In 2021, The Children’s Assessment Center (The CAC) and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church partnered together to begin the HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Empowerment) Mentor Program. The mission of The CAC is to provide a professional, compassionate, and coordinated approach to the treatment of sexually abused children and their families and to serve as an advocate for all children in our community. These children include victims of sexual exploitation and at-risk youth.
The HOPE program was started with the intention of connecting commercially sexually exploited youth (CSEY) and at-risk children receiving mental health services at The CAC with mentoring adults from St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. Through connecting these children with mentors, this would empower victims of CSEY or at-risk with the social and academic skills necessary to live a fulfilling life after their abuse.
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church recruited mentors over the age of 30 that completed various courses and trainings and agreed to fulfill a one-year commitment in addition to a rigorous screening process. The program was monitored by CAC Mental Health Services staff members to ensure the well-being of participants. The HOPE Mentor Program was created to provide these youth with hope for a happy and productive future. At the end of the program, mentors and mentees were able to evaluate the program through a satisfaction survey to determine if the program was a success and to assess further needs of the program.