees in Honduras I interviewed potential mentees while I was in the urban environments in Honduras. The potential mentees represent the voices of high-risk youth living in a wide variety of different circumstances. As part of my research, I entered into the complex urban environments where several high-risk urban youth reside. These young people are definitely ready to be matched with mentors. This group of potential mentees includes O’Reilly from Nueva Esparanza (Honduras interview five), Manuel from Nueva Esparanza (Honduras interview six), Schneider from Nueva Esparanza (Honduras interview seven), John at El Carmen (Honduras interview ten), Mario at El Carmen 97
  • (Honduras interview eleven), Starling at El Carmen (Honduras interview twelve), Brian at El Carmen (Honduras interview fourteen), Christian at El Carmen (Honduras interview sixteen), Nevi at El Carmen (Honduras interview seventeen), the girls from the Buckner transition home (Honduras interview twenty), Sandra at Casitas (Honduras interview twenty-one), Hadie Luna at Casitas (Honduras interview twenty-two), Maria at Casitas (Honduras interview twenty-three), Wilma at Casitas (Honduras interview twenty-four), Marelia at Casitas (Honduras interview twenty-five), Anna at Casitas (Honduras interview twenty-six), Blanca at Casitas (Honduras interview twenty-seven), River families in Tegucigalpa (Honduras interviews thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, and thirty-six), Kevin from 21 October in Tegucigalpa (Honduras interview forty), Lucas from 21 October (Honduras interview forty-one), Brian from 21 October (Honduras interview forty-two), Richard from 21 October (Honduras interview forty-three), Kenya at Casitas Las Kennedy in Tegucigalpa (Honduras interview forty-five), two girls from Casitas Las Kennedy (Honduras interview forty-six), Brenda at Casitas Las Kennedy (Honduras interview forty-seven), Angel at Casitas Las Kennedy (Honduras interview forty-eight), Carlo and another boy at Casitas Las Kennedy (Honduras interview forty- nine), a group of teenage girls at Casitas Las Kennedy (Honduras interview fifty), another group of adolescent girls at Casitas Las Kennedy (Honduras interview fifty-one), and several girls at Kara Conaway’s house in Tegucigalpa (Honduras interview fifty-three). The potential mentees were asked the following questions: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? What is life like for you here in Honduras? What activities do you like to do? Do you have any friends here? Do you receive any visitors? Would you like to spend time with an adult friend from a local church if they 98
  • came to visit you every week? What would you say to people who might be afraid to come and spend time with you? What are your hopes and dreams for your future? Is there anything else you would like to say? Parents of At-risk Youth in Honduras Judging from my experiences in leading a mentoring program, parental support and buy-in seems to be an important part of reaching at-risk kids. Many of the children I spoke to in Honduras were living in institutions so their parents were not directly involved in their everyday lives. Still, I met many children who lived with their families in border communities experiencing urban poverty. I had the opportunity to interview several parents about their lives and their children. The parents include a group of moms at the Buckner Transformation Center (Honduras interview thirty-two), and several parents living in the slum community along the river by the Buckner Transformation Center including Rachel (Honduras interview thirty-three), Julia (Honduras interview thirty-four), Margarita (Honduras interview thirty-five), and Moressa (Honduras interview thirty-seven). The parents were asked the following questions: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Can you tell me about your children? What is the best way for organizations and churches to support your children? What are your hopes and dreams for your family? What are some of the obstacles and assets to churches providing mentors for your children? Is there anything else you want to say? Personal Journals As a coordinator of the LAMP faith-based mentoring initiative over the past six years, I have documented the experiences of hundreds of mentors and mentees as well as 99
  • the journeys of nine mentees that I have formally mentored during that time. These experiences were documented through personal journals, notes, and blogs that I updated frequently. These personal journals provide a great deal of insight into the unique struggles and breakthroughs associated with the mentoring of high-risk youth. Case studies were developed from the stories in the journal entries to provide a broader narrative for the journeys that both mentors and mentees face. LAMP Data Analysis LAMP receives funding from government sources, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. The Pittsburgh Board of Education and Family Guidance, Inc. must report data with regard to the number of matches and outcomes of the mentoring relationships to these funders every year. A great deal of data has been accumulated and analyzed since the LAMP program was launched in 2004. North Way Christian Community has maintained a database of school-based, one-to-one, family-to-one, and group mentors since the church entered into a LAMP partnership on May 1, 2006. That data was also analyzed in order to gain a clearer picture of the effectiveness of the mentoring matches in terms of simple longevity. 100
  • CHAPTER 6. FINDINGS AND RESULTS Evaluation of the Methodology The research methodology provided a great deal of evidence that effective faith- based mentoring leads to a process of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth through the development of life-changing developmental assets. The LAMP mentor questionnaire supported the theory that faith-based mentoring can be more of a transformational experience for mentors and mentees if the mentoring experience incorporates some or all of the calling-based, incarnational, reflective, servant-based, contextual, global, shalom- based, and prophetic principles. I was able to gain a good perspective into the general concept of transformational mentoring from active mentors. The six LAMP mentor and mentee interviews supported the concept of transformational mentoring as a method of increasing quality in long term faith-based mentoring relationships. The outcomes of the LAMP interviews point to one-to-one mentoring as being potentially more transformational than school-based mentoring due to increased time spent together and a deeper incarnational presence in the lives of mentees due to more time spent in the community. I was pleased to be able to complete all of the LAMP interviews, and I gained a great deal of perspective into the LAMP mentoring initiative. The trip to Honduras for dissertation research provided an amazing global perspective into the possibilities of faith-based mentoring in cultures different from the city where I live and work. The Honduras interviews pointed to evidence that there is great potential for faith-based mentoring to lead to a process of transformation in the lives 102
  • of at-risk youth living in major cities in Latin America. The policymakers and mentoring program coordinators, the pastors, the potential mentors, the potential mentees, and the parents that I interviewed all welcomed the concept of faith-based mentoring in their communities. Just as the evidence supported barriers to effective faith-based mentoring in the United States, the evidence suggested barriers to effective faith-based mentoring in the Latin American context, as well. I was pleased with the number of interviews conducted in Honduras, and I was also excited about the access we had to some of the most high- risk youth in the entire country living in orphanages and youth detention centers. The openness of the young people I interviewed in Honduras led to some significant insight into the probability of transformation through meaningful mentoring relationships in the future. Fifty-four interviews in Honduras provided a great deal of data to analyze, and most of that research did not make its way into this dissertation. I am hoping to continue working through the ramifications of faith-based mentoring in Honduras so that I can provide support in the future to stakeholders working with at-risk youth throughout Latin America. I am so glad that I documented my own mentoring experiences in personal journals over the past six years because the journals provided a great deal of anecdotal evidence for the process of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth through faith- based mentoring. In fact, the journals provided information used to develop the various case studies that emerged through my research. The LAMP data provided great quantitative evidence supporting the transformational nature of faith-based mentoring in Homewood. Stories are powerful, but 103
  • good data should also support positive outcomes in the field of mentoring so that high- risk young people can be served more effectively. I was able to effectively gather the data specific to LAMP matches due to a strong collaborative relationship with the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Family Guidance, Inc. LAMP Mentor Questionnaire In the survey given to current LAMP mentors, 94 percent of LAMP mentors surveyed expressed a strong calling to be a mentor. About 52 percent of the mentees felt strongly that their mentors were called to spend time with them. In the questionnaire, 58 percent of LAMP mentors did not spend any time in their mentee’s neighborhood, while 13 percent of the mentors frequently spent time in their mentee’s neighborhood. About 70 percent of mentees spent no time or only occasional time in their mentor’s neighborhood. The survey determined that 88 percent of LAMP mentors reflect often on their mentoring experiences. The high level of reflection was one of the strongest findings in the survey. About 60 percent of the mentors thought that their mentees reflected on the meaning of the mentoring experiences either not at all or only on occasion. The questionnaire findings were all across the board with regard to servant mentoring. A total of 71 percent of the mentors reported serving their mentees more than occasionally or frequently. In one of the strongest findings from the questionnaire, 63 percent of the mentors thought that their mentees only served their mentors on occasion or not at all. In the survey, 44 percent of the mentors reported valuing their mentee’s cultural context on every occasion throughout the course of the mentoring relationship, while another 27 percent answered that they frequently valued their mentee’s context. 104
  • It is good for mentees to develop a positive view of the mentor’s culture, and 46 percent of the mentors surveyed reported that on occasion their mentees valued their mentor’s cultural context. LAMP mentors felt strongly that mentoring expanded their worldview, as 88 percent of the mentors expressed that their worldview was expanded either frequently or on every occasion during the course of mentoring. The mentors were not so sure that mentoring had expanded their mentees’ worldview. The results seemed to be more situational, depending on the mentoring activities. Nearly 47 percent of mentors thought that their mentee’s worldview had been expanded either on every occasion or frequently. Interestingly, 65 percent of the mentors surveyed did not think that their mentoring of one child made much of a positive difference in the community. Also in the survey, 52 percent of the mentors thought that mentoring helped their mentees to want to make a positive difference in their community. The majority of LAMP mentors surveyed did see themselves as an advocate for their mentees on a consistent basis, as 74 percent of the mentors reported advocating for their mentees more than occasionally, frequently, or on every occasion. Most mentors did not think their mentees advocated for their mentors. About 57 percent of the mentors reported that their mentees advocated for them either not at all or on occasion. A strong majority, 78 percent to be exact, of mentors reported that mentoring led to a process of transformation frequently or on every occasion. Overwhelmingly, mentoring transforms the lives of mentors. The results were mixed with regard to whether or not the mentors thought their mentoring relationship led to a process of transformation for their mentees. Some 34 percent of mentors thought that mentoring led to transformation more than occasionally, while 34 percent of the mentors 105
