That mentoring is a highly effective intervention for youth is well-known, and this includes youth with disabilities. One great model for mentoring youth with disabilities is the Partners for Youth with Disabilities organization in Boston, Massachusetts. This organization offers 1:1 mentoring, group mentoring, online mentoring, job-readiness focused mentoring and more.
Recently, the Moscow, Russia-based Nastavniki organization, otherwise known as Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Moscow, has started to work on bridging their expertise in mentoring services with their interest in fostering the human rights of youth with disabilities.
At present, Nastavnikis an organization specializing in mentoring young people in the child welfare system – including young people with disabilities. As I understand it, this makes Nastavniki a trail-blazer in Russia, due to their willingness to step up and support a stigmatized population of children in need. Dr. Alexandra Telitsyna, Executive Director, is passionate about this work, and has led the organization to embrace the challenge of supporting youth with disabilities to their best potential. According to Dr. Telitsyna, “the program has shown that spending at least a few hours with a child in a difficult life situation increases his self-confidence and self-esteem. The child becomes more outgoing, more interested in his surroundings, and improves his performance at school.”
Dr. Telitsyna plans to add in an educational component to her mentoring programs, with a focus on supporting youth with disabilities in knowing about and advocating for their human rights. We can’t wait to see how this program will unfold!
Resources on human rights for people with disabilities:
Harvard University’s Project on Disability: Guide to changing your life with human rights for people with disabilities
Harvard University’s Project on Disability: We have human rights document