TEAM (Teens Engaged as Mentors), empowers diverse children and adolescents in a mentorship model that encourages strong leadership, self-confidence, and positive community relationships. In this unique program, teens with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) work together to mentor younger children on the autism spectrum (see participant descriptions below).
TEAM inspires rich personal growth and development within each mentor and mentee while nurturing strong leadership skills and self-confidence. It also encourages independence while helping youth to identify personal goals and create action plans for achieving them. TEAM promotes positive community engagement through ongoing partnerships with programs and agencies from all across the city. TEAM focuses on strengthening social awareness while promoting an appreciation and understanding of differences as strengths in each mentor and mentee. Consistent with Boston Medical Center's overarching mission of "exceptional care without exception", this integrated and comprehensive teen mentoring program encourages empowerment in all participants.
The TEAM program runs from September through June each year and hosts monthly events focused around social/recreational or community service-based activities. Mentors also participate in trainings in the fall and spring which prepare them to work with other mentors and mentees, as well as allows for their individual goal setting for the upcoming year. While the program participation requirements are fairly flexible, there are certain things that are important when deciding if the TEAM program might be a good fit.
Check out our poster presentation on the initial qualitative analysis of TEAM Year 1!
Who are our participants?
A TEAM mentor…
- Is typically an adolescent who is in high school, between the ages of 14-22
- May or may not have a diagnosis of autism
- Could provide support and guidance to younger participants independently or with minimal adult support
- Is able to clearly communicate with other participants
- Is interested in and willing to attend trainings and workshops on mentoring, leadership, goal setting, and planning for the future
- Has goals for the program primarily focused on developing leadership skills, making community connections, socializing with others, and learning how to be a mentor
A TEAM mentee…
- Is typically a child between the ages of 9-13
- Has a diagnosis of autism
- Is interested in participating in group events with same-age and older peers
- Would benefit from having role models to help with developing social and relationship skills
- Has goals for the program primarily focused on developing social skills, improving communication skills, being part of a group, and making community connections
These age ranges are meant to provide a guideline for participant groups – depending on skills and goals for the program, participants may fit better in the group that doesn’t match their age. However, participants should not require 1:1 staffing or engage in aggressive or self-injurious behavior.
What do TEAM participants do?
TEAM mentors and mentees engage in many activities all throughout the city of Boston. These events and activities allow participants the opportunity to build friendships, give back, and most of all, have fun. Some of these activities have included:
- Trail cleanup at the Boston Nature Center/Mass Audubon Society
- Care package creation for the MSPCA of Methuen
- Visiting Fenway Park and attending a Red Sox game
- Participating in the 2016 Boston Cares Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service which was attended by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
- Creating cookie jars and heating packs for senior citizens
- Bowling at Boston Bowl
- Visiting the Museum of Science, Boston
To learn more about TEAM, or if you know or are someone who would be interested in joining TEAM either as a mentor or mentee, please contact us at [email protected] or 617-414-3842, or visit www.facebook.com/TeensEngagedasMentors/.