Kansas Mentors announced today an opportunity for mentoring programs to apply for funding to help offset the costs of background checks conducted through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
In 2012, Kansas Mentors was awarded $100,000 from Volunteer Kansas to distribute funds to Kansas mentoring programs conducting KBI background checks on mentors. Kansas Mentors is distributing $58,000 in funds during 2013.
“Kansas’ mentoring programs are reporting significant declines in funding as well as an increase in the need for services,” Coach Bill Snyder, co-chair of Kansas Mentors, said. “These funds are a strategic investment to ensure more young Kansans have access to a safe and caring adult role model.”
Background checks are an essential component of the screening process to help ensure the safety of youth involved in mentoring programs. The cost of criminal background checks, however, is substantial considering every mentor should complete and pass a check before they can begin mentoring. This can be a huge funding barrier that can potentially limit the number of young people a program serves or even worse, put youth in danger should a mentoring program forgo the background check because of the cost.
“The goal of Volunteer Kansas is to increase volunteerism across our state,” Nola Brown, director of Volunteer Kansas, said. “Mentoring is one of the most important and rewarding ways to volunteer. With budget cuts to so many mentoring programs, our fear was children would miss out on opportunities for positive direction from qualified adults simply because reputable mentoring programs could no longer afford the necessary KBI background checks. We hope this grant will bridge the gap, encourage continued recruitment of volunteer mentors and ultimately result in positive life outcomes for kids in Kansas who are matched with caring mentors.”
Kansas Mentors is partnered with more than 175 mentoring programs serving all 105 Kansas counties. The organization is committed to providing every young Kansan access to a caring and quality mentor through recruitment, awareness, and training efforts. Mentoring programs interested in applying for funding can visit Kansas Mentors at www.KansasMentors.org.