Professional Mentor "Friend" - Antelope Valley (Lancaster, Palmdale)

Lancaster, CA

The Antelope Valley site of Friends of the Children – Los Angeles (Friends L.A.) is looking for passionate, committed, professional mentors, who we call Friends, to support our mission to impact generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with trained full-time professional mentors—12+ years—no matter what.

Basic Function:

A Friend works intensively with eight (8) children as a positive adult role model to develop a caring, trusting and sustained relationship with each child.  For each child, a Friend will set positive expectations; nurture and promote their strengths, talents and abilities; help assure physical and emotional well-being; teach life and academic skills; provide enrichment activities; and model responsible behavior.  A Friend will fully document activities and participate in an ongoing evaluation process.  Friends will work primarily one-on-one with their children while empowering their parents to advocate for their children through an ongoing, respectful, and strengths-based partnership.  A Friend must also know, understand, honor and support the organization’s mission, vision, values, principles and policies, and be able to clearly articulate the organization’s function.                           

Core Job Accountabilities

  • Develop and sustain a long term, caring, trusting and accepting relationship with each child;
  • Spend time with or on behalf of the child one-on-one in the classroom and in the community;
  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with parents/caregivers, extended family, teachers, and others involved in each child’s life; advocating for youth and empowering youth to advocate for themselves;
  • Partner with parents/caregivers to provide concrete and social emotional supports for the family, and links to appropriate community resources;
  • Teach life skills and healthy habits to contribute both to basic development and learning, and to contribute to building positive self-esteem, behavioral management skills, tolerance, respect for others, courtesies and compassion;
  • Develop realistic expectations and goals based on each child’s strengths, talents, abilities and needs;
  • Provide enrichment resources and activities which include opportunities for cultural awareness, diversity and community service;
  • Reinforce basic academic skills and learning;
  • Model and promote good problem solving and decision-making skills to children and families;
  • Participate in the programming and resources available through the organization, effectively utilizing program resources to meet the needs of each child and their families;
  • Maintain spending within allocated youth budget;
  • Complete, distribute and collect time summaries, activity journals, short term plans, expense reports and evaluation materials accurately and in a timely manner;
  • Attend and actively participate in team meetings, staff functions, and trainings;
  • Provide information and support to development team and related activities as needed;
  • Fulfill other responsibilities as required.

Essential Skills and Abilities:

  • Ability to develop and maintain trusting supportive relationships with children, families, teachers, and others involved in each child’s life;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with children in varied capacities and settings to help them learn and grow;
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and communicate appropriately within the workplace;
  • Ability to use creativity and initiative in planning activities to continually develop children;
  • Ability to manage several concurrent issues and solve problems effectively, exercising appropriate discretion and judgment, and under varying levels of stress;
  • Ability to set goals and develop plans to meet those goals to ensure the development of each child;
  • Ability to complete administrative tasks accurately and on time;
  • Willingness to work collaboratively, but with the capacity to work independently;
  • Strong interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to have empathy and a learning posture toward different backgrounds including, but not limited to, culture, race, gender, and religion;
  • Ability to adapt personal experience and skills;
  • Ability to handle high mobility and driving demands safely and with good judgement;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong organizational and time management skills, professional demeanor, and sound judgment;
  • Basic computer and keyboarding skills, proficiency with e-mail systems, familiarity with Microsoft Outlook, Teams, and Access (or other database applications);

Working Hours and Conditions:

This is a full-time, non-exempt position in a hybrid work environment.

Due to the nature of a Friend’s role, the work hours are somewhat non-traditional, and include late afternoon and evening work.  The general workweek is Monday through Friday, with occasional weekend events.

  • We recognize that each Friend’s daily work schedule will vary due to the uniqueness of the role and the needs of the individual children being served. 
  • The Program requires that you see each of your assigned children both in and outside of school and/or daycare, for an average of four hours each week, although how you accomplish that is at your discretion within established Program guidelines.
  • Must be comfortable actively engaging in activities with youth in community settings such as parks, libraries, and schools.

As part of your work with youth, you will transport children in your personal vehicle as required for mentoring activities.

  • Driving will take place throughout the Antelope Valley;
  • You are required to Maintain current driver’s license, good driving record, and vehicle insurance;
  • You will be reimbursed for mileage related to youth transportation.

Education and Experience Required:

Bachelor’s degree preferred, plus 2-4 years’ experience working/volunteering with youth in a social service setting or with families impacted by systemic injustice and chronic trauma.

Alternatively associate’s degree required, plus 4-6 years’ experience working/volunteering with youth in a social service setting or with families impacted by systemic injustice and chronic trauma.

Mentoring experience with children and families impacted by the child welfare system.

Benefits

Friends LA cares about our employees as whole people. We offer a generous vacation and sick leave policy, quarterly reset days, 12 paid holidays, summer half days, and an annual winter recess during the last week of December. Employees are eligible for medical benefits (including vision and dental), 401k retirement plan, and ongoing professional development opportunities.

Employees can add optional plans, at employee expense, which include medical coverage for dependents, EAP, Flexible Spending Accounts, supplemental life insurance, pet insurance, and more.

Friends LA is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to addressing discriminatory practices, and to working toward racial equity. The equal employment opportunity policy of Friends LA provides fair and equal opportunities for all employees and job applicants regardless of race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, or genetic information, in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local law. Friends LA hires and promotes individuals solely on the basis of their qualifications for the job to be filled.