You Are Invited! Roller Skating & Root Beer Floats Event

The Bridges Mentoring Program staff and board members are excited to invite the whole community to join us for an afternoon of roller skating and root beer floats at the CRC Events Center on June 22nd. This event is open to the whole community so feel free to bring your family and friends.

You may bring your own skates as long as they don’t have black brakes.

If you haven’t found us on Facebook yet, give us our page a “like” and connect with us there.

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Who’s Invited: Everyone

When: Sunday, June 22nd, 3-5 p.m.

Where: CRC Events Center
1006 Chestnut Street
Osage, IA 50461

Cost: FREE admission, skate rentals & refreshments.

Free-will donations will be accepted with all proceeds benefiting Bridges Mentoring Program.

We look forward to meeting you! Contact us with any questions or concerns or call us at 641-732-3566.

Meet Our New Program Coordinator

LaceyHelp us welcome our new Bridges Program Coordinator!

Meet Lacey
Lacey is a North Iowa resident who graduated from UNI with a degree in Family Services and Conflict Resolution.

She is a huge Iowa Hawkeye fan for all Hawkeye sports. In her free time, she loves being outside, spending time with her family, traveling, and reading.

She is married and just celebrated her son’s first birthday.

Lacey adds, “I am very excited to begin this new adventure with Bridges and I hope that each and every one of you are  excited for the new things to come.”

You can connect with Lacey by emailing lwaller@nicao-online.org or calling the Bridges office at 641-732-3566.

 

 

There Are Many Ways You Can Support Bridges

We are excited to have trained in six new mentors. We’re working on finding them mentees and plan to offer another training before the summer.

Last week, Pastor Roy of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church invited me to speak at their Lenten service and tell the congregation about Bridges. We’ve had a long history with Our Savior’s since the program’s beginning and are thankful for our many mentors who are apart of this congregation.

Speaking about Bridges made me think about all of the ways you can support us even if becoming a mentor is not the right fit for you at the moment. Here are six ways:

  • Become a mentor

Our primary need is for more mentors in Mitchell County. We have about 25 children on our waiting lists and we haven’t even recruited for new mentees recently. There’s just that big of a need. We especially need male mentors. Many of the children on our waiting lists are boys and some have been waiting for mentors for years.

We ask our mentors to commit to meeting with their mentee for a minimum of four hours a month for one year. Some of our mentors meet with their mentee every week and others meet a couple times a month for two hours. Some of our mentors choose to spend money on activities and others don’t. You don’t have to plan special activities each time you meet like swimming or fishing, but you certainly can. Simply invite your mentee to join you on whatever activities you would normally do such as making dinner, going on errands, walking the dog, or gardening. This is an incredible article recently published in the Des Moines Register about the huge impact mentoring can have on a young person’s life. 

We’ll also organize group activities that are planned and paid for. All you have to do is show up. In the past we’ve attended sports games, gone bowling, and attended movies.

  • Donate money

Bridges always welcome donations of any amount. We are very thankful for our community’s support. Our budget is sustained by significant funding from The United Way of North Central Iowa plus grants, donations, and fundraisers. If you are interested in making a donation, you can send your gift to:

Bridges Mentoring Program
P.O. Box 131
Osage, Iowa 50461

All donations are tax deductible.

  • Volunteer

Bridges could use helping hands. Some areas we could assistance in is planning fundraisers and helping to distribute marketing materials. Let us know if you have additional ideas for ways you could donate your time and talents.

  • Donate Local Gift Certificates

As a new effort, we’d like to offer more giveaways for our mentors and mentee families. Giveaways are a fun way to encourage them and show our appreciation. We can also utilize gift cards as prizes we offer to grow our social media following. Plus, we love supporting local businesses.

Last month, we offered a photo contest in which mentors and families received one drawing entry for a $25 gift certificate for each photo they submitted of them having fun together. Our winner chose a gift card to one of our favorite Osage restaurants, the Teluwat Grille House & Pub.

  • Interact With Us On Social Media

We’re trying to grow our social media presence to expand our reach within the community. Social media networks help us to connect with our mentors and mentee families, and Mitchell County.

– “Like” our Facebook Fan Page
– Follow us on Pinterest
– Follow us on Twitter

  • Put in a Good Word

Word-of-mouth is the most powerful referral. Tell people about Bridges and recommend us to anyone in Mitchell County who would make a great mentor.

Thanks for checking out our blog! We hope to connect with you soon.

Our Photo Contest Winner

We like trying new things.

Online giveaways have become popular, so we decided to have one of our own. Mentors and families of mentees were given a drawing entry for each photo they submitted of them having fun together. Then, we used the old-school method of drawing a name from a hat for a $25 gift certificate of the winner’s choice.

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Emily chose a gift card to Teluwat, one of our favorite restaurants in Osage.

Emily Kuper 1 Blog Frame

As you can see, Emily and her husband love spending time with their mentee. They accomplished one of her goals of building a snowman this winter.

Our mentors and mentees typically meet on a weekly basis for an hour. We check in with everyone and know they are always doing fun activities but thought it would be fun to see some photos.

Collage for Blog

Photos are also crucial to Bridges’ operations for several reasons. As a nonprofit organization, we secure our funding from grants, fundraisers and donations. We also submit grant reports to our funders so that they know we are using their funding effectively and meeting our goals, such as aiming to train 75 mentors by the end of 2014. Photos say so much more than words, so we include them with our grant applications and reports hoping they’ll share the heart of our mentoring program.

We also include photos in our marketing materials which increase our presence in the community. There are over 25 children and youth on our waiting list demonstrating the huge demand for mentors in Mitchell County. We need to get these children matched so we can include even more families in our program.