  • thought it happened frequently or on every occasion. Either way, there is little doubt that over the course of time the majority of LAMP mentees are positively impacted by a process of transformation in their lives. Interviews Five significant general findings emerged from all of the interviews in Pittsburgh and Honduras. The first finding focused on significant ways to transform the lives of at- risk youth. The second finding focused on the keys to mobilizing faith-based mentors. The third focused on the various obstacles to faith-based mentoring. The fourth finding focused on the hopes and dreams of at-risk youth, and the fifth finding focused on suggestions from at-risk youth. These collective findings provide a window into how faith-based mentoring transforms the lives of at-risk youth. Efforts aimed at impacting at-risk youth should be focused on transformation. Table 1 shows the most significant ways to transform the lives of at-risk youth from the perspectives of mentors, mentees, policymakers, pastors, potential mentors, and parents. 106
  • Table 1. Significant ways to transform the lives of at-risk youth Interview Responses No. of Respondents Consistent long-term relationships 11 God 11 Education 7 Focus on reaching entire families, including parents 6 The Word of God 4 Partnerships 4 Counseling 3 Source: 2011 interviews with mentors, mentees, policymakers, pastors, potential mentors, and parents. This table comprises the actual with similar responses to the question, “What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth?” Faith-based mentoring programs obviously do not work without mentors, so it is important to understand helpful approaches to recruiting from churches. Table 2 suggests the keys to mobilizing faith-based mentors from the perspectives of mentors, policymakers, pastors, and potential mentors. Table 2. Key ways to mobilize faith-based mentors Interview Responses No. of Respondents Christians must overcome fears and stereotypes 6 Leaders should cast a strong, compelling vision 6 Help churches move beyond focus on spiritual needs 5 Calling from God 4 Engage in long term, committed relationships 4 Generate awareness through education about mentoring 3 Training 3 Source: 2011 interviews with mentors, policymakers, pastors, and potential mentors. This table comprises the actual with similar responses to the question, “What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to become involved as mentors to at-risk youth?” 107
  • Faith-based mentoring is not easy, but the outcomes are worth the trouble of navigating through the obstacles to effective mentoring. Table 3 outlines the obstacles to faith-based mentoring from the perspectives of mentors, policymakers, pastors, potential mentors, and parents. Table 3. Obstacles to faith-based mentoring Interview Responses No. of Respondents People are afraid 8 At-risk youth have many complicated needs 6 Christian complacency and indifference 6 Severe lack of resources and funding 4 Poor education 4 The kids are violent and aggressive 4 Transient child population 3 Source: 2011 interviews with mentors, policymakers, pastors, and potential mentors. This table comprises the actual with similar responses to the question, “What are some of the obstacles to faith-based mentoring?” Assets can be built in at-risk young people in order to help them to be able to achieve their hopes and dreams. Table 4 points out the hopes and dreams of at-risk youth from the perspectives of mentees and potential mentees living in complex urban environments. Table 4. Hopes and dreams of at-risk youth Interview Responses No. of Respondents Grow closer to Jesus 7 Doctor 6 Teacher 5 Lawyer 4 Police officer 4 Learn a trade 4 Succeed in life 4 108
  • Source: 2011 interviews with mentees and potential mentees living in complex urban environments. This table comprises the actual with similar responses to the question, “What are the hopes and dreams of at- risk youth?” Part of the reasoning behind my focus on interviewing at-risk youth in Homewood and Honduras was to give a voice to the voiceless. High-risk youth are often overlooked or ignored by mainstream society. Table 5 presents suggestions about life from the perspectives of the mentees and potential mentees that were interviewed. Table 5. The voice of at-risk youth Interview Responses No. of Respondents Fix your actions and don’t make bad decisions 6 Have faith in God because he changes lives 5 Work hard in school because we need an education 4 Keep your head up, be strong, and persevere 3 Life is hard 2 Read the Bible 2 Love everybody 2 Source: 2011 interviews with mentees and potential mentees living in complex urban environments. This table comprises the actual with similar responses to the question, “Is there anything else you would like to say?” Personal Journal Upon extensively reviewing my blog entries at the website http://bkmccabe.blogspot.com I discovered a great deal of documentation about mentoring relationships that contributed to the development of case studies in the field of faith-based mentoring. The blog journal about mentoring experiences in Pittsburgh was formally launched on October 20, 2008, and 432 blog entries were made between the blog launch and October 31, 2011. The journal entries provided a foundation for the case studies about the various types of transformational mentoring in this dissertation. The 109
  • blog provided anecdotal evidence that faith-based mentoring leads to a process of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth. LAMP Data Analysis Since LAMP was introduced at North Way Christian Community in the spring of 2006, over 800 people have signed up to become LAMP mentors. Of the many people who have signed up to become mentors, 237 actually served as mentors from the start of the project in 2006 through 2011. Of those matches, seventy-four volunteers served as one-to-one mentors; thirty-two volunteers served as family-to-one mentors; eighty-nine volunteers served as school-based mentors, and forty-two volunteers served as group mentors. Group mentoring was an experiment for the first two years of the LAMP mentoring initiative, but that mentoring option is no longer offered through LAMP. Currently, 107 mentors are actively engaged in mentoring matches. Data was readily available from the Pittsburgh Public Schools because all students are in the school district database, and the students in the LAMP mentoring program are tagged so that data reports can be run. The school district had recently pulled together a report for a major funder which set baseline goals for the 2009-2010 school year. In the report, 107 elementary and middle school mentees from Homewood were evaluated with regard to academic performance, unexcused absences, and codes of student conduct. The district set a goal that the percentage of mentored students demonstrating improvement in core academic subjects as measured by grade point average would increase by 5 percent during the school year, and the goal was exceeded because 20 percent of LAMP mentees increased their reading grades and 26 percent increased their 110
  • math grades. The district set a goal that the percentage of students with unexcused absences from school would decrease by 10 percent during the school year, and the goal was exceeded because 49 percent of LAMP mentees showed a decrease in unexcused absences. The district set a goal that the number of students who violated one or more codes of student conduct would decrease by 10 percent during the school year, and the goal was exceeded as 58 percent of the students showed a reduction in misconduct. Desired Outcomes The desired outcome of the project is that the research would find that faith-based mentoring leads to transformation in the lives of at-risk youth. Organizations seeking to impact at-risk youth would build on the findings by establishing and strengthening faith- based mentoring initiatives. The concept of transformational mentoring, emerging from Bakke Graduate University’s eight perspectives on transformational leadership, would be advanced in order to strengthen the effectiveness of faith-based mentoring. Calling-based Mentoring Calling-based mentors stay in their matches longer because of their obedience to God. “The church universal… survives only by giving itself away. If you save your life, the Jesus principle goes, you will lose it. But if you lose it for my sake, then you will find it.”1 Called mentors “are participating in resurrection power. We are sharing in the resurrection of individuals and their neighborhood, community, or city.”2 While calling certainly helps faith-based mentors to remain committed to their matches over time, it is 1 Robert Lupton, Renewing the City: Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal (Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 214. 2 Robert Linthicum, Transforming Power: Biblical Strategies for Making a Difference in Your Community (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 190. 111
  • important to understand that mentors who are not followers of Jesus Christ can also be committed to the matches for a wide variety of reasons. “Community concern and civic pride may compel an individual to volunteer because he or she sees a concrete need in the community, or is driven by a simple desire to show pride in the community by being a supportive, engaged citizen.”3 Rafael was referred to the LAMP program five years ago by several staff members at his school in Homewood. When I was first met him I noticed that he had significant anger issues, his grades were terrible, and he was extremely disruptive at school. He did not have a relationship with his father who is serving a life sentence in prison for murder. The other male influences in his life, his older brother and his uncle, were both heavily involved in gang activity and drug dealing. Mentoring Rafael was rough for the first couple of years. Sometimes we would connect and enjoy one another’s company, and sometimes his anger would escalate and he would try to sabotage our relationship. He did not know how to respond to a positive male role model in his life, and I did not really know how to respond to him. We both thought about ending the relationship many times. I think I stuck with this match because I knew God had called me to be Rafael’s mentor. Our relationship changed when Rafael accepted Christ. He was able to turn over a great deal of his pain and anger to the Lord, and I actually started to see a bright future for him. I could see Christ shining through in the midst of extreme brokenness. During our third year together, Rafael and his family had to flee the state because of his brother’s drug debts. His brother and his uncle were murdered within one week of each other. 3 U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center, “Mentoring Fact Sheet: Volunteer Motivation and Mentor Recruitment” (March 2006), 1. 112
  • When he moved back to Pittsburgh, the first phone call he made was to me. He started calling me every day, and I made sure to spend a lot of time with him considering everything he was going through. The time spent together was quite a strain, but it was something I was definitely called to do. God is slowly healing his heart, and I know God is working through me to reach him. If I viewed mentoring as just another program, then I am sure that I would have quit on Rafael long ago; however, I know that mentoring Rafael is much more than participation in a program to mentor high-risk youth. I have been called to build a long term relationship with him as one of the only positive male role models in his life. The meaningful relationship is indeed a high calling. Incarnational Mentoring Incarnational mentors enter into their mentee’s environment in order to be more effective. Entering into public schools to improve them is an example of what Ray Bakke calls common grace: “Common grace includes a transit system, a health-care system, an educational system, or a sewer system.”4 Gornik adds that incarnational mentors share hope with their mentees. “Hope proclaims – against all the relentless claims that a meaningful future is not possible, and against the constant agonies of suffering – that because of the cross and the resurrection, tomorrow can be different from today.”5 Even though it is important for mentors to enter into their mentee’s context incarnationally, mentors should be careful not to become too immersed. Mentoring program coordinators must be sure to provide appropriate oversight to incarnational mentors. The Mentoring Fact Sheet supports this assumption: 4 Ray Bakke and John Sharpe, Street Signs: A New Direction in Urban Ministry (Birmingham,AL: New Hope Publishers, 2006), 113. 5 Mark Gornik, To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2002), 234. 113
