Institute On Family and Neighborhood Life

How to Get Involved

Building Dreams logo“It is exciting to be able to bring a child and mentor together so this special friendship can develop.”
                     Linda Guthrie    
                     site coordinator

Become a Mentor

Rock Climbing photoMentoring a child is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences you will ever have. It's simple, too. You and your mentee can share the kinds of activities you already like to do, such as

•    Shooting hoops
•    Playing a board game
•    Going on a hike
•    Enjoying a pizza
•    Cooking meals

Volunteering just four hours a month can make a difference in a young person's life. You've been thinking about getting involved. You know the importance of volunteering, how easy it is and how much your help is needed. Why not apply to be a mentor now?
Answering a few simple questions can help you determine if you qualify to be a mentor. Are you

•    At least 18 years old to mentor a child ages 6 to 9 or 21 years old for children 10 or older
•    Willing to adhere to all Building Dreams Mentoring Program policies and procedures
•    Ready to make a one-year commitment to the program
•    Able to spent a minimum of four hours per month with the mentee
•    Willing to talk with the mentee at least weekly
•    Ready to complete an application and commit to a background check
•    Willing to attend mentor trainings as required, including a pre-match training
•    Willing to communicate regularly with the site coordinator
•    Willing to submit monthly meeting and activity information
•    Interested in making a difference in the life of a Building Dreams child

If this sounds like you, mentoring may be for you! To get started, simply complete a mentor application and mail or fax the completed application to us. The mailing address and fax number are provided on the application. After all background (e.g., sex offender registry and law enforcement) and reference checks are completed, and you have completed the pre-match mentor training (link to mentor training schedule), one of our site coordinators will match you with a mentee based on your gender, ethnicity and age preferences as well as interests and geographic proximity. It’s as simple as that!

If you would like more information, check out our mentor job description or contact us.

Enroll a Child in Building Dreams

If you are the primary caregiver of a child who meets the criteria listed below, simply fill out a mentee application and send it back to us via mail or fax. The mailing address and fax number are provided on the application.

If you are a professional (school teacher, mental health counselor, school resource officer, etc.) and think a child could benefit from a mentor, you can share with the child’s primary caregiver an informational letter and a mentee application. We encourage you to have the caregiver return the application to you, and then you mail or fax the application to us.

To participate in Building Dreams, a child must meet the following criteria:

•    Be 4 to 17 years of age
•    Have a parent in prison or jail
•    Demonstrate a desire to participate in the program
•    Be willing to abide by all Building Dreams Mentoring Program policies and procedures
•    Have parental/guardian permission and ongoing support for participation
•    Agree to a one-year commitment to the program
•    Commit to spending a minimum of four hours a month with the mentor
•    Be willing to communicate with the mentor weekly
•    Be willing to communicate with Building Dreams staff

Become a Site for Services

We are always looking for faith- and community-based organizations who share a passion for serving families affected by incarceration to partner with us to provide children with caring adult role models.

Our partner sites receive technical assistance, training, support with program development, help with background and other relevant checks, assistance with marketing, monitoring, mentee recruitment, and support in program management as needed. In return, we ask our partners to

•    Designate a liaison to Building Dreams to act as a site coordinator 
•    Recruit adults to serve as mentors 
•    Match eligible children and youth to adult mentors
•    Organize group activities for mentees
•    Assist Clemson University in monitoring matches 
•    Refer families, caregivers and siblings of participating youth to services, as needed
•    Submit required data to Clemson University    

For more information on how to partner with Building Dreams, click here.

Become a Volunteer

You may feel that you do not have time to be a mentor. You still can become involved in Building Dreams. With a small staff, we can always use volunteers to help with a wide range of activities. We use volunteers to help us with group activities, organize services for families, provide transportation to events and simply to be a friend to a family.

Get Your Company Involved

Your company can help sponsor events for our mentors and mentees, scholarships for mentees to camp, recreational programs and afterschool programs and our annual appreciation for our volunteers. Your company also can provide staff with work release time to MENTOR! For more information, contact us.

Donate to Help Support Building Dreams

Your tax-deductible donation to the Clemson University Foundation, earmarked for Building Dreams, can help us provide programs, services, events and activities for our families participating in Building Dreams. For more information, contact us.