Parent Mentor Requirements
- You must be a parent or primary caregiver of an individual with special needs
- Reside in the state of North Carolina
- You want to provide emotional support and information to other families facing challenges similar to what you have experienced.
- You must complete the certified training program
What do Parent Mentors' do?
- Parent Mentors provide emotional support and information to families of individuals with disabilities or other special needs.
- Parents Mentors provides a safe listening environment and can be a wealth of information to other families (listening is the priority).
- Parent Mentors connect with other families, either by telephone or by e-mail, and provide a kind of understanding that no one else can provide.
- Parent Mentors participate in "active listening" and provide an opportunity for openness in a non-judgmental relationship.
- Parent Mentors DO NOT provide any form of medical advice, professional counseling, or legal advice (you are not doctors, therapist, or lawyers).
Who is a Parent Mentor?
A Parent Mentor is a parent or primary caregiver of an child/individual with special healthcare needs who resides in North Carolina. They are volunteers who want to help other families in situations similar to their own, usually by telephone. A Parent Mentor is a person who wants to reduce feelings of isolation for other families and allow them to benefit from their experiences.
How to become a Parent Mentor?
Parent Mentors must complete Orientation (approximately 5 hours)
After completing the Family Information Form, parents wishing to become a Parent Mentor will be enrolled in the Trusted Parent Mentor Training/Orientation.
How long do a parent serve as a Parent Mentor?
There is no set expiration date to being a Parent Mentor; however, when a volunteer Parent Mentor is contacted about providing support for another family, the first question we ask is "are they able to provide support at this time?" The Parent Mentor can simply answer "No" and we will not ask any further questions. We can temporarily remove a Parent Mentor from our active contact list until they let us know they are ready again to support other parents. Likewise, we can permanently remove any Parent Mentor from our active contact list when requested by a Parent Mentor. We do not require volunteer Parent Mentors to serve any particular length of time. We are a network of special needs families and because of this; each of us, volunteers and staff, have to attend to our family's needs first and foremost.
Why is Parent Mentor Training required?
- Familiarize parents with Family Support Network and the Parent Mentor program, so that they feel confident in being a volunteer representative of the organization and fully understand the role and commitment of being a Parent Mentor.
- Provide time for Parent Mentors to reflect on their own experiences as parents and, in group trainings, share experiences with other parents so that the newly recruited Parent Mentors can...
Develop communication and listening skills to help Parent Mentors use and share their personal experiences in effective way.
- Recognize similarities in parenting experiences even though the children have different disabilities, illnesses, or syndromes.
- Learn about the different emotional states commonly experienced by parents of children with special needs.
- Gain insight into what a family may be experiences even though you may have gone through a similar emotional state.
Share a solid foundation of information about available community resourcesAddress the issue of Care for the Caregiver.
- Learn techniques to use when talking to a referral parent including guidelines for telephone contact.
- Gain information on what may happen when you speak with a referral parent.
If you would like to become a Parent Mentor, please complete our Mentor Parent Family Information and Registration Form.