  • Mentors are naturally invested in making a difference in the lives of their mentee. However, despite your best efforts to explain the need for boundaries in the relationship, mentors may become too involved in the life of the mentee and his or her family. Mentors who regularly visit the child’s home, take siblings with them on outings, or try to solve family problems are putting your program – and themselves – at risk.6 Tyran is a sixteen year old mentee in the LAMP program. He lives in Homewood, and he is essentially homeless because he bounces around from house to house finding shelter with various friends and relatives. He is resourceful, resilient, creative, and he has a great outgoing personality that attracts people to him as a leader. In the past, Tyran has used those natural leadership skills in negative ways in order to meet his own needs. At one point he sold drugs, stole property, and vandalized vacant buildings. He led other kids in the neighborhood to get caught up in those things. Since Tyran spends so much time walking around his neighborhood, and bouncing around between friends, he comes into contact with many men in his neighborhood who have sought to involve him in leadership in local gangs. He has seemingly constant pressure on him to sell and use drugs, simply because so many of his friends and relatives are fully immersed in the drug culture in Homewood. When I first started mentoring Tyran, it was nearly impossible to keep up with him on a weekly basis. He missed a lot of school, so it was never a sure bet that he was going to be there on our mentoring days for me to pick him up. He did not have a cell phone, and there was no way to reach him by phone at any of the houses where he commonly slept. Dropping him off after the mentoring time was another significant challenge. He seemed to want to be dropped off at a different house every week. It has always been my practice as a mentor to make sure the mentees actually make it into their 6 U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center, “Mentoring Fact Sheet: Managing Risk After the Match Is Made” (August 2006), 3-4. 114
  • houses after I drop them off, and with Tyran he would often be turned away from the houses where he asked me to try to take him. Eventually somebody would end up taking him in, but there was rarely any consistency in his life. Two significant breakthroughs happened in my mentoring relationship with Tyran. First, he was able to get a cell phone so that when I needed to contact him he would be available to tell me where I could find him. It was still difficult to track him down, though, so the second breakthrough happened when I moved to Homewood. Tyran was now able to walk to my house, which helped us tremendously in being more consistent with spending time together. As an incarnational mentor, I also tried to be more intentional about finding him in his neighborhood and spending time with him there. We started utilizing the Homewood YMCA. My goal was simply to spend more time with Tyran in his context as much as I could so that I could connect with him more often. That strategy really paid off. He has shown remarkable progress with his life. He is doing well in school, staying out of trouble, and he has accepted Christ into his life. Reflective Mentoring Reflective mentors focus on the meaning that is found within the relationship. Mentors could arrive at transformation in their lives and in their mentees’ lives through reflection. “The goal of the church’s holistic outreach is the transformation of people, communities, and society for the glory of God. For God to work through us in this mission requires that we first, and continually, allow him to transform us.”7 Sometimes adults fall into relationships with young people that are inauthentic, usually as a result of something called “adultism.” “A powerful underlying reason for non-authentic youth 7 Sider, Olson, and Unruh, 142. 115
  • engagement is adultism – the behavior and attitudes that flow out of negative stereotypes adults hold about young people. Adultism is rooted in the belief that young people lack intelligence or ability. This belief is strongly supported by societal norms which leave young people feeling that they are not valued, respected, or heard. Even adults who deeply care for young people may have internalized these misconceptions and may not be aware that they are behaving in an adultism manner.”8 Just like any group of people in society, high-risk youth have a wide variety of unique personalities. Hence, some LAMP mentees are extremely outgoing; some are extremely introverted, and others are every other type of personality in between. Andrew is an example of a mentee who happens to be extremely extroverted. He talks a lot, and when he is with a group of kids he is usually the conversation starter and center of attention. One of Andrew’s best friends, Tyree, is introverted. He does not talk very much, although every once in a while in a group setting he will jump in with a comment. For the past three years I have served as a school-based mentor to Andrew and Tyree. I try to be intentional about spending one-on-one mentoring time with each of them, but I also spend time with them together during lunch at their school. Reflection is a crucial component of the time that I spend with both Andrew and Tyree. Since Andrew is outgoing, he verbally processes through the experiences that happen in his life. If he is having family problems or struggles with his relationships at school, when he spends time with me he just starts running on and on about those issues. I listen to what he is saying, and I help him to reflect on what he is dealing with in his life. I ask him reflective questions that make him think more deeply. We often stumble 8 ACT for Youth Center for Excellence, “Authentic Youth Engagement,” http://www.actforyouth.net/youth_development/engagement/authentic.cfm (accessed August 25, 2011). 116
  • upon teachable moments when I practice reflective mentoring with him. On the other hand, if I did not pay attention during my time with Tyree we would probably go months without having any meaningful reflection time about life. I ask him open ended questions to help him reflect about the meaning of the things he experiences. The quality mentoring moments can only be discovered with purposeful intentionality on my part as the mentor. If I viewed our mentoring relationship as simply a program or a way to give back to the community, as many mentoring programs do, I might have become frustrated with both of these mentoring matches and given up prematurely. Instead, I discovered that proactive reflective mentoring has led to a more transformational mentoring experience for both mentors and mentees. Beyond helping mentees to reflect, it is also important for mentors to reflect on how the mentoring experience might be transforming their own lives. When mentors give time to others in service for Christ, they are stretched in many good ways. Without reflection, mentors might become overwhelmed by the match pressures. Although mentors should not try to control the outcomes of the match, mentors can be more or less effective depending on their own consistent behavior over time. Just as with any long term relationship, change is necessary over time. Reflective mentors navigate the ever changing dynamics of mentoring relationships with high-risk youth because they regularly assess how they are connecting with their mentee. Servant Mentoring Servant mentors want to serve God, and as a result, serve their mentees. “People of faith reach out to others because they have received divine love and they share it with others in gratitude. Those who do so enter into a reciprocal relationship that changes not 117
  • only the person who receives, but also the one who gives.”9 Servant mentors share their lives with their mentees because “The Christian life envisions a communal life.”10 Servant mentors are able to stand the test of time. “Unlike many forms of volunteering – such as cleaning up a neighborhood or helping with an event – the impact of mentoring is not seen immediately… Because mentoring relationships take time to gain momentum, it is critical that mentors have patience and the ability to work through any difficult stretches.”11 Catrell was the first mentee I was matched with in Homewood. He had shown some signs of being somewhat disruptive at his school, so the staff recommended him to LAMP. For our first few months together, I was actually wondering why he needed a mentor. His grades seemed to be good, and his behavior was not too bad relative to some other boys I had met in his school. We met every week over the summer, and one of the things I noticed was that he never thanked me for spending time with him. When I would drop him off at his apartment, he would just get out of the car and walk to his house without ever looking back. When the school year started, I actually thought that my influence on him was making him worse. He was suspended for nine days during that fifth grade year of school, and his grades dropped dramatically from what they had been before he was matched with me. I was not sure if he would want to go on for another year when it came time for our one year celebration. I did not know if he enjoyed our time together or not 9 Barbara Elliott, Street Saints: Renewing American Cities (West Conshohocken, PA: Temple Foundation Press, 2004), 255. 10 Charles Dahm, Parish Ministry in a Hispanic Community (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2004), 68. 11 U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center, “Mentoring Fact Sheet: Overcoming Relationship Pitfalls” (July 2006), 1. 118
  • because he rarely showed any kind of appreciation. Still, I did not feel released from our match. God had called me to mentor Catrell, and as a servant of the Lord I was called to serve him with my time and energy. The second year of the match was even worse. His grades dropped even more, and he was in danger of being held back because of the number of days he was suspended that year. I still could not tell if he liked having a mentor or not. I felt like a failure. At one point during our third year together, Catrell got into a fight while playing laser tag with one of the other boys in the LAMP program. I had to take him home, and on the car ride to his house I remember thinking that it was not worth it to mentor him anymore. It was just too much trouble. He was very upset with me for taking him home after the fight, and he kept telling me, “I hate you. I hate this mentoring program. I never want to see you again.” When we got to his house, he slammed the car door and stormed into his house. I called my mentoring supervisor to explain what had happened, and I informed her that this was probably the end of the match. It was apparent to me that Catrell did not want anything to do with this relationship. In my mind, mentoring him was a thankless task and it was only making him worse, anyway. A funny thing happened, though. The mentoring supervisor disagreed with me. She told me that as a follower of Christ, I should die to myself and allow Christ to shine through me. She told me to serve Catrell by showing up the following week to pick him up, so that’s exactly what I did. He was completely shocked when I showed up to pick him up, and we talked briefly about what had happened the previous week. He apologized, and we went out together for our mentoring time. It was one of the best mentoring times we have ever had together. 119
  • During our third year together, Catrell’s grades and behavior at school improved dramatically. He has only been suspended one time during our past two years together, and he is now in his sophomore year of high school with good grades. He still rarely thanks me for the time that we spend together, and I am completely fine with that. God has called me to serve Catrell even if I do not experience much out of the relationship. I know that the mentoring is benefiting him. If I were simply volunteering in a mentoring program, I might have given up on the relationship with Catrell long ago. Instead, as a servant mentor, God is working through me to make the mentoring match a more transformational experience. Contextual Mentoring Contextual mentors help their mentees identify assets and find meaning in their own histories. “In the context of the poor, attentiveness to historical structures can be a means of acknowledging that individuals have some self-efficacy and control over their lives, despite being saddled with hardships and inequity.”12 Contextual mentors could help mentees contribute back to their communities because many “young people yearn to contribute meaningfully to their community and can be seen to flourish when they are given the opportunity to do so.”13 One of the boys I mentor happens to live on a street corner in Homewood that experiences a high level of crime, including prostitution and drug dealing. Every time he walks out his front door to go to school, head to the YMCA, or hang out with friends, he is forced to walk right through the visual signs of addiction. He comes from a big family 12 Sudhir Venkatesh, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 284. 13 John McKnight and Jody Kretzman, Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets (Shokie, IL: ACTA Publications, 1997), 30. 120
