Since 1997, Amy Bennington has volunteered for Arbor Circle Corporation Homeless Youth Services. She mentored for two clients, assisted in the planning of social-recreational activities and attends monthly mentor meetings. Homeless Youth Services offers case management to teens who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The mentor aspect of the program is available to those clients who seek support in addition to that provided by the case manager. The two teenage women Bennington has mentored both have lacked a positive adult role model in their lives. She has provided support and nurturing to assist them in reaching their goals.
Bennington was first matched with an 18-year-old mother of two. She encouraged her mentee as she struggled to complete high school while working and raising her children. During their time together, she assisted this client in finding reliable transportation and helped her learn a variety of parenting skills. The children were included in many of their activities, as Bennington taught her mentee to find low or no cost activities that were educational. At the 1998 annual graduation party to recognize the program's graduates, Bennington congratulated her mentee on this great accomplishment.
Her current mentee, Tanika, is a 19-year-old mother of one. Her home environment is unhealthy and she is trying to leave the house to live on her own with her daughter. Bennington has offered a great deal of support to this young woman. She has taken her on outings to a computer lab to teach her basic computer and keyboarding skills as well as introduced her to the Internet. This has had a large impact on Tanika's self-esteem. She has taken Tanika to apply and interview for jobs as well as occasionally providing transportation when the client secured employment. This client relies on family for much of her childcare needs, however the family is often unreliable and Bennington has been flexible in adjusting her schedule when she needs to change plans. Most important is the caring she shows in listening to Tanika's frustrations about her home, family and work. She is both motivational and compassionate with her clients.
Amy Bennington has been an asset in planning the social-recreational activities of the program. Since the program does not have the funds to provide these activities, the staff relies on donations, discounts and creativity to make these occasions special. Bennington is always willing to make contact with persons and businesses to request assistance. Homeless Youth Services offers reimbursement to mentor for their mileage while volunteering; however she has not utilized this option. Instead, she continues to offer new and unique ideas to secure supplies as well as provide insight about the types of activities in which her mentees may be interested.