SOHO calls for mentors to positively impact Virginia youth

Space of Her Own, Inc. (SOHO) is an art-based organization that serves pre-teen girls by providing yearlong mentoring through engagement in life skills instruction, creative art activities and meaningful community service projects. The SOHO program is brought to life through the selflessness of volunteers who bring smiles and hope to youths through their work as mentors.

These mentors volunteer their time, efforts and sometimes resources to a one-year commitment to the program, which fosters long-term relationships and culminates in the renovation of each girl’s bedroom, HGTV-style. SOHO utilizes evidence-based life skills curricula and the National Mentoring Partnership’s model program guidelines.

Room is also made to meet the needs of pre-teen boys by replicating the efforts put into meeting those of the girls in the Space of His Own version of the program. SOHO basically specializes in mentoring, educating and enhancing the life skills of the young pre-teens.

The Nonprofit Organization was established in 2002 in the Northern Virginia city of Alexandria in the USA through the Juvenile Court Service Unit of the City of Alexandria as an effective way to help curb the increase in juvenile delinquency particularly within children from low income households and in response to the need identified by the City of Alexandria for mentoring and arts programs for disadvantaged youth.

Today, SOHO; the creative mentoring initiatives are seeking mentors for the 2015-2016 program, which will begin in September. As part of lending our support to their work, #TheAfricanDream is encouraging all to tell a friend to tell a friend about this worthy cause in an attempt to get more mentors to become a part of it.

SOHO serves 5th-grade vulnerable youth in the Alexandria and Arlington areas of Virginia, pairing compassionate and resourceful men and women with program participants. More than a role model, and more than a friend, a SOHO mentor supports and guides youth to success. SOHO-Space of His Own mentors and youth meet weekly in a group setting to enjoy dinner together and work on an arts-based or carpentry project.

Each mentor is paired one-on-one with a child as they paint self-portraits, build shelves, make clay lamp bases, and much more. Mentors and mentees also participate in a series of team-building exercises to help develop the SOHO community. The girl’s program focuses on the visual arts whereas the boy’s program focuses on carpentry.

At the culmination of the year, mentors pair up to renovate each youth’s bedroom or space using all of the projects that they’ve created together. Mentors commit to attending the program one night a week from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at one of its Alexandria or Arlington locations. The girl’s programs are on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and the night for the boy’s program is TBD.

Educational, governmental and social services organizations throughout Northern Virginia recognize that multiple factors influence the ability of low income youth to succeed in school and in life. These factors include a lack of economic opportunity, of access to after-school learning, community services and cultural institutions that support a child’s development, and the lack of time that adults spend in helping children develop.

Volunteering your time can therefore make a great positive impact and difference in this case.

If you are hardworking, dedicated, and eager to help a child in need, then SOHO wants to hear from you. For more information on how to become a SOHO mentor, please contact Haley Bader at haley@spaceofherown.org or call 703-746-4687. Visit their respective websites to learn more about them too at www.spaceofherown.org and www.spaceofhisown.org

Shared by SOHO with minor edits of Oral Ofori

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