  • with many siblings under the same roof, but he is very resilient. When I first started spending time with him while he was in sixth grade, he was considered by his school in Homewood to be at high-risk to drop out because he had demonstrated so many behavioral problems at school. Now, he is in his junior year of high school in Homewood. His grades are solid, and he stars at baseball and basketball for his school. Over the course of time, Steffon accepted Christ into his life, yet, he lives in a constant struggle to integrate his faith in Christ with the harsh realities of his life. I have had a difficult time connecting him to a church. He has not been able to find a Homewood church where he feels accepted, and my church seems to be too culturally different for him. So, as a mentor, I serve as one of the only Christians to speak regularly into Steffon’s walk with Christ. We talk often about life and what it means to follow Christ. Contextualization is an important part of my role in Steffon’s life. I am still looking for a local church for him, but I am discipling him in his context for the time being. I must be very careful to help him navigate through the struggles in his neighborhood. He can thrive at home, at school, and in his neighborhood that is filled with all kinds of illegal activity. I need to continue to connect him with a relationship with the Lord that is culturally appropriate. That concept guides where I choose to take him during our time together, and how much time I choose to spend with him in his environment. Transformational mentors help their mentees to experience the meaning of life in their own cultural contexts. 121
  • Global Mentoring Global mentors expand their mentee’s worldview by learning more about the complexities of the modern world. Effective mentors may learn how to understand the complex, global world and then pass that information on to their mentees. “If the church is to faithfully bear witness to the gospel in the global city, it must learn to understand the world and then find ways to creatively respond to it.”14 Derrick is one of my school-based mentees. He has been a part of the LAMP program for the past five years, and when he transitioned to the Faison Intermediate School in Homewood three years ago I decided to connect with him at lunch on a weekly basis. Normally Derrick is a very outgoing child, so conversations with him are easy. We talk about the usual things that middle school boys talk about, such as girls, classes, girls, sports, girls, hip hop music, and more girls. I also make sure to keep up with what is going on with his family and life in Homewood as well. During the most recent school year, Derrick has started to open up about some significant issues that he is struggling with. He is in eighth grade now, and he is starting to piece together his worldview. He made two comments to me in particular that stand out. First, he told me that he came to the realization this year that his neighborhood is a bad place with lots of violence and destruction. Second, he told me that he did not like being African-American. Because of these deep issues that Derrick was bringing up to me, I decided that we needed to talk through his emotions. He was beginning to experience isolation that comes with living in poverty, so during our mentoring time together I began to help him dream about what kind of man he wanted to be some day. I did not want him to lose hope 14 Gornik, 204. 122
  • in his neighborhood, so I helped him to visualize himself contributing back to his own community. I also helped him to combat his isolation by dreaming about how he might make a difference in the world. Even though he is only in eighth grade, he loves to record himself making music. He has homemade videos on You Tube of him rapping, and he has entered several local rapping contests. I am encouraging him to use his gifts globally. After all, who knows where God might lead him during his lifetime? I also talked to him about many amazing African-Americans who have made a tremendous difference in this world. It was easy for me to find good examples for us to discuss, and I think he is becoming proud of his African-American heritage. It is still important for me to help give him a more global perspective on life in order to combat his isolation and lack of self-esteem. Helping mentees to have a more global worldview leads to a more transformational mentoring experience. Shalom Mentoring Shalom mentors are bridge builders and reconcilers. Fikkert and Corbett offer that the goal is to see people restored to being what God created them to be: people who understand that they are created in the image of God with the gifts, abilities, and capacity to make decisions and to effect change in the world around them; and people who steward their lives, communities, resources, and relationships in order to bring glory to God.15 Faith-based mentoring leads to increasing levels of shalom in struggling urban communities. 15 Fikkert and Corbett, 81. 123
  • The U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center confirms this with their observation, Mentoring usually extends its activities beyond the confines of a structured program, reaching out to the community for opportunities and supports. Even programs that are school-based can include community connections through the mentor’s own experiences, special events and activities, and partnerships between schools, community organizations, and other services.16 When levels of illegal activity and violence go down, levels of shalom increase. “Mentoring programs that involve children in positive activities and provide role models beginning with grade schoolers are a critical component to keeping kids from going down a path toward gangs, guns and violence.”17 Shortly after North Way Christian Community became involved in LAMP mentoring in Homewood, the Pittsburgh Public Schools made some difficult decisions to close several schools in the Pittsburgh area in order to adjust to the declining enrollment in the district. One of the school closings dramatically impacted Homewood. The local school in the East Hills neighborhood, which is right next to Homewood, closed and those students were sent to schools in Homewood. A formerly closed elementary school in Homewood called Crescent School was reopened as Faison Intermediate School for children in fifth through eighth grade from Homewood and East Hills. There was a lot of controversy about the decision to open up the Faison Intermediate building, particularly because there are community and gang-related rivalries between Homewood and East Hills. Homewood already had rivalries between 16 U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center, “Mentoring Fact Sheet: Putting Youth Development Principles To Work in Mentoring Programs” (February 2007), 1. 17 Jill King Greenwood, “BREAKDOWN: Advocates Fight To Stop Violence in Black Neighborhoods,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 19, 2008. 124
  • groups and families from different parts of Homewood, and safety became an extra concern with the added dimension of East Hills students. The first couple of weeks were very difficult, just as the communities had feared. Old rivalries ran deep, and students fought each other going to and from school, and also while they were at school. I tried to remain present there as much as possible to help out in any way that I could, but the problems were many and the staff at the school was overwhelmed. The school was not a safe environment. As I reflected on the situation, I thought that there might be a way for LAMP to make a difference. I asked the school staff to give me the names of the five boys in the younger grades that were causing the most problems at the school in terms of class disruption and fighting. I set up a group mentoring program with the boys in which I matched each one of them up with a one-to- one mentor, and we met every Thursday after school for four hours. Sometimes we stayed at school for different group activities that I had planned such as science experiments or playing basketball in the gym, and sometimes we went off campus to visit museums or sporting events. We always had food and fun as our two main components. At first, it was nearly impossible to get all five boys there at the same time. We initially only had one or two boys show up, and it was usually different boys each time. Inevitably, several of the boys were suspended from school or they would just not attend the program. After a couple months, we finally started getting the boys to come consistently, but when they came they often fought with one another. Some of the boys were from different competing sections of Homewood, and some were from East Hills. These boys did not like each other, and outbursts of escalated anger were common in the group. 125
  • The mentors were very patient with the boys during that first year, and when everyone showed up to work with the mentees for a second year they were stunned. However, we noticed something had changed during our second year together. The boys were starting to get along with one another, and they were starting to become leaders in the school to help create a more positive climate there. These high-risk young men from violent neighborhoods with competing gangs went from hating each other to being best friends. In fact, they are –almost inseparable. To this day, they remain best friends. They are now sophomores and juniors in high school and they are on track to graduate. Additionally, these boys are staying out of trouble and becoming leaders at school, with their families, and in their neighborhoods. They are reconcilers between rival neighborhoods. To observe and participate in this transformation has been remarkable. I have high hopes for each one of them. The group mentoring experience that I just described is an example of how ordinary mentors can become shalom mentors. This type of mentoring becomes a transformational experience when mentors commit to helping their mentees become reconcilers across cultures and even across rivalries within communities. Isolation mixed with deep-rooted anger can lead to violence, but intentionally building positive relationships with different people helps to build the capacity for peace and health in struggling urban communities. Transformational mentors intentionally integrate the concept of shalom into the fabric of their match through planned activities and shared experiences. 126
  • Prophetic Mentoring Prophetic mentors help clear barriers to their mentee’s development by taking on broken systems. Rhodes writes, By bringing more privileged adults into the lives of less privileged young people, mentoring has the potential to promote widespread social change. Mentors’ close personal connections with vulnerable youth afford them the opportunity to develop a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced by young people today, which can inspire them to redress social ills and advocate for social change that could improve the health and well-being of all youth living in these kinds of circumstances.18 Christians have in important role to play in working toward justice in the lives of their mentees and in society in general. “The church’s mission originates from God’s mission and as such it must be broad enough to touch both the soul and the body, the society as well as the individual. It must have an impact on the people in their total need.”19 One of the reasons I moved to Homewood was so I could support the many children who are on the waiting list for a LAMP mentor. I wish I had enough mentors for all of the children in Homewood, but the needs are great and few people are called to become mentors. Nationwide, millions of children are waiting for a mentor so this problem is not unusual. In Homewood, Andre is one of those children. Andre had a school-based mentor through the LAMP program for one school year in fifth grade, but his mentor was unable to continue on and his match was closed. Since he really needed a positive adult influence in his life, he was added to the LAMP waiting list for a mentor. He lives about a block away from my house, and he has visited me many times over the past couple of years. I have informally mentored him because I see him so much, and his 18 Jean Rhodes, “Research Corner: Ethical Principles for Youth Mentoring Relationships,” http://www.mentoring.org/downloads/mentoring_1335.pdf (accessed August 29, 2011), 4. 19 Tim Chester, Justice, Mercy and Humility (Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2002), 139. 127
