During National Mentoring Month in January, NHF launched MentorConnect, a new mentoring program for parents. MentorConnect is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The main goal is to decrease social isolation—feeling alone and without help and resources--and to increase social support for families of newly diagnosed children.
Experienced parents of children with bleeding disorders will serve as mentors to newly diagnosed families. Mentors will be matched on the needs of the mentees, such as needing information and experience in dealing with school issues or sibling rivalry. They will contact their mentees at least once a month by phone and twice a month via e-mail. Meeting in person is optional, but may help cement the relationship.
NHF is working with these seven chapters, serving as pilot sites for the new program: Bleeding Disorders Alliance Illinois, Hemophilia of Indiana, Hemophilia Foundation of Northern California, Delaware Valley Chapter, Hemophilia Foundation of Minnesota/Dakotas, New England Hemophilia Association, and Oklahoma Hemophilia Foundation.
Sonia Roger, NHF Education Coordinator, will serve at the national mentor coordinator. She will help local chapter staff implement the program and manage an online discussion board to help mentors maintain relationships with their mentees.
Interested in joining? We are currently recruiting participants. If you are the parent of a child with a bleeding disorder who is at least two years old and feel comfortable sharing your experiences, you could be a mentor for another parent. If you have a child with a bleeding disorder who was newly diagnosed and are looking for one-to-one support, you could be a mentee.
Mentors and mentees must commit to the program for at least 6 months and have access to the Internet and phone service. All participants will apply to the program; mentors will need an additional reference or recommendation letter. NHF will provide an online training module for mentors. Once they’ve completed the training, mentors will be matched with a mentee. If you are interested in participating or want to learn more, please contact Sonia Roger: firstname.lastname@example.org or one of the chapters serving as a pilot site.