When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and schools went to distance learning, we at Catalyst could no longer serve students through our School Mentoring Program. While we continued to foster the relationships we had built with our local schools, district level regulations only allowed essential staff on school campuses. This meant we had to get creative if we wanted to keep mentoring.
We weren’t planning on letting the pandemic stop us from helping kids in a time when they might have needed it most, so we decided we had to pivot to an office mentoring model. We found an office that was perfect for hosting mentors and mentees where we could follow the guidelines and keep everyone safe. It was really important to us that the space felt welcoming and comfortable for our mentors and mentees to settle into. We were honored when Holly Rosten from Cronic Disaster Construction and Restoration offered to come in and help us make our dreams a reality. As Shasta County opened up again and we were preparing to be back on school campuses, we decided that we could make an even bigger impact if we kept the Office Mentoring Program going as well. Since we were growing our list of programs we offered as well as being on many more school campuses, we realized it was time for a bigger mentoring space. We moved to our new offices on Benton Drive as the 2021-22 school year was starting and got ready to expand our Office Mentoring Program. Catalyst now provides mentoring out of our office in the afternoons Monday through Friday.
Our Office Mentoring Program is really just a space for kids to get a little dedicated time with a consistent adult who listens to them and is present each week. Our office is set up to be a fun and inviting place for kids to feel welcomed into. We want the youth who come through our doors to know they’re safe here and that we always see them as valuable and worthy of our time. During their hour, mentors and mentees often play games, do craft projects, or just relax and catch up week to week. We make it a priority to figure out each kid’s needs and make their hour the most impactful for their personal style.