Le Chéile is funded by Irish Youth Justice Services through the Probation Service, as part of Ireland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programmes 2014-2020, which is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.
We believe that all young people can be supported to address offending behaviour and make positives changes in their lives. Mentoring helps people make different choices and changes lives.
Le Chéile provides a mentoring service to young people involved with Young Person’s Probation. Our mentors act as a positive role model, advisor and friend. Mentors work with a young person for 3 hours a week for up to 2 years.
Mentoring may be offered to young people where they are under a Mentor (Family Support) Order or where mentoring is a condition of a Probation Bond. This service is offered in Dublin North, Dublin South, Cork, Meath, Waterford (including South Tipperary and New Ross), Limerick (including Clare, North Tipperary and North Kerry) and the Midlands region (covering Laois, Offaly, and Kildare.)
Le Chéile’s Approach
The needs of the young person determine the focus of the mentoring. For a young person at risk of offending, or who has offended, it is a vital support.
Our services are provided by the Le Chéile mentors – volunteers drawn from communities across the country, who work one to one with young people and with parents. Our mentors bring life experience, skills and a wholehearted belief in the capacity of young people to change. The young people and mentors with whom we work tell us that it makes a difference that the mentors are volunteers and give their time and effort on a voluntary basis. Involving local communities in working with young people who offend helps build a more inclusive and safer society.
Outcome Areas & Results
Le Chéile works with young people in outcome areas such as pro-social behaviour; well-being; communication skills; drug & alcohol use; training, education and work, and meaningful use of time.
Mentoring works well for ‘difficult to reach’ young people, with parents and referral agents often reporting that Le Chéile’s mentoring service is the first service they have really engaged with. Probation Officers have identified the “unhurried aspect of dedicated time’ as key to mentoring’ success for our young people.
There were 1943 mentoring sessions held in 2015.
Parents who have participated in our parent mentoring service say that they are more confident in their parenting skills, having had time outside the home and a supportive adult to help them discuss any issues.
The Effectiveness of Mentoring
Le Chéile is committed to using programmes and approaches which have been proven to result in better outcomes for young people and their families.
International research has found that mentoring of young people who have offended has positive effects on at least one of the following: crime, behaviour, attitude, alcohol and drugs, school and relationships. (<em>The Effectiveness of Mentoring & Leisure-time Activities for Youth at Risk</em>, The Danish Crime Prevention Council, 2012.) Mentoring has greatest impact on the factors which contribute to crime such as substance abuse and school attendance, rather than crime itself.
Le Chéile fulfils all the criteria for effective mentoring as set out in the research referred to above:
- Mentoring interventions and leisure-time programmes are combined;
- Mentoring is long-lasting, intense, and at least a year in duration;
- Include a personal and committed relationship with an adult;
- Stresses the importance of the young person’s psychological and social development;
- Include parental involvement;
- Volunteer mentoring best if there are professionals who provide screening, training, matching, support and supervision of volunteers.
A recent Irish study of over 14,000 young people aged 12-25 found that the presence of ‘one good adult’ was a key indicator of how well a young person is connected, self-confident, future looking and can cope with problem. (Dooley, Barbara A., Fitzgerald, Amanda: My World Survey: National Study of Youth Mental Health in Ireland. Headstrong and UCD School of Psychology, 2012.). Having One Good Adult in a young person’s life is shown to be important to the mental well being and confidence of all young people, from the time they start secondary school to the time they are looking for their first job. Feedback from young people, parents and Young Persons Probation identified Le Chéile’s Mentors as fulfilling this role for many of the young people referred to our services.
Information for Young People
What is a Mentor? A Le Chéile Mentor is a volunteer, aged 20 years and over. A Mentor will be...
Information for Parents
What is a Mentor? Mentors are members of the community who gives their time on a voluntary (unpaid) basis to...
Information for Volunteers
What is Mentoring? Le Chéile mentoring is a one-to-one relationship based support which provides a positive role model to a...
Information for Referral Agents
What is a Mentor? A Mentor has come to mean a loyal, wise and trusted teacher and friend (Dondero 1997)....