The COPE Project, which initially set out to mentor children of prisoners, is now accepting mentees, ages 4-18, who reside in the Greater Baton Rouge area.
“Initially our mentoring program targeted children of prisoners. However, after being approached by several adults in desperate need of positive role models for their children, we decided to open the program to all kids who meets eligibility requirements,” said Gabrielle Briley-Johnson, CEO and founder of Face to Face Enrichment Center in Gonzales. “Many children in our program face unique challenges. Some are most vulnerable to feelings of guilt, sadness, isolation, promiscuity and other emotions and blame themselves for the problems they face. The COPE (Community Organizations and Programs that Empower), Project is designed to uplift and empower these young kids and to let them know there is hope.”
COPE, which launched in 2010, seeks mentors in Ascension Parish, East Baton Rouge Parish and surrounding areas, and is an initiative of Face to Face Enrichment Center. The project’s community-based approach allows selected mentors to provide a minimum of bi-weekly one-to-one mentoring to their selected mentee match.
Mentors must be 21 years old or older, have a clean criminal history, be able to commit to the program for at least one year and meet other criteria.
Mentees range between the ages of 4 to 18, and activities include visits to the zoo, sporting events, theatrical productions, and other pre-approved outings.
“We inform our parents that in no way are the mentors trying to replace their roles as parents,” Briley-Johnson said. “The mentors are simply there to offer support and guidance in a child’s life.”
Funding for the COPE Project is provided by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation/Every Kid a King Fund and the Winn Dixie Foundation. Potential mentors and mentees can apply to participate in the program.
For more information and to complete an application, go to www.thecopeproject.org or call Face to Face Enrichment Center at 225-644-9992.