You’re Always Number One With YMP

YMP photo

The Youth Mentoring Program (YMP), directed single-handedly by Mark Cliffe, works one-on-one with youth-at-potential at Arcata Elementary, Pacific Union Elementary, and Sunny Brae Middle School. In total YMP has ten volunteers that work with children ages 6-12 years old. YMP offers recreational activities, games, and homework help during their services. Each volunteer gets paired with a child during services, “Our program is unique in the sense that we do one-on-one work rather than group services”, says Mark. Mark says YMP volunteers really go that extra mile to give full attention to their mentees for an entire year, “that ideally will boost their confidence…[and] improve behaviors”.

Mark says beginning as a solo director was not an easy task, but he has definitely weathered the storm and continues to improve the program for volunteers and participants. This semester, he hit the ground running when it came to recruiting schools for his volunteers to work at. This engagement has made it possible for both his volunteers and his participants to succeed throughout the school year.

Mark says his volunteers have definitely contributed to the program’s success this last year. He has nothing but great things to say about them and the work they do, “We’re all very happy with each other”. He says the volunteers in YMP all maintain “plenty of energy, a great sense of humor, and a positive attitude...”.

One of Mark’s favorite memories as a director, he said, is seeing a mentor and their buddy meet for the first time and watching the mentee instantly engage and become excited, running off to the playground together hand in hand. This is one of the most rewarding moments for any director, and an instant measure of success. Although Mark often misses being a volunteer and working one-on-one with the kids he says, “being able to be a part of the Y.E.S. House, it makes all the work seem less like work”.