By Jessica De la O and Larry Messerman
We are happy to announce that the new Sacred Fire Community Lifeways’ Mentoring Program has been launched! On March 1-2, mentors and mentees (initiated young men and women) joined together at the Asheville Council House to receive training from Tom Balistrieri, an elder of the Lakota tradition, and educator and university counselor. Tom offered wise and heartfelt counsel from his vast knowledge and experience with initiation and mentoring. Seven mentors and 13 mentees(initiated youth) were matched to begin a one-year commitment to their mentoring relationship.
The Young Men’s and Women’s Joint Initiation Council recognized the need for on-going support of initiated youth early on. Careful planning included the voices of many people, young and older, to ensure that the program would get off the ground in the best way. Initiated youth recognized their need for mentoring to support their re-entry and integration into an “upside-down world”, as Tom would call it.
A second round of mentor training is being planned, and we encourage all adults who have served on initiation staff to consider becoming a mentor for an initiated youth. If you have questions about the training and/or would like to apply, please contact the Mentoring Program Representatives using the form below.[contact-form-7 id=”7957″ title=”Contact Mentoring Program Representatives”]