  • older brother has a LAMP mentor so I know his family very well. His family lives on a dangerous block in Homewood that experiences gun shots on a seemingly daily basis. Last year Andre and two other boys from the waiting list who often visit our house were arrested and charged with felony assault charges for beating up and robbing a man in Homewood. When Andre was arrested, his family was very distraught. His older brothers sought retribution against the families of the other two boys who were arrested, and as a family friend and a pastor in the community I spent time with them over at their house to try to deescalate the situation. The efforts seemed to work for the time being, but the situation on their block has been very tense since them. I went to court with Andre’s mom, and while we were waiting she mentioned to me that they had been assigned a public defender but that person had not returned her many phone calls to meet with her before the trial. The trial was set for that day, and Andre and his mom met with their assigned lawyer for just a few minutes before going into the courtroom. He convinced Andre to plead guilty to the same deal as the two other boys even though he had not participated in the actual crime (according to Andre he was just walking with the boys who committed the crime). I tried to advocate as best as I could for Andre and his mom, but it seemed the entire legal system was against them. All three boys, these kids who I knew well from my neighborhood and had shared meals with at my dining room table many times, were sentenced to be removed from their homes in order to serve time in the youth detention system. Having served as a mentor for Andre even though we were not officially matched, I was troubled about his experience in what appeared to me to be a broken legal system. 128
  • His legal representation was terrible. He may have deserved legal consequences for being present when a crime occurred, but I was disheartened by the harsh legal process his family endured. Prior to the time of his arrest, I had spoken frequently into Andre’s life. His future seemed to be clouded with gang activity, violence, jail, or death. I had often encouraged him to stay in school, focus on the positive things in his life, while casting a powerful, Christ-centered focus for his future. Even though this negative outcome occurred in his life, I am planning to continue to speak truth into his life whether he is in jail or not. I intend to do all that I can to reform the broken legal system that impacted a person I care about. Prophetic mentors speak truth into their mentees lives, and they advocate for their mentees when systems let them down. Those dysfunctional systems could be legal, educational, economic, or others, but it is important for transformational mentors to advocate for their mentees individually and systematically if needed depending on the circumstances. Transformational Mentoring Transformation in the lives of high-risk youth can be determined by many different outcomes. The Mentoring Fact Sheet says, Because youth development has the rather broad goal of helping youth make the transition to healthy adulthood, there is quite a range of what ‘success’ looks like. Most youth workers and educators consider economic independence, intellectual and social competence, personal satisfaction, and physical and psychosocial well- being to be significant measures.20 20 U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center, “Mentoring Fact Sheet: Understanding the Youth Development Model,” (January 2007), 2. 129
  • If people are going to get serious about transformation, honest assessments in the field of youth work are needed in order to determine what practitioners are doing well and where practitioners need to make significant improvements. The words of Klopovic et al ring clear, We need to confront our critical failings. We need to ask probing questions. We need to consider realistic answers. And, most important, we have to resolve to move in a productive direction. So let us think analytically and critically about how we currently try to address social ills, especially social dysfunction, with a view to understanding how to do things more productively”21 Faith-based mentoring becomes transformational mentoring when the mentors exhibit some or all of the behaviors that are calling-based, incarnational, reflective, servant, contextual, global, shalom, and prophetic. 21 James Klopovic, Michael Vasu, and Douglas Yearwood, Effective Program Practices for At- Risk Youth: A Continuum of Community-based Programs (Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute, 2003), PI-1. 130
  • CHAPTER 7. CONCLUSION Principles Learned Faith-based mentoring leads to a process of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth through the building of life-changing developmental assets. The keys to successful faith-based mentoring involve consistency and commitment to meaningful relational time together over a number of years. Mentors with a strong relationship with Jesus Christ become transformational mentors because their mentoring is intentionally calling-based, incarnational, reflective, servant, contextual, global, shalom, and prophetic. Faith-based mentoring relationships can, however, actually harm the lives of at- risk youth when the matches are not set up correctly. Relationships that only last for a matter of months, and the national average of mentoring relationships in America is only seven months, tend to cause harm to at-risk young people who experience a great deal of pain when adults that they trust go in and out of their lives. Any type of intervention or support for high-risk youth that causes harm to the people being served should be stopped immediately. These principles hold true for the Learning and Mentoring Partnership in Pittsburgh. The high-risk youth in Homewood who have had faith-based mentors involved in their lives for at least one year demonstrated progress with regard to measurable signs of transformation such as increased academic performance and behavior at school. Also, mentees demonstrated courage and resilience while experiencing urban poverty due to their developmental assets being built through the course of effective mentoring. 132
  • In much the same way, LAMP mentoring matches that lasted for only a period of months instead of years caused harm to the at-risk young people who experienced the loss of the positive adult role model in their lives. These LAMP mentees would have been better off having never been matched in a formal mentoring relationship. LAMP leaders in Pittsburgh must continue to work hard to develop high standards throughout the process of making matches so that the young people being served can have a transformational experience with faith-based mentoring. There is definitely a difference between school-based mentoring and one-to-one mentoring. School-based mentors spend less time with their mentees overall, and they spend less time in their mentee’s community outside of the school. Also, school-based mentors may generally miss time adding up to three months away from their mentees due to summer break. Even though these differences from one-to-one mentoring present challenges, the value of school-based mentoring far outweighs the risks of avoiding school-based mentoring altogether. The results of this project did determine that school-based mentoring can lead to a process of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth. Plus, schools present a unique opportunity to provide a consistent stream of children to recruit into mentoring programs. School-based mentoring matches can often be made much more effectively than one-to-one mentoring matches because the students are much more accessible. For instance, home visits may not be required for school-based mentees. As long as students are not suspended from school too often, school-based mentors should be able to have a rather consistent ability to find their mentees if they are at school. All in all, school-based 133
  • mentoring seems to be a good mentoring option that should be able to continue to develop and grow in school districts all over America and the world for many years to come. One-to-one mentoring seems to be one of the most profound ways through which adults can participate in transforming the lives of at-risk youth. This dissertation taught me that nothing works like meaningful relationships over time, and since most LAMP one-to-one matches have lasted for several years the possibilities relating to transformation are seemingly endless. Sometimes the seeds that are planted by the one- to-one mentor may not flower until long after the matches have ended, but those seeds are still extremely valuable to young people navigating their way through adolescence. The most effective type of mentoring is one-to-one mentoring over time, and that principle has not changed for thousands of years. Another principle that has not changed in thousands of years is the fact that ineffective one-to-one mentoring relationships can cause tremendous harm to young people, so that is something that must always be kept under consideration on the rush for funding involving mentoring programs. Quality of one to one mentoring matches always supersedes the need for quantity when it comes to holding mentoring programs accountable. This project did not point to much of a difference between one-to-one mentoring and family-to-one mentoring because they are essentially the same type of mentoring with one adult principally spending three to four hours each week with a mentee out in the community. Family-to-one mentoring may be more convenient for the mentor since it involves less physical time away from their family each month. Also, the mentees may benefit from family-to-one mentoring in ways that are not as tangible as other aspects of 134
  • mentoring that were examined in this study, such as the positive outcomes that may come with mentees that interact with the spouse or children of the mentors on a consistent basis. More research could be done on the topic of family-to-one mentoring to examine the measurable outcomes that go beyond the anecdotal outcomes discovered in this dissertation. I learned that faith-based mentoring should be successful in the Latin American context. I discovered several assets to this type of mentoring, and several barriers that should be considered before implementation. Honduras has many healthy, growing, service-minded churches that could potentially be a wonderful pool for new faith-based mentors. During my time in Honduras I visited small, medium, and large-sized churches, and many church members expressed a willingness to serve high-risk youth regardless of the size of the congregation. Since there are so many people living in urban poverty in Honduras, people from churches were accustomed to serving the poor on a regular basis. There are many high-risk youth in Honduras that want to be mentored, so there is definitely a need and willingness from the kids to have the friendship of a caring adult role model in their lives. I discovered that there are many stable Christian nonprofit organizations already serving the poor in Latin America, and the relationships are already in place through these organizations to be able to partner with churches and set up mentoring matches relatively quickly. Most of the institutional leaders I ran into, whether they were from churches, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies, were willing to implement faith-based mentoring with the at-risk youth being served. 135
  • As I mentioned previously, there are many barriers to faith-based mentoring in the Latin American context. Ironically, just as affluent Christians in Pittsburgh tend not to interact with poor people in neighborhoods like Homewood, in Honduras affluent Christians tend not to interact relationally with people living in poverty. Part of that problem has to do with fear of being kidnapped for ransom or of being taken advantage of somehow. Safety is a big concern. I also discovered that many Christians have a fear of interacting with high-risk youth, such as children living in youth detention centers or youth homes for adolescents. Again, similar to Homewood, the potential mentee population in Honduras was very transient as many children moved around from orphanage to orphanage or program to program. The kids in government centers tend to move around quite a bit. Implementation may be a key issue to overcome because the pastors, government workers, and potential mentoring coordinators from churches that I spent time with seemed to be pulled in many different directions because they were either under resourced or too busy to focus enough attention on making quality mentoring matches that lead to transformation over time. Focus would be a huge issue as the at-risk young people in places like Honduras have so many needs for such things as a quality education, vocational training, tutoring, counseling, and much more. Mentoring relationships might easily turn prescriptive instead of developmental if the matches are not established and supervised correctly. For those faith-based mentors who might mentor children inside government run institutions, a concern is that there will not be enough activities for them to do with their mentees there. Many of the institutions do not receive much funding, and so there is not 136
