Q: What does “Christ-centered” mean for Blossom Care Network?
A: Being Christ- centered means that BCN staff and volunteers model Jesus Christ’s behavior by:
- Serving others and placing their needs above our own; treating them better than we expect to be treated.
- Placing God’s will (not our individual will) at the center of BCN’s mission, deliberations and actions; prayerfully seeking God’s direction by asking the question, “What would Jesus do?”
- Incorporating certain practices into BCN’s events, such as opening and closing prayers.
- It DOES NOT mean any sort of exclusion. In fact the opposite! Jesus was welcoming of all. We accept mentors and mentees of all races, religions and sexual orientations. BCN prohibits proselytisation of young people and doesn't encourage discussion of religion outside of the normal course of conversation.
Q: What is the reason for BCN’s current lack of young people being mentored?
A: The reasons for BCN’s lack of success in this area are complex, but can be boiled down to:
- Location - Until recently, BCN has been focused on using the Blossom Mentoring Center in Arvada. This has been unsuccessful. We are now transitioning to a community-based model where mentoring meetings take place at public places closer to both the mentor and the youth.
- Faith-based - The majority of BCN’s effort has been on developing relationships within the bureaucracy that controls these kids’ lives. We have found that a bias exists against referring kids to faith-based mentoring.
- Communication block - BCN’s attempts to build channels into the bureaucracy have largely failed. Additionally, parents do not want their sons or daughters identified as “troubled”, often making them resistant. Although we will continue to be open to referrals, reliance on these sources has been a barrier.
- Lack of youth buy-in - Until now, BCN has done a poor job of talking directly with the youth that we want to benefit. In the absence of a perceived benefit from mentoring resulting in young people’s willing participation, BCN cannot expect to succeed. Present marketing efforts are aimed at communicating directly with young people where, when and how they prefer.
Q: Who is an “At-risk” young person?
A: BCN utilizes the Colorado High Risk Victim Identification Tool as its official screening tool for youth. If you go over it, you will see that there are a wide range of potential warnings, beginning with the most prominent indicators of sex trafficking, through less apparent enhancers and red flags. All of the young people that BCN works with exhibit more than one of these identifiers.
Q: Where do the young people you mentor come from?
A: These are young people all around us every day. They attend public schools, often in poorer neighborhoods, but many times aren’t successful in traditional academic tracts. They are in foster care throughout our communities. They live on the streets in some cases, or couch surf. It’s not a matter of finding them; it’s a matter of reaching them and engaging them. One of BCN’s principal goals is to figure out the best means of doing this. We’re starting by reaching out directly to kids at schools, churches and community groups.
Q: How long does Blossom Care Network mentor someone?
A: BCN is set up to work with minors in their teens from 12 to 18 years old. So by that math we might mentor someone for up to six years,, but the mentoring mission can continue into adulthood through Blossom Enterprises. Blossom Enterprises works with young adults into their thirties, mentoring them in a real workplace while providing advanced skills training along with job shadowing and internships in a wide variety of fields, with the possibility of paid apprenticeships and job placement.
Q: What are some suggestions for conversation starters when I’m promoting BCN with local churches, schools or community groups?
A: Be yourself. Explore the needs of the group you are approaching while looking for solutions that BCN can provide. Keep it simple. Here's some ideas.
- Introduce yourself and Blossom Care Network. You can use a slightly expanded form of BCN’s tagline like, “Blossom Care Network provides trauma-informed mentoring for abused, exploited and at-risk youth.”
- Make an affirmative statement followed by leading question(s) that identify key market characteristics (i.e. fast growth, kid/family oriented, kids with need). Something like, “This church seems to be pretty vibrant.” or “I can see the impact your group is having.” Then questions like, “How quickly are you growing? What percent are families?” or “Do you know of kids who are at risk or could use a mentor?” or “Are there parents who might like learning more about how to protect their kids from online predators?” Feel free to come up with your own opener.
- Leave brochures and/or youth fliers. Offer options for a next step.
- Suggest a simple informative event for their members that might include some combination of a video, Internet 101 for the Modern Parent lecture, law enforcement presentation, survivor testimony.
- Feel free to connect them with Madeline, Matt or any of the BCN leadership team.
- Be sure to catalog and pass along all of their contact information to BCN’s main office.