Would the M.U.S.T. mentoring model work in the Foster Care system?

MISSION: Hope Herd’s mission is to first explore the feasibility of using the MUST mentoring model in the foster care system. 

The Mentoring Model

SUPPORT FAMILIES:
Support families come alongside the mentor to help them navigate life, career, relationships and help them to be a good mentor. Support includes  monthly meals together as a family and monthly one-on-one meals. 

FC MENTOR:
The uniqueness of the mentoring model is that the mentors are young adults who grew up in the foster care system themselves. Youth will look at their mentors and think, “If he/she can do it… so can I!”

FC YOUTH:
In coming high school freshman would be paired with their mentor who grew up in the foster care system as well. As with the MUST mentoring model, youth would be in the mentoring program for six years. Hope Herd would follow them now matter where they go in the state… no matter what!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. The main reason is that race is not the near-peer tie that binds mentor and mentee. As we have asked people who are currently connected to foster care youth they all agree that the fact that both mentor and youth have been in foster care is greater and significantly more effective than the bond of race. 
  2. ‘Growing men from the hardest soil’ would not be the main point of the curriculum. As we have read and spoken to people in the foster care system they agree that the major need would center more on identity or value. These differences would mean that our curriculum would be vastly different. 
  3. The cost per match would be significantly higher for the foster care version of MUST. Because of the increased training for mentors and coaches, extra travel for mentors, extra education/experience needed for staff the cost per match would be significantly higher. The two or three years of support after high school would cost more as well. 
  4. Because the need of the hour in foster care is not positive male role models we would not just focus on boys. The foster care version of MUST would serve both boys and girls.
  5. Mentors would not need to be in college. 
  6. Because of the darkness and hopelessness present in much of the foster care system we feel some aspect of faith should be included in this next version of the mentoring model. Loving, accepting, grace filled faith. Not overbearing, judgmental, law filled faith.   
  7. Finally, because of the intensity of working in foster care, the leadership structure or practices would need to be different. Not that MUST, Rick or Kelvin is deficient in any major way, we just think it would be different in this new version. We are not exactly sure how yet.

Before we apply for 501(c)(3) status we first need to know if the mentoring model is a good idea. We (Rick and Rebecca) know a lot about Black history and culture from years of reading and experience with M.U.S.T.. We know very little about the foster care system, however. Until we determine if the idea will work we will serve under a fiscal sponsor. When we started M.U.S.T. first used an organization called New Horizon’s as our fiscal sponsor. 

We get this question a lot. We love M.U.S.T.! It is our baby. Actually, it is more like our teenager. It is the natural time for us/it to move out on its own. Kelvin Washington is an excellent leader and M.U.S.T. is in great hands. We never envisioned leading M.U.S.T. long term and always dreamed of handing it off to leadership that accurately reflects those it serves. Rick will remain very involved in M.U.S.T. through its board.

July 2021 – December 2021: 

  • Round one of fundraising – $150,000. 
  • December 31, 2021 – last day working for MUST (still on the board and very involved, however). 

January 2022 – May 2022: 

  • January 1, 2022, first day with the new organization. 
  • Start learning about the foster care system. We would go through a lot of trainings, meet people, read a lot and visit other models that seem to be working well.  

June 2022 – August 2022: 

  • A much needed sabbatical for the whole Newell family.
  • At the end of the sabbatical we would determine if the idea is feasible and if we feel God is giving us a green light to move forward. 

September 2022 – December 2022: 

  • Start round two of fundraising by raising an additional $200,000.
  • Learn more about the foster care system. 
  • Bring together focus groups to work on the new model and curriculum. 
  • Search for our first Area Director who we would hope would turn into the executive director at some point. 

January 2023 – June 2023:

  • Hire our first Area Director.
  • Identify our first mentors. 
  • Identify our first youth. 

July 2023 – Launch our first cohort!

Between July 2021 and December 2021 we need to raise $150,000. 

If we feel like the model will work we will raise another $200,000 before we launch our first cohort in July 2023.