Finally, Bridges obtains photo releases from mentors and families of mentees. If someone isn’t comfortable being photographed, we honor their request. The most important thing is that our mentors and mentees are comfortable participating in our program.

If you are a mentor or family of a mentee, keep sending those photos!

We had fun with this contest and hope to offer another opportunity soon. And thanks for stopping by our blog. We love sharing our stories with you.

Job Opening: Seeking a Program Coordinator

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Bridges Mentoring is accepting applications for a Program Coordinator. Please share with anyone who might be interested in this position. 

A part-time person is needed to coordinate the Bridges Mentoring Program in Mitchell County.  This program promotes positive relationships to strengthen the self-esteem and social skills of youth.  A bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience is required.

Benefits include: Holiday pay, Paid Time Off and IPERS, Health, Dental, Life, LTD and Vision Insurance are also available.  Applicants must pass a background check and possess a valid driver’s license and auto insurance as travel is required.

Please forward resume and letter of application to: NICAO – Attn: Barb Kellogg by email at bkellogg@NICAO-ONLINE.ORG or mail to P. O. Box 1627, Mason City IA 50402-1627 by Friday, March 28th.  E.O.E.

North Iowa Community Action Organization: Job Description 

Job Title:                      Bridges Mentor Program Coordinator
Department:                 Bridges Mentor Program
Reports To:                  Associate Director of Planning & Development
FLSA Status:                Exempt
Prepared by:                Associate Director of Planning & Development
Prepared Date:             Revised March 17, 2014
Approved by:               Associate Director of Planning & Development
Approved Date:            March 20, 2014

SUMMARY:  To facilitate the implementation of the Bridges Mentor Program by coordinating all daily activities and program requirements while providing oversight of all activities of Bridges Program Mentors and/or staff.  Maintain regular contact with local school district and all community partners including members of program advisory board.  Conduct home visits with families of children matched with mentors, recruit and train mentors, maintain regular contact with all program mentors and provide supervision of mentor matches.  Engage youth as program participants.  Match youth with mentors.  Develop Group Mentoring Program.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following.  Other duties may be assigned.

Research and develop mentoring and other relationship building opportunities.  Coordinate adult/youth mentoring and relationship building projects and activities.

Research and develop group mentoring opportunities and either recruit, train and evaluate volunteers to implement group mentoring or facilitate group mentoring meetings as needed.

Recruit, interview, recommend hiring, train, evaluate and supervise staff and/or volunteers to meet program goals that occur during normal business hours, after hours, or on weekends.

Responsible for day-to-day operations of Bridges Mentor Program and supervision of staff and mentors assigned to the program.

Recognize service needs in program participants and their families and work in consultation with supervisor and/or other program coordinators to address those needs.

Maintain files and document all activities related to the completion of program goals and outcomes.

Collect data and statistical information regarding program services and program participants that are required for reporting purposes to North Iowa Community Action Organization as well as to funding sources such as the United Way of North Central Iowa.

Prepare and complete all required program reports.

Develop and maintain relationships with other public and private organizations and agencies as appropriate to support the coordination functions of this position.  Set up an effective youth and mentor community referral system.

Travel to provide service to families, mentors and program participants; to provide supervision to mentors; to complete recruitment activities; for speaking engagements; to meet with community partners; and to participate in training or staff development activities.

Attend community meetings and meetings with other local health and human service providers or referral sources as well as activities and events organized by North Iowa Community Action as a representative of the organization and Bridges Mentor Program.

Coordinate volunteer recognition and group activities for volunteer mentors.

Conduct quarterly meetings with community advisory board.  Work with advisory board members in planning and executing fund raising strategies and events.

Mail meeting minutes and reminders, newsletters and other written communications.

Complete all required North Iowa Community Action time sheets, mileage sheets, petty cash records and purchase orders and submit to Associate Director of Planning & Development on a monthly basis.

Order and purchase program supplies, maintain inventory of supplies on hand and monitor the use of petty cash.

Attend Iowa Mentoring Partnership meetings, as well as other training opportunities as needed.

Complete mandatory Child Abuse Reporter training every five (5) years.

Ensure that mentoring project meets all standards set forth by state and federal organizations.

Maintain confidentiality.

Provide consultation and technical assistance on developing mentoring programs as well as mentoring relationships to other communities and/or organizations as requested

Operate computers, printer, fax machine, copy machine, telephone, answering machine and other office equipment as required.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES
Directly supervise staff and mentors assigned to the program.  Carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws.  Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring and training employees and mentors; orientation of new employees and mentors; planning, assigning and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees and mentors; addressing complaints and resolving problems; and approving employee and mentor schedules and travel requirements.

QUALIFICATIONS
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE
Bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S.) from four-year college or university; or one to two years’ related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience.

LANGUAGE SKILLS
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to read, analyze and interpret the most complex documents; to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints; to understand and demonstrate confidentiality requirements; to write speeches and articles using original or innovative techniques or style; to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to employees, mentors, administrative staff, public groups, community partners, funding sources, boards of directors, and/or state and local officials.

MATHEMATICAL SKILLS
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to work with mathematical concepts such as probability and statistical inference and fundamentals of plane and solid geometry and trigonometry; and to apply concepts such as fractions, percentages, ratios, and proportions to practical situations.

REASONING ABILITY
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions; to interpret and extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables. 

CERTIFICATES, LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS
To perform this job successfully, an individual must have a current Driver’s License and automobile insurance.  If a licensed social worker – an up-to-date social work license.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; to use hands to finger, to handle or to feel; to reach with hands and arms; and to talk or hear.  The employee is occasionally required to stand and walk.  The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.  Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, color vision and ability to adjust focus.

WORK ENVIRONMENT
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to moving mechanical parts and risk of electrical shock during the use of general office machines.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.