  • much for kids to do most of the time. The lack of institutional funding may provide another area where the churches could come alongside the institutions to partner with them in providing activity or mentoring centers inside the institutions. In some ways, these issues are similar to the barriers to mentoring in the United States; however, there some obstacles seemed to be more developed or unique to the Central American context. Applications In order to be effective, faith-based mentoring programs must have high quality standards and expectations for the matches from the initial stages of program design to recruitment, screening, training, matching, and ongoing support and supervision through the entire length of relationships that last years, not months. Faith-based mentoring programs that are effectively implementing these best practices should continue to yield amazing results in their programs because the high-risk young people will be well served. Mentoring organizations, churches, schools, or any other institutions involved in making mentoring matches between faith-based mentors and high-risk youth must honestly assess the state of the matches that are made. If the mentoring matches are only lasting for a period of months, for whatever reason, then steps must be taken to either shut the ineffective mentoring program down or immediately provide intervention into current matches so that those relationships can end up being more transformational for the young people involved. These types of programs will face difficult decisions, because shutting an ineffective faith-based mentoring program down would probably involve losing a funding stream since there are so many resources available currently from funders seeking to transform the lives of at-risk youth. 137
  • If intervention is the determined route for righting the course of a bad faith-based mentoring program, the adults in charge will need to work hard to pursue additional funding and resources so that the quality of the mentoring matches can be improved. The process of changing and reordering faith-based mentoring program goals and design can also be difficult; however, the folks coordinating the ineffective mentoring programs must have an eye on transformation and what is best for the young people at the end of the day, not on perpetuating an ineffective program so that adults employed by the program can keep their jobs. All is lost when faith-based mentoring programs lose focus of the children. In Pittsburgh, LAMP must continue on with the high standards in place for school-based, one-to-one, and family-to-one mentoring. The temptation will always be to focus more on quantity of mentors than quality, but this approach only leads to heart ache and frustration for the at-risk young people being served. Successful matches should be celebrated at LAMP churches so that the amazing story of how mentoring transforms the lives of at-risk young people gets out and more followers of Jesus may become inspired to get involved in faith-based mentoring throughout the Pittsburgh region. Struggling mentoring matches must continue to receive ongoing match support and intervention based on the unique, contextualized needs of each relationship. Match intervention can only be done with the effective support of qualified and well trained mentoring program personnel. With that in mind, as the number of matches continue to grow with LAMP the number of qualified personnel in place to provide match support will be crucial to LAMP’s long term success. That type of approach requires resources, so it will be important for all stakeholders involved at the fundraising level of LAMP to 138
  • have a sense of urgency in matching funders with a mentoring program that really is experiencing amazing results. In terms of applying these learnings in Honduras, Orphan Helpers seems to be on the right track when it comes to setting up effective faith-based mentoring relationships between Christians and at-risk urban youth. The LAMP mentoring and training materials have been translated into Spanish, and representatives from Orphan Helpers have visited Pittsburgh to gain a hands-on perspective of the mentoring model. Four churches have been identified as mentoring partner churches, and several government-run institutions serving high-risk youth have agreed to begin establishing faith-based mentoring. Mentoring program coordinators have also been identified. Although a strong vision has been cast by Orphan Helpers, the implementation step will be crucial. The findings from this dissertation will be made available to Orphan Helpers, and I am hoping to continue on in a type of consulting role in Honduras as they advance their mission to transform the lives of at-risk youth through long term faith- based mentoring relationships. As one potential mentor, Gerson, said during an interview in the Genesis Center in Honduras, “It is difficult to go into the centers to spend time with tough kids, but we need to go and show them the love of God. All followers of Jesus must choose between two roads: the road of Jesus or the road of rejecting Jesus. If we choose Jesus, then we are all called to share God’s love with people who are hurting.”1 Recommendations Since effective faith-based mentoring can ultimately lead to a process of transformation for at-risk youth and their mentors, I strongly recommend that in the 1 Gerson (last name unknown), interview by author, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, June 8, 2011. 139
  • future all Christ-centered mentoring programs should focus on three things. First, faith- based mentoring programs should strictly align themselves with the high standards and expectations for all types of mentoring matches that have been researched over the past few decades. Many of those standards were outlined in this dissertation. They do not represent my ideas or any groundbreaking innovation in the field of mentoring, but simply a set of sensible standards that contribute to the quality of matches over time. Second, churches must do a much better job of emphasizing the importance of faith-based mentoring programs that transform the lives of at-risk youth. Many churches have become complacent, or their members and sometimes even their pastors are afraid to go into tough urban neighborhoods for fear that one of the members will be harmed. The research on churches becoming involved in faith-based mentoring has shown that complacency can be overcome through effective vision casting and mobilization, and that the fears associated with building relationships with at-risk young people are simply stereotypes. The rewards far outweigh the risks in the field of faith-based mentoring, so many more churches should get on board to provide support to the billions of high-risk children in the world who would benefit from having a mentor. Christians have the opportunity to cast vision in the lives of at risk youth. “The most important thing for young people is to have vision for their future, and adults need to invest in the future.”2 Finally, perhaps the most significant finding in this project is that existing faith- based mentoring matches can become even more effective by applying the principles of transformational mentoring outlined in this dissertation. Faith-based mentoring program coordinators and pastors can begin immediately to train their mentors on the concept of transformational mentoring. 2 Saul (last name unknown), interview by author, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, June 8, 2011. 140
  • Followers of Jesus who serve as mentors can learn, and should learn, to become transformational mentors. Mentors can do this by understanding that they are called instruments of Christ in this world and their incarnational presence in their mentee’s community accelerates the impact of the relationship. Reflection on the mentoring experiences is important. Mentoring is about serving mentees from a bottom-up perspective. Contextualizing mentoring experiences is crucial, and their presence in the life of their mentee expands their mentee’s worldview. Mentoring makes a difference in struggling communities, and advocacy is an essential component in the process of transformation through mentoring relationships. I recommend that each of these transformational mentoring principles should be emphasized consistently by church and program leaders involved in impacting the lives of tough kids in complex urban environments. Other Final Conclusions The main focus of this project has been how faith-based mentoring leads to a process of transformation in the lives of at-risk youth. Beyond the examination of faith- based mentoring initiatives, this project also briefly examined other issues including church and school partnerships, urban and suburban partnerships, cross-cultural relationships, and the impact of incarnational leadership on faith-based mentoring program outcomes. Church and School Partnerships The positive outcomes related to LAMP demonstrate that churches and schools can partner successfully over long periods of time. These types of partnerships can be a 141
  • very effective means through which to support the process of transformation in at-risk young people. There are barriers to successful church and school partnerships. One barrier for North Way Christian Community was that initially in the partnership we did not have a clear understanding of what our role in the school was supposed to be. In the early months and years of school-based mentoring partnership, some LAMP mentors spent a great deal of relational time with children while others seemed to become caught up in the brokenness of the school and therefore became involved in tutoring children or serving as classroom aides to the teachers. While strong relationships with teachers are helpful to the overall health and development of school-based mentoring partnerships, it is much more important for mentors to focus on relationships with mentees than with teachers. School-based mentoring programs must be careful to avoid mission drift because there are so many signs of needs in schools that struggle to meet the academic needs of their students. It is also important for schools and churches to understand which institution is in the lead. With a large school district, a large mentoring organization, many churches, and funders involved in supporting LAMP, it becomes quite easy for organizations to lose clarity in their roles. In the case of LAMP, the Pittsburgh Public Schools leads the way on the initiative and Family Guidance, the churches, funders, and all stakeholders have a pretty good idea of their roles. Role clarity is a key principle to the health of effective school-based mentoring partnerships. Urban and Suburban Partnerships The findings in this dissertation suggest that urban and suburban partnerships can be effective in transforming the lives of at-risk youth. There may be times when the 142
  • model of suburban churches supporting the urban churches who supply the direct services to urban people may be the most effective method of partnership due to contextual concerns. I do not want to downplay the importance of local churches relationally impacting the local people around them. At the end of the day outsiders can only make so much of a difference through programs over time; however, there is no reason to assume that transformation cannot occur between suburban and urban people. Most barriers to effective partnerships between suburban and urban people and institutions are generated by society; therefore, followers of Jesus should lead the way in pushing through those societal barriers. LAMP is a wonderful example of a successful partnership between suburban and urban people and institutions. Although suburban volunteers experience an initial feeling of displacement in building relationships with urban people, over time that feeling of displacement gives way to worldview transformation as the light of God breaks through stereotypes and fears. LAMP shows that urban people go through the process of worldview transformation in much the same way. The process of building suburban and urban relationships is life changing for people as they experience the power of God’s love for all human beings regardless of where they have chosen to live. Suburban and urban people are different in many ways, but they have much more in common than they often know. Cross-Cultural Relationships LAMP demonstrates that cross-cultural relationships are definitely possible, and in fact enjoyable, when Christ is at the center of the relationships. God’s love transcends 143
