Merge Mentoring

Merge is our mentoring program. For more information, or to find out how to mentor a young person, contact Dan Chapin.
Purpose of Merge
To provide the young people of West Michigan with the opportunity to have a one-to-one relationship with a caring Christian adult so that they can be mentored in life skills, character development and the daily living out of the Christian faith.
Why mentoring?
  • There is a 46% reduction in substance abuse among mentored teens.*
  • There is a 52% reduction in truancy among mentored teens.*
  • There is a 27% decrease in sexual activity among mentored teens.*
  • 85% of all youth sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.**
Strategy Overview/Summary: 
  • Recruit, screen and train mentors from local churches.
  • Match/connect kids with a mentor before they leave KCJDC.
  • Support the “match” relationship through:
    • A prayer team for each match.
    • Monthly check-in calls from YFC/JJM.
    • Program oversight from Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).
    • Regular group activities provided by BBBS and YFC/JJM.
    • On-going training for mentors provided by YFC.
Key Players
  • Parents encouraging the full involvement of their child.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters providing their expertise.
  • Probation Officers identifying and referring students.
  • KCJDC providing pre-release access to students.
  • YFC/JJM coordinating the program.
*From a study done by BBBS. Public/Private Ventures, an independent Philadelphia-based national research organization, looked at over 950 boys and girls from eight BBBS agencies across the country.  This study, conducted in 1994 and 1995, is widely considered to be foundational to the mentoring field in general and to BBBS Community-based program in particular.
**Source: Fulton County, Georgia, jail populations, Texas Dept. Of Corrections (1992).