Court Appointed Friend and Advocate (CAFA) Mentor Program
For more than 15 years in Santa Clara County, FLY has trained and matched adult volunteer mentors with youth on probation. The mentors meet weekly with the youth to support them in developing new attitudes, behaviors, and ambitions. Each mentor/mentee match has a FLY case manager for support and also attends monthly group activities organized by FLY. Recently, in partnership with the Probation department, FLY added a court advocacy component to address the fact that youth of color were failing a specific type of probation at significantly higher rates than white youth. FLY’s CAFA (Court Appointed Friend and Advocate) Mentor Program helped achieve a dramatic turnaround in the failure rates. Because of this success, all mentors are now granted legal standing to act as advocates for their mentees in the courtroom and at schools, and the program has also expanded to Alameda County.
How Youth are Referred
Referrals to the FLY CAFA Mentor Program come from probation departments and the courts.
How Youth Benefit
As a result of participation in the FLY CAFA Mentor Program, youth report that they want to make positive changes, that they now have hope for their futures, and that the program has given them more confidence to deal with negative peer pressure. For more information about the high value of mentoring, read what retired Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Leonard Edwards says in this article: One Caring Adult.
“FLY is important because most of these kids don’t trust anyone. They do need hands-on attention. And that is what FLY mentors give them – someone they can count on and trust and have a positive relationship with. Without FLY, I know I would see far more repeat offenders. In a year of probation, the probation officer can change, the judges can change, and the only person that doesn’t change is the FLY mentor. I depend on the mentors of FLY.” Former Juvenile Court Judge Eugene Hyman
FLY CAFA Mentors must be 21 years of age or older, willing to meet one-on-one weekly with youth living in Santa Clara County or Alameda County, and make a 12-month commitment. We hope you’ll consider this excellent volunteer opportunity. Please see our FLY CAFA Mentor Job Description and application at this link.