  • class and race. These cross-cultural relationships are extremely transformational for both mentors and mentees. In the way that most societies are set up, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds do not interact with one another very much. In many instances people from different races choose not to interact with one another. LAMP establishes an intentional system through which people of differing races and socioeconomic levels can build meaningful long-term relationships with one another. My conclusion is, therefore, that churches can and should lead the way to cross- cultural reconciliation through the establishment of faith-based mentoring initiatives that intentionally build relationships across cultures. Mentoring is a catalyst for cross-cultural relationships. As one LAMP mentor that I interviewed in Pittsburgh noted, “Mentoring is rewarding and challenging because it requires dependence on God’s guidance to navigate through cross-cultural relationships. The kids struggling in the city are just like any other kids, only they need some extra support and guidance. We can learn a lot from our mentees.”3 One thing to keep in mind, however, is that LAMP provides cultural proficiency training for each mentor in addition to ongoing support when relational issues emerge between mentors and mentees. The struggles associated with cross-cultural relationships are talked about openly, but tremendous benefits are seen that come out of building such relationships. As in every aspect of successful mentoring programs, training and ongoing support are essential. Incarnational Leadership and Faith-based Mentoring It is important for leaders of faith-based mentoring programs to be incarnational in order to more effectively facilitate the process of transformation in the lives of mentors 3 Bob Stanionis, interview by author, Pittsburgh, PA, November 20, 2011. 144
  • and mentees. Mentoring program leaders who live outside of the communities they serve vocationally can certainly be very effective in leading successful faith-based mentoring initiatives. I led LAMP while living about thirty minutes away from Homewood in the suburbs of Pittsburgh for a long time; however, I noticed that my move into the Homewood neighborhood greatly increased the transformational impact of the time spent with my own mentees in addition to the overall health of the LAMP program. By living out incarnational leadership principles, I have been able to support faith-based mentoring matches much more effectively for both mentors and mentees. Incarnational leadership also helps to lend credibility to the program goals because the perception of being outsiders is lessened. Although leaders of mentoring programs can support the success of the matches by living outside of the community being served, I would certainly suggest from my own experience that leaders should seriously consider moving into the communities being served for the possibility that there may be positive outcomes for not only the leaders of the programs but for all stakeholders involved. At the very least, mentoring program leaders must pay attention to the amount of time they spend present in the community being served versus the amount of time they might choose to spend in an office in front of a computer outside of the community. There is much meaning to be found in incarnational leadership. Living in Homewood has been one of the most joyful experiences of my entire life. Incarnational leadership is well-worth the risks involved. 145
  • Final Thoughts This dissertation provided a way of thinking about transformational mentoring. I have been able to make headway, limited to two settings, with much anecdotal evidence and initial research that serve as indicators to positive outcomes in the field of faith-based mentoring. The work could guide others to do more research on the concept of transformational mentoring. This project represents the culmination of many years of experience in working with and learning how to effectively impact at-risk youth. The doctor of ministry program at Bakke Graduate University has been an amazing journey. I traveled to world class cities like Seattle, New York, and Mexico City to learn and apply transformational leadership principles to my work as an educator and pastor. Along the journey I fell in love with my own city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. God has drawn me close to his heart in many profound ways. God has taught me much through the eyes of the many young people I have had the privilege to cross paths with over the course of my lifetime. I have had my heart broken as kids I have worked with were impacted by violence and abuse, and I have had my heart almost beat out of my chest in joy because children I worked with experienced a huge breakthrough in their development. I am forever grateful for everything my mentees have taught me. There are many children in this world who are desperately waiting for a mentor, but this dissertation is basically about the power of one. One God can touch the heart of one mentor to spend time building a transformational mentoring relationship with one child. I believe that followers of Jesus can make a profound difference in this world one child at a time. 146
  • APPENDICES Appendix A. Expanded Answers to the LAMP Mentor Questionnaire Question 1. Do you feel called to be a LAMP mentor? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 0 0 percent 3. More than occasionally 2 6 percent 4. Frequently 14 48 percent 5. On every occasion 13 44 percent Question 2. Does your mentee think you have been called to be his or her mentor? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 7 25 percent 3. More than occasionally 6 21 percent 4. Frequently 10 35 percent 5. On every occasion 5 17 percent Question 3. Do you spend time with your mentee in his or her neighborhood? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 17 58 Percent 2. On occasion 8 27 Percent 3. More than occasionally 0 0 Percent 4. Frequently 4 13 Percent 5. On every occasion 0 0 Percent 132
  • Question 4. Does your mentee spend time with you in your neighborhood? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 12 42 percent 2. On occasion 8 28 percent 3. More than occasionally 3 10 percent 4. Frequently 4 14 percent 5. On every occasion 1 3 percent Question 5. Do you reflect on the meaning of your mentoring experiences? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 1 3 percent 2. On occasion 2 6 percent 3. More than occasionally 7 24 percent 4. Frequently 10 34 percent 5. On every occasion 9 31 percent Question 6. Does your mentee reflect on the meaning of your mentoring experiences? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 3 10 percent 2. On occasion 14 50 percent 3. More than occasionally 5 17 percent 4. Frequently 14 50 percent 5. On every occasion 2 7 Percent Question 7. Do you serve your mentee? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 3 10 percent 3. More than occasionally 5 17 percent 4. Frequently 14 50 percent 5. On every occasion 6 21 percent 133
  • Question 8. Does your mentee serve you? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 3 10 percent 2. On occasion 15 53 percent 3. More than occasionally 2 7 percent 4. Frequently 5 17 percent 5. On every occasion 3 10 percent Question 9. Do you value your mentee’s cultural context? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 3 10 percent 3. More than occasionally 5 17 percent 4. Frequently 8 27 percent 5. On every occasion 13 44 percent Question 10. Does your mentee value your cultural context? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 13 46 percent 3. More than occasionally 8 28 percent 4. Frequently 4 14 percent 5. On every occasion 3 10 percent Question 11. Does mentoring expand your worldview? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 1 3 percent 3. More than occasionally 2 6 percent 4. Frequently 11 37 percent 5. On every occasion 15 51 percent 134
  • Question 12. Does having a mentor expand your mentee’s worldview? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 4 13 percent 3. More than occasionally 11 37 percent 4. Frequently 8 27 percent 5. On every occasion 6 20 percent Question 13. Does your mentoring of one child make a positive difference in the community? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 9 31 percent 3. More than occasionally 10 34 percent 4. Frequently 3 10 percent 5. On every occasion 7 24 percent Question 14. Does being mentored help your mentee to make a positive difference in his or her community? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 13 46 percent 3. More than occasionally 6 21 percent 4. Frequently 5 17 percent 5. On every occasion 4 14 percent Question 15. Do you advocate for your mentee? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 1 3 percent 2. On occasion 6 20 Percent 3. More than occasionally 8 27 Percent 4. Frequently 8 27 Percent 5. On every occasion 6 20 Percent 135
  • Question 16. Does your mentee advocate for you? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 6 20 Percent 2. On occasion 11 37 Percent 3. More than occasionally 4 13 Percent 4. Frequently 4 13 Percent 5. On every occasion 4 13 Percent Question 17. Does mentoring lead to a process of transformation in your life? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 Percent 2. On occasion 2 7 Percent 3. More than occasionally 4 14 Percent 4. Frequently 13 46 Percent 5. On every occasion 9 32 Percent Question 18. Does mentoring lead to a process of transformation in your mentee’s life? Response No. of Respondents Percentage of Total Respondents 1. Not at all 0 0 percent 2. On occasion 9 31 percent 3. More than occasionally 10 34 percent 4. Frequently 7 24 percent 5. On every occasion 3 10 percent 136
  • Appendix B. Expanded Answers to the LAMP Mentor Interviews Question 1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Mentor Response No. of Mentors Making Response 1. Mentoring for at least four years 3 2. From Pittsburgh 3 Question 2. How has mentoring made a difference in your life? Mentor Response No. of Mentors Making Response 1. “Yes” 3 2. Mentoring has changed the mentor’s perspective on life in a good way 3 3. The challenge causes dependence on God 1 4. Mentoring has made the mentor a better person and father 1 5. The little things bless her 1 6. Mentoring has taught the mentor about what is really going on in peoples living in poverty in the city 1 Question 3. How has mentoring made a difference in your mentee’s life? Mentor Response No. of Mentors Making Response 1. “Yes” 3 2. The mentee has someone they can trust to talk to 2 3. The mentee is like a roller coaster with many ups and downs 1 4. The mentee’s mother noticed the mentee was calmer 1 5. It has taken a few years for the mentee to open up 1 6. Mentoring has taught the mentor about what is really going on in peoples living in poverty in the city 1 Question 4. What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? Mentor Response No. of Mentors Making Response 1. Consistent long-term relationships are essential 3 2. Modeling good behavior over time 2 137
  • Question 5. What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to get involved in mentoring? Mentor Response No. of Mentors Making Response 1. Educating people about the impact of mentoring and the need for more mentors 2 2. Demonstrating and communicating good results over time 2 3. Passionate program leaders that live in the community being served 1 4. Calling from God 1 5. Christians need to overcome stereotypes of the city and at-risk kids 1 6. Mentoring has taught the mentor about what is really going on in peoples living in poverty in the city 1 Question 6. What are some of the obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Pittsburgh? Mentor Response No. of Mentors Making Response 1. Obstacle: People generally avoid the community 2 2. Obstacle: People are afraid 2 3. Asset: Several organizations are ready to provide mentoring support 2 4. Asset: Onramp activities into the community are in place 2 Question 7. Is there anything else you would like to say? Mentor Response No. of Mentors Making Response 1. Transformation takes time 1 2. LAMP is an outstanding program 1 3. Many more mentors are needed 1 4. Mentoring brings people together cross-culturally through relationships 1 5. Discipleship is throughout the Bible 1 6. Christians need to go and represent Jesus 1 138
  • Appendix C. Expanded Answers to LAMP Mentee Interviews Question 1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Mentee Response No. of Mentees Making Response 1. Grew up in Pittsburgh 3 2. Grew up in the streets, but staying out of trouble 1 3. Focused on school 1 4. Working hard 1 Question 2. What is life like for you in Pittsburgh? Mentee Response No. of Mentees Making Response 1. Good 2 2. Alright, staying out of trouble 1 3. Working 1 4. School takes up a lot of time 1 Question 3. How has having a mentor made a difference in your life? Mentee Response No. of Mentees Making Response 1. A good influence that teaches the mentee how to be a man 2 2. Mentoring gives the mentee someone to talk to 2 3. Mentoring helps the mentee to clear their mind from all of the drama for a few hours each week 1 4. Having a mentor keeps the mentee out of trouble in the streets 1 5. Started going to church 1 6. Introduced to new experiences 1 Question 4. What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? Mentee Response No. of Mentees Making Response 1. Go into the kids’ communities and get to know them 2 2. Get them jobs and working experience 1 3. Teach kids to be dedicated to something 1 4. Talk to kids one-on-one 1 139
