School plays a central role in every child’s life, yet it also can be a place where more than just classroom learning takes place. That’s the intent behind Great Circle’s Therapeutic Mentoring program. It’s a two-part program that offers after-school group therapy coupled with community-based mentoring.
Developed as an early intervention tool for children, Therapeutic Mentoring is imbedded in the Ferguson-Florissant and Riverview Gardens school districts. The program helps elementary school-aged students develop positive relationships and build important skills they can carry with them into adulthood.
How it works:
- Students are identified by school staff as needing therapeutic mentoring services.
- Great Circle’s highly trained therapists based in the school work with groups of students two days per week after school throughout the school year.
- Mentors work with students individually and in groups through participation in a variety of community and school activities for a few hours each week throughout the year.
- Students remain in the program throughout the school year until they age out of the group or elementary school.
How therapeutic mentoring helps:
- During the after-school program, students learn ways to develop their emotional, social and academic success. Therapists and mentors guide students through activities to help improve behaviors, manage emotions and stress, and learn how to build better relationships with peers and adults, which can lead to academic improvement.
- Mentors develop individual treatment plans for each student, working with teachers and parents to ensure consistent support for the child.
- Through individual outings in the evenings or on weekends, Great Circle’s therapeutic mentors further help students build real-life social skills and good decision-making. Some outings are tailored to student interests while others focus on providing academic support.
Parent involvement is encouraged:
- Therapeutic mentors provide information to parents throughout the program, which helps reinforce concepts and learning, and provides students with consistency.
- Parents are invited to participate in monthly educational presentations to help strengthen their parenting strategies. Topics may focus on issues such as how to support a child with a mental health diagnosis, dealing with various types of stress, and building personal support networks.