BEST Kids, Inc.

Nonprofit Location: 
515 M St SE #215
Mission of Nonprofit: 

BEST Kids is a nonprofit mentoring organization that empowers youth in foster care to build better futures, one child at a time.

What sets the nonprofit apart from other organizations in the DC Metro area?: 

BEST Kids understands the power of community based, one-on-one mentoring, and advocates specifically for those in Washington D.C.'s child welfare system. What sets BEST Kids apart from other organizations in the DC Metro area is our desire to build and sustain high-quality relationships between caring adults and youths in our program. Unfortunately, foster care youth are often plagued by inconsistent adults - our goal is simply to place one consistent adult in each youth's life. An ideal BEST Kids mentor is someone who a youth can spend time with, build life skills with, and confide in, despite whatever transitions they may be experiencing. In many cases, BEST Kids mentors are the only consistent adult force in the life of our youths.

Each BEST Kids mentor/mentee match is supported by a full-time Mentor Coordinator. Mentor Coordinators assist with keeping communication open between mentors, mentees, social workers, and caregivers, as well as providing consistent support to our volunteer mentors. BEST Kids also facilitates monthly group, age-appropriate group programming for each of our youths and their mentors called Peer Groups. Peer Groups allow BEST Kids youth an opportunity to be exposed to new experiences, as well as spend quality time with their mentors and other BEST Kids youths. Outside of these Peer Group programs, mentors and mentees spend the majority of their time in the community discovering the things they love doing. Some matches spend time at sporting events and museums, while others hike and go to cultural events around the city. No matter the activity, our goal is to make sure that each youth in our program is valued and supported by their mentor, and that each of our mentors and youths are experiencing individual growth, as well as growth within their relationship.

In an effort to keep volunteer mentors and BEST Kids mentees involved in our thorough matching process, both parties will meet with BEST Kids staff in order for us to learn more about them, and determine their match preferences. Our goal is to match mentors and mentees based on similar interests, age preferences of our mentors (our youths span the ages of 6-21), and geographical distance. Essentially our goal is to vet both mentors and mentees thoroughly enough to make genuine matches that fit both our mentors and mentees preferences. Lyle and Michael, our longest match to-date, have been matched for over six and a half years.

Because we are currently under contract with Child and Family Services Agency to provide mentoring services for foster care youth in D.C., we feel especially confident about the trajectory of our program, and the services we are providing. In addition, our efforts have recently been recognized by the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington, who have opted to feature us as an organization in their catalog for the upcoming year.

How many years has the nonprofit been in operation? *: 
14
What kind of help is the nonprofit looking for?: 

Aside from having access to a reliable car, the main requirement to become a mentor with BEST Kids is simply to be a caring adult. There are a tremendous amount of caring adults in the DMV area, and while we are doing a good job reaching many of them, our program growth means we need to reach even more, particularly men.

We're essentially looking for a way to get our name out there - we feel confident in the sustainability and quality of our program, and simply need more exposure in the DC area. Targeted marketing strategies to reach men would be a great help for us, as well as reaching a greater number of adults in Prince George's county, where many of our youths live.

Most importantly, we're looking to work with someone who is passionate about empowering foster care youth, and believes in the power of mentoring.

Thank you so much in advance, and we look forward to hearing from you!

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