  • Question 5. What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Mentee Response No. of Mentees Making Response 1. Be a success 1 2. Start a mentoring program someday to give back to the community 1 3. Rapper or NFL player 1 4. Military after high school 1 Question 6. Is there anything else you would like to say? Mentee Response No. of Mentees Making Response 1. Work hard in school while you’re young 2 2. Try to do things right the first time, because the second time around is much more difficult 1 3. Keep your head up 1 4. Don’t make bad choices in life 1 5. Don’t do drugs 1 140
  • Appendix D. Expanded Answers to Honduras Policymaker Interviews Question 1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Policymaker Response No. of Policymakers Making Response 1. Executive director 4 2. Education administrator 1 3. Child psychologist 1 4. Counselor 1 Question 2. Can you tell me about your organization? Policymaker Response No. of Policymakers Making Response 1. Orphanage 4 2. Educate children 4 3. Many social programs (holistic) 3 4. Counseling 2 5. Educate parents 1 Question 3. What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? Policymaker Response No. of Policymakers Making Response 1. Education 3 2. God and church engagement 3 3. Counseling 2 4. Relationships with children, not programs 2 5. Adding structure to lives 1 6. God 1 7. Microbusiness 1 8. Partnerships 1 9. Empowerment 1 10. Reach entire families 1 141
  • Question 4. What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to become involved as mentors to at-risk youth in Honduras? Policymaker Response No. of Policymakers Making Response 1. Training for mentors 2 2. Mentors provide spiritual support, but little else 2 3. Overcoming fear 2 4. Churches are too internally focused 1 5. Generate awareness of the kids 1 6. Identify passionate leaders 1 Question 5. What are some of the obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Honduras? Policymaker Response No. of Policymakers Making Response 1. Obstacle: Severe lack of resources and funding 4 2. Obstacle: The kids have many complicated needs 3 3. Obstacle: Class differences 2 4. Obstacle: Adults are afraid of gang and violence problems 2 5. Obstacle: Transient child population 2 6. Obstacle: Poor education 2 7. Obstacle: Indifference because people don’t care 1 8. Obstacle: Mentoring programs would get lost in everything 1 9. Obstacle: Lack of high quality mentors 1 10. Obstacle: Lack of structure in the institutions 1 11. Obstacle: Lack of space in the institutions 1 12. Asset: Children would be very open to mentoring 1 Question 6. Is there anything else you would like to say? Policymaker Response No. of Policymakers Making Response 1. Desperate for many more resources for the kids 3 2. Focus on reaching the highest risk kids first 2 3. Need long term commitments from churches 2 4. The only way to get out of a gang is through the church 1 5. The kids need more sports and activities 1 6. The relational possibilities are exciting 1 142
  • Appendix E. Expanded Answers to Honduras Pastor Interviews Question 1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Pastor Response No. of Pastors Making Response 1. Pastors to at-risk children 5 2. Enter into the kids’ environment (incarnational leaders) 5 3. School administrator 1 4. Started by feeding poor children 1 5. Works with medical brigades 1 Question 2. Can you tell me about the at-risk children you serve? Pastor Response No. of Pastors Making Response 1. The kids have many needs (holistic) 3 2. The kids experience poverty 2 3. The kids need God 2 4. The kids come from dysfunctional families 1 5. The kids are better one day, then worse the next 1 Question 3. What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? Pastor Response No. of Pastors Making Response 1. God 5 2. The transforming power of the Word of God 3 3. Long term relationships 3 4. Partnerships with churches 1 5. Counseling 1 6. Parent Engagement 1 7. A mix of social and psychological intervention 1 143
  • Question 4. What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to become involved as mentors to at-risk youth in Honduras? Pastor Response No. of Pastors Making Response 1. Long term committed relationships 4 2. Cast strong vision to go 3 3. Calling 2 4. Churches must overcome fears 1 5. Christians must learn to see past the spiritual needs of the kids 1 Question 5. What are some of the obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Honduras? Pastor Response No. of Pastors Making Response 1. Obstacle: The kids have many needs 3 2. Asset: Faith-based mentors have faith in God 3 3. Obstacle: The kids are violent and aggressive 2 4. Asset: The only way kids can get out of a gang is through church 2 5. Obstacle: Many churches are affluent and complacent 1 Question 6. Is there anything else you would like to say? Pastor Response No. of Pastors Making Response 1. Work with at-risk youth is a calling 3 2. The kids need many resources (holistic approach) 2 3. Transformation is a process that takes time 2 4. Focus on following the kids for a long period of time 1 144
  • Appendix F. Expanded Answers to the Honduras Potential Mentors Interviews Question 1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Potential Mentor Response No. of Potential Mentors Making Response 1. They work for nonprofit organizations 4 2. They were high-risk youth growing up 2 3. Experienced transformation through Christ 2 Question 2. If you grew up as an at-risk youth, what was the process of transformation like for you? Potential Mentor Response No. of Potential Mentors Making Response 1. They did not grow up as at-risk youth 4 2. Christ changed their lives, but it was still difficult 2 Question 3. What is the most significant way to transform the lives of at-risk youth? Potential Mentor Response No. of Potential Mentors Making Response 1. God 4 2. Education 3 3. Consistency over time 2 4. Partnerships 2 5. Individual relationships 2 6. Read the Bible 1 7. Patience 1 8. Many combined efforts (holistic approach) 1 9. Job training 1 10. Empowerment 1 145
  • Question 4. What is the key to mobilizing churches and Christians in general to become involved as mentors to at-risk youth in Honduras? Potential Mentor Response No. of Potential Mentors Making Response 1. Cast a compelling vision to get involved 3 2. Don’t just focus on spiritual needs 2 3. Overcome fears and boundaries 2 4. Emphasize calling 1 5. Training 1 6. Christians must choose between following the world or following Christ 1 Question 5. What are some of the obstacles and assets to faith-based mentoring in Honduras? Potential Mentor Response No. of Potential Mentors Making Response 1. Obstacle: Fear of interacting with tough kids 3 2. Obstacle: Overcome complacency 2 3. Asset: A little help makes a big difference 2 4. Asset: God’s unconditional love 1 5. Asset: God works through mentors 1 6. Obstacle: Churches are not familiar with mentoring 1 7. Asset: Scriptures compel Christians to serve 1 8. Obstacle: Transient mentee population 1 9. Obstacle: Mentors and mentees could fall back into old lifestyles 1 Question 6. Is there anything else you would like to say? Potential Mentor Response No. of Potential Mentors Making Response 1. It is important to be empowered by God when getting involved with at-risk kids 3 2. It is important to engage parents, too 1 3. Money intended for kids often gets taken by adults 1 4. They are thankful to God for everything that is happening 1 146
  • Appendix G. Expanded Answers to the Honduras Potential Mentee Interviews Question 1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. They have a relationship with Jesus 14 2. Nothing about themselves 10 3. They came from broken families 7 4. They had committed crimes 5 5. They were in juvenile detention centers 5 6. They grew up in poverty 1 7. They had been to church 1 8. They had experienced abuse 1 Question 2. What is life like for you in Honduras? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. Play 12 2. Devotions 10 3. Classes 9 4. Eat 9 5. Sleep 7 6. Cleaning 4 7. Watch television 3 8. Picked on by other kids 3 9. Pick on other kids 2 10. Wash clothes 2 11. Fighting 1 12. Drawing and painting 1 13. Attend church 1 147
  • Question 3. What activities do you like to do? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. Play games 10 2. Sports 8 3. Classes 5 4. Talk about God 4 5. Study 4 6. Pray 4 7. Devotions 3 8. Television 3 9. Computer time 2 10. Cleaning 2 11. Crafts 2 12. Drawing and painting 2 13. Eat 2 14. Worship time 1 15. Tease kids 1 16. Read 1 17. Cooking 1 Question 4. Do you have any friends here? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. Yes 17 2. No 7 3. No response 5 Question 5. Do you receive any visitors? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. Yes 16 2. No 11 3. No response 1 Question 6. Would you like to spend time with an adult friend from a local church if they came to visit you every week? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. Yes 27 2. No 1 3. No response 1 148
  • Question 7. What would you say to people who might be afraid to come and spend time with you? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. Come, we need you 7 2. No response 7 3. They need spiritual guidance 5 4. Read the Bible with them 2 5. Do not be afraid 2 6. There are many kids in need 2 7. Talk about life 2 8. You might be an answer to prayer 1 9. Do not come, I am a bad kid 1 10. They just want a friend 1 11. They need homework help 1 Question 8. What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. Doctor 6 2. Grow closer to Jesus 6 3. Teacher 5 4. Lawyer 4 5. Police officer 4 6. Study 3 7. Learn a trade 3 8. Improve their life 3 9. Start a business 2 10. Get a job 2 11. Work in a beauty salon 1 12. Professional athlete 1 13. Electrician 1 14. Search for God 1 149
  • Question 9. Is there anything else you would like to say? Potential Mentee Response No. of Potential Mentees Making Response 1. No response 13 2. Fix your actions or you will end up in here 5 3. God changes lives 3 4. They need more education 2 5. Life is hard 2 6. Have faith in God 2 7. Read the Bible 2 8. Love everybody 1 9. Be strong 1 10. Persevere 1 150
  • Appendix H. Expanded Answers to the Honduras Parent Interviews Question 1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? Parent Response No. of Parents Making Response 1. Started a microbusiness in their neighborhood 4 2. Being trained to start a business 1 Question 2. Can you tell me about your children? Parent Response No. of Parents Making Response 1. Kids have major medical needs 2 2. Kids lack access to resources 1 3. Education is a challenge 1 4. God sent her kids 1 5. Kids are really struggling but getting better 1 Question 3. What is the best way for churches and organizations to support your children (transformation)? Parent Response No. of Parents Making Response 1. Empower and teach parents to support families 4 2. Build more transformation centers 1 3. Meet medical needs 1 4. Prayer 1 Question 4. What are your hopes and dreams for your children? Parent Response No. of Parents Making Response 1. Support the family with enough income 4 2. Children succeed in life 3 3. Get her kids out of the community 1 4. Wants the family to be together 1 5. College degrees for her children 1 6. Children become professionals some day 1 151
  • Question 5. What are some of the obstacles and assets to churches providing mentors for your children? Parent Response No. of Parents Making Response 1. Obstacle: Bad education 2 2. Obstacle: Lots of people with no goals 1 3. Obstacle: Some kids may not want mentors 1 4. Obstacle: Lack of safety 1 5. Obstacle: Many bad role models like gang members 1 6. Obstacle: The river floods 1 7. Obstacle: The community is dangerous 1 8. Obstacle: Kids are violent 1 9. Obstacle: The houses are falling apart 1 Question 6. Is there anything else you would like to say? Parent Response No. of Parents Making Response 1. As much as possible, work with entire families 1 2. The neighborhood is not safe 1 3. Churches should provide for many needs (holistic) 1 4. Very thankful for the prayers of the church 1 5. No response 1 152
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY VITA BRYAN KIRK MCCABE PASTOR, NORTH WAY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY JANUARY 20, 2012 ________________________________________________ PERSONAL INFORMATION: Born September 14, 1976 in Pittsburgh, PA Married Julie McCabe August 8, 1998 We have two daughters age 9 and 7 Our family loves living in the Homewood neighborhood in the city of Pittsburgh Julie and I launched the North Way East End church in January of 2012 EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: Doctor of Ministry, Bakke Graduate University, Seattle, WA (June 2012) Dissertation: Faith-based Mentoring and Transformation of At-risk Youth Master of Arts, Fresno State University, Fresno, CA (May 2005) Bachelor of Science, Malone College, Canton, OH (May 1999) EMPLOYMENT: 2011 to Present – Pastor, North Way Christian Community, Pittsburgh, PA 2006 to 2011 – Director, North Way Christian Community, Pittsburgh, PA 1999 to 2005 – Teacher, Corcoran Unified School District, Corcoran, CA 153