January is National Mentoring Month — a month dedicated to recognizing the importance of a positive role model in a young person’s life. The goal of mentoring is to inspire youth and enable them to make thoughtful decisions which will lead them to become a productive part of the their community.

The Home now offers Peer Mentoring, an innovative type of mentoring service. Peer Mentors are positive role models who have lived in the Boston community and can relate to a young adults’ struggles.

Alicia, a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) with The Home visits mentees on a weekly basis. Each has a mental health diagnosis and is striving to do better, but needs guidance. “Many of these kids are shy and don’t have a lot of confidence. But I see them open up pretty quickly. They trust me because they know that I have been in their shoes once.”

One client, 16-year-old Jaelyn*, began seeing Alicia just over six months ago. Jaelyn was living outside of her home because she was constantly fighting with her mother. She rarely attended school and her anxiety prevented her from moving forward with her life. Since having a Peer Mentor, Jaelyn has moved back home with her mother and has learned skills to strengthen their relationship. Jaelyn is back in school full time and excited to be earning her high school diploma. She also meets with a therapist weekly to cope with her feelings of anxiety. Alicia continues to reinforce to Jaelyn, and her other clients, that the most important thing they can do is advocate for themselves and ensure their voices are heard by their teachers, doctors, clinicians, and anyone else that can help them succeed.

Mentoring is an important relationship that helps young adults feel empowered and connect them to their community. “Alicia has shown me that I can overcome any obstacle and that I am in charge of my own future. I look at her and I see myself one day,” said Jaelyn.