How to Mentor Children of Incarcerated Parents in Your Neighborhood
Identify the child's talents, and discuss the opportunities he has to use them in productive ways. If you notice that the child you're mentoring is excellent with counting money, talk about how the child should consider a career in banking or running a business one day.
Allow the child to help you with your needs. For example, if you're having a garage sale to clear the house of unneeded clutter, let the child organize your items into different boxes under your supervision. Or if you need help with dinner, let her help gather the ingredients while you get the utensils out.
Get the child involved in various activities. You can bring him to a free arts and crafts class and work on pottery-making together or enroll the child in your library's summer reading program. With the reading program, the child has to read a certain number of books during the summer for a prize. This gives the child you're mentoring a sense of accomplishment.
Teach the child important life skills that are not academically related. For example, if you're mentoring a teenager, talk about how important it is to find genuine friends who will tell you the truth when you're wrong rather than acquaintances who will tell you what you want to hear but may not be beneficial to your well-being.
Tips & Warnings
There will be times when the child may not open up to you right away. The child is wondering if you really care about her, so it's best to be patient and show your concern by your actions and with integrity.
Don't belittle the child's parents in front of the child, even if the parents committed a serious crime you don't agree with. They're still the child's parents, and you don't want to appear as though you're trying to take the place of them in the child's life.