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For Youth

Team Up Mentoring Program

You can make the difference in the life of a child.
You can make the difference in the life of a child.

About the Program

Team Up is an award-winning youth mentoring program that began in 2008. Youth are paired with positive adult role models who commit to spending several hours per week for at least one year with their mentees with the goal of forming a trusting friendship that helps set the youth on a successful path to adulthood.

Seeking a Mentor for a Child?

Team Up believes all youth have the potential to succeed and caring adults can help make that happen. Usually a parent, guardian or teacher will reach out to us requesting a mentor for a young person in their family. We match youth between the ages of 6-17 who need a positive role model in their lives with adult volunteers aged 20 and up. Youth and mentors in our program all live in the South Hampton Roads community. For more information about enrolling a child in the program, please click here.
Young people in kitchen with a mentor
Mentor and mentee at a Star Wars event

What Makes Us Different

Team Up Mentoring is an evidenced-based youth development program designed to support a young person’s successful path to adulthood. Team Up has also proven effective in redirecting young people toward a healthy and productive future.
Mentors make a commitment to spending time with their mentees for at least one year. Our mentor/mentee matches enjoy playing basketball, fishing, watching movies, playing video and board games, sporting events, baking and cooking, making crafts, and attending Team Up group activities together.
Our mentors are carefully selected, and they want to make a positive difference in the life of their mentees. They provide one on one support and encouragement to their mentees weekly to ensure that they are consistent in their efforts. Today, we have a waiting list of more than 400 children in our community who are hoping to be matched with a caring mentor.

Our Impact

Having a mentor present in a young person’s life can reduce risk factors for negative behavior such as substance abuse, truancy and violence. It also fosters greater communication skills and helps develop healthy and stable relationships with families, peers, caregivers and teachers. Team Up has created more than 650 mentor/mentee matches since 2008.

In 2020:

100% of youth mentees showed improvement in at least one of the areas of Academic Performance, Behavior, and Psychological & Social Functioning.
94% of our matches were matched for a year or more or were on target to reach their one-year anniversary.

“Ms. Lindsay is a very caring, positive role model who is now a part of my family.”

—Team Up Mentee Messiah

“Ms. Tina is kind, spontaneous, bubbly, independent, intelligent, and optimistic.”

—Team Up Mentee Tyliyah

Mary Midyette

Mary Midyette

Mary has been the Team Up Program Supervisor since the program’s inception in 2008. Mary possesses more than 20 years of management, research and training experience. She graduated from the College of William & Mary with a degree in business and received an MBA from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She says the success of Team Up is due to having exceptional staff, following evidence-based standards and adhering to high quality standards set by the National Quality Mentoring System. Away from work, she enjoys cooking, riding bikes with her husband and spending time with her two grown children, her extended family and her mentees.

Letitia Carrington

Letitia serves as Match Support Specialist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Counseling from Old Dominion University with a minor in Sociology/Social Welfare. She has been an employee with the Up Center since 2008. She enjoys working with children and families. Her main focus is making one positive relationship at a time. She enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Is my child eligible?

We match youth between the ages of 6-17 who need a positive role model in their lives with adult volunteers aged 20 and up.

If you’d like to enroll a child in Team Up Mentoring, please complete the form below:
Alonzo Parker with two youth
Additional Information

How do youth spend time with their mentor?

Mentors and youth can decide together what they are going to do each time they meet. Some examples of activities our matches enjoy doing together include: reading a book, playing video games, listening to music, gardening, cooking, playing cards or board games, working on an arts and crafts project, fishing, bike riding, playing basketball, discussing the latest sports scene, working on the computer, writing a resume or a college application; reading online employment ads; learning a musical instrument; studying a foreign language; and discussing career options or plans for after high school.

What to expect in the match process Team Up follows quality guidelines and standards of excellence in mentoring. Each prospective mentor goes through a selection process in order to be chosen for this worthwhile and honored role. It includes completion of an application to become a mentor, employment reference checks, an inquiry about a mentor’s interests, character reference and a criminal background check. We also require proof of outstanding driving records and a check with the child abuse registry. These procedures begin a process to match interested individuals with youth who have enrolled in the program.

Is mentoring right for me?
Have you considered becoming a mentor? You do not have to have a background in teaching or youth development to be a good mentor. You just have to care, be a good listener and offer support and encouragement. Other helpful qualities are patience, consistency, reliability, tolerance, and a good sense of humor! We ask that you spend at least one hour a week with your mentee and commit for at least a year. The Up Center provides extensive training and support for mentors and we arrange regular group activities for program participants. Mentoring is a volunteer activity.
Adults who have mentored a young person frequently report improved morale, learning more about themselves and their values, and gaining a fresh perspective on their lives.
Today, we have a waiting list of more than 400 children in our community who are hoping to be matched with a caring mentor.
Lisa Marie Otto with Patience

To submit an application to become a mentor please complete the information below:

Additional Information
Orientations are held the third Wednesday of every month for those interested in becoming a mentor.

How do I spend time with my mentee?

Mentors and youth can decide together what they are going to do each time they meet. Some examples of activities our matches enjoy doing together include: reading a book, playing video games, listening to music, gardening, cooking, playing cards or board games, working on an arts and crafts project, fishing, bike riding, playing basketball, discussing the latest sports scene, working on the computer, writing a resume or a college application; reading online employment ads; learning a musical instrument; studying a foreign language; and discussing career options or plans for after high school.

What to expect in the match process.

Team Up follows quality guidelines and standards of excellence in mentoring. Each prospective mentor goes through a selection process in order to be chosen for this worthwhile and honored role. It includes completion of an application, employment reference checks, an inquiry about a mentor’s interests, character references and a criminal background check. We also require proof of outstanding driving records and a check with the child abuse registry. These procedures begin a process to match interested individuals with youth who are waiting for your support.

Program Contacts

Location: 1805 Airline Blvd, Portsmouth, VA 23707

Phone: (757) 337-3414

Fax: (757) 399-3316

Email: teamupmentoring@theupcenter.org

How You Can Help

Team Up is funded 100% by community contributions. Your donation will make all the difference in the life of a child who is seeking guidance and support. Donations to support program activities are also needed, including:
  • Tickets to sporting events
  • Passes to Latitude Climbing and Fitness, Go Ape, Busch Gardens, Color Me Mine
  • Passes to local museums and parks (Children’s Museum, Aquarium, Norfolk Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Funville)

To see a full list of items frequently requested by families, including items for children, visit our Amazon Wish List.

 

Please email us at development@theupcenter.org if you’d like to help or make an online donation today by clicking here.

Team Up needs volunteers who are interested in helping young people reach their full potential. We welcome applications for internships, volunteer event coordinator, social media manager and mentors. Volunteer or intern with us by contacting us here: volunteer@theupcenter.org.