The Salvation Army of Buffalo’s Mentoring Brainchild

Posted by on Mar 11, 2015 in ComLead, Managing Not-For-Profit Organizations, Organizational Leadership

The Salvation Army of Buffalo’s Mentoring Brainchild

A new mentoring initiative, called SOEL, was born this week out of The Salvation Army of Buffalo.  SOEL stands for Success Opportunity Education & Leadership, and is a wrap-around mentoring program of the organization’s Employment Services department that matches leaders with program protégés pursuing employment, training and education. Its mission aims to fulfill successful career placements by establishing a solid relationship between a mentor and mentee.

Christina Schweitzer, Director of Employment Services at The Salvation Army Buffalo, developed SOEL after realizing that there was a prevalent need for job retention among her clients. According to Schweitzer, after thirty days The Salvation Army is no longer required to provide support to clients in the Employment Services Program, which often leads to failed job placements. This is in large part due to the unfortunate reality that many people utilizing Employment Services and receiving public assistance do not have personal support systems in place to guide them through their professional careers.

As a part of my Managing Not-for-Profits Seminar class, I will be working with Christina this semester to help market the program both internally and out in the community. After meeting with a few of the protégés Christina has carefully selected, I see the incredible value of this mentoring program, and the undoubtable impact it will have on the lives of these individuals.

Mentoring is critical for both personal and career development, and many businesses in the area are recognizing its importance not only by establishing mentoring programs within company walls, but also by funding outside organizations dedicated to the cause. It is most evident at companies such as First Niagara, who recently provided $1 million in grants to 39 mentoring programs and organizations throughout its footprint. Check out this article to learn more about how Mentoring Matters at First Niagara. With First Niagara as a role model, I will be reaching out to various Western New York businesses, in hopes of recruiting professionals to mentor a protégé in the SOEL program.

Have you thought of being a mentor? Here are some reasons why you should consider it:

  • Mentoring builds your leadership and coaching skills by challenging and encouraging protégés
  • Mentoring someone can be a vital part of an individual’s success and self-sufficiency
  • Mentoring allows you to give back to the community using your professional skills
  • Mentoring for SOEL will help build a stronger WNY workforce

For more information on how mentoring plays a critical role in someone’s life, take a look at the National Mentoring Partnership website.


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