Reach & Rise Mentoring

The Gateway Region YMCA is pleased to offer the Reach & Rise Mentoring Program, a national YMCA program that is committed to youth development by empowering kids and teens in our communities to help them achieve and reach their full potential. The program is designed for youth ages 6 to 17 who could benefit from a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult. These children are matched with adult mentors who are recruited and trained by the Y to provide personal mentoring services and create safe, healthy, and meaningful relationships with youth. The match will provide mentors and mentees the opportunity to participate in service projects, field trips, and other fun activities. The types of relationships created in this program are important to the development of children because research demonstrates youth facing challenges are more likely to succeed with the support of a positive role model.


Here are 3 reasons why YOU should be a mentor:

  1. Mentoring is fun! Can you imagine being a kid again? Running around and playing games? Seeing something for the first time and being amazed by it? By becoming a mentor, YOU can spend a few hours each week, just being a kid again. The whole goal of being a mentor is to just have fun!

  2. Mentoring is challenging. Sometimes, it can be really hard to spend time with an at-risk youth. However, you'll never go alone in the Reach & Rise(TM) Mentoring Program. Between the 15 hours of training and the constant support of the Program Director, you will always be equipped to overcome any challenge you face.

  3. Mentoring works! There is no better way to give your time if you want to make an impact on your community because mentoring really works. A national study has shown that children who are in a mentoring relationship with an adult are 64% more confident in school, 52% less likely to skip school, 47% less likely to try drugs and are 33% less likely to participate in violent behavior.

The most important reason to become a mentor is...the kids! Nearly 1 in 5 youth live in poverty and area at risk of falling prey to crime, drugs and other hurdles that could keep them from reaching productive adulthood, obtaining an education and successfully entering the workforce. By becoming a mentor, YOU can stop that cycle and change a life forever!


Mentors are a diverse group of people who come from a variety of different backgrounds. Each one has their own personality, strengths and mentoring style. However, there are a few characteristics that all mentors share. They are:

  • flexible.
  • open-minded.
  • reliable.
  • fun.
  • committed to making a change in their community.

If you've got all of these characteristics, a combination of these characteristics, or even just one, then you have already got what it takes to be a great mentor!

Beyond these, all of our mentors must be at least 23 years old and pass a thorough background check.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please fill out the application below and also contact Mike Abrams at 618-233-1243 or


The safety of youth in our program is our top priority. Therefore, we spend a lot of time screening mentors to make sure they will have a positive impact on a child and to help determine which child will best fit with you as his or her mentor. The screening of mentors includes: an application, interview, background check, fingerprint scan, DMV driving record check and 15 hours of training. The screening process is to ensure the safety of each and every child in the program and provide peace of mind to the parents entrusting you with the care of their child.


To put it simply, mentors spend 1-3 hours per week with an at-risk youth for one full year. But, there is so much more to it than that. As a mentor, you will listen to a child who needs to talk to someone. You may teach a child how to play basketball. You may take a child to Grant's Farm for the first time. You may take a child to see his or her first movie in theaters. You will empower a child to reach his or her goals. You will help a child realize his or her's own self-worth. You will change the life of a child by providing them with new opportunities and experiences simply by being yourself and sharing the things you love with them. It is really just that simple. Be yourself. Share the things you love. Change a life... That's what mentors do. That's what you will do.


The Reach & Rise(TM) Program is a 100% free program for families that aims to provide every single child with another positive adult role model. If you know of a child who needs a little extra support and guidance, contact Mike Abrams at 618.233.9485. He will guide you through the process of referring that child to the program and giving him or her the support needed.