INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - For adults in Marion County who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, a good friend may be the one thing that keeps them off the streets. Trusted Mentors is a program that provides support to those people by providing them with someone who keeps them accountable.
Four years ago, Julie Pinner, 48, spent a year homeless. Several agencies around Marion County helped her to live a more stable life, and last year, she seized on the opportunity to have a Trusted Mentor.
"The first thing she told me when we met is she wanted to get her GED,” says Wendy Greenwood, Pinner’s Trusted Mentor, when the pair met for the first time in May 2012.
"Then Wendy was like 'you know you can do it, you're smart Julie!' and she just kept on and kept on,” says Pinner as she describes their next few conversations.
Wendy encouraged Julie to take the exam to earn her GED.
“I’ll never forget,” says Julie. “The day I learned I passed the test was the same day I found out I got in to Ivy Tech. It was October 17, and I called Wendy, screaming and hollering on the phone.”
Achieving goals and keeping adults housed is the cornerstone of Trusted Mentors. Adults who come to Trusted Mentors receive a volunteer mentor who provides support to those at-risk or homelessness or trying to reenter the workforce after incarceration.
In 2012, Trusted Mentors served 98 people – some on the track to successful reentry, some on the track for homeless prevention.
“We help them stabilize their lives and help them succeed at accomplishing their goals," says Jeri Warner, the Executive Director for Trusted Mentors.
Warner describes the agencies success rate recently as: Of those mentored, 95 percent stayed house while in contact with their mentors; of those trying to reenter after prison, 90 percent of them stayed out of prison while in contact with their mentor.
“In Marion County alone, we see over 6,000 people leave prison and come back here looking for housing and employment,” says Warner. “It’s about getting them going forward and then helping them build confidence in themselves and then we see their own personal support network expand."
Trusted Mentors is looking for more adult volunteers who they can match to those in need based on age, goals, faith, and life experience. To volunteer, go here.
"I'm here to talk to her when she needs,” says Wendy Greenwood. “I'm here to encourage her because there's always going to be someone in your world telling you you can't do something. You have to ignore them!"
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