One year ago on July 12, 2010 Hennepin County started a specialty court for Veterans. MCIL was asked to run and train the mentor portion of the program. The mentor program has grown quickly over the course of our first year. We have trained a total of 50 mentors. Mentors report to Missy Williams
weekly on their goals, and progress with their mentees. The mentees move in and out of phases that are marked by goals that they must achieve. The final goal of the program is to get the mentee at a place where he or she is able to function and support their own mental and emotional growth without the assistance of a mentor. So far we have successfully phased out 60 mentees. Currently we have 17 active mentors and 17 active mentees. Veteran’s court has grown so much in one year that we now have three probation officers that we work with on their caseloads instead of the one that we started with. Our goal in the next coming year of the program is to get the mentors more involved in the court process by having them speak directly to the court and judge. The mentors are the eyes and ears of the Veterans Court program and are able to let us know about how the mentees are doing on a daily basis. All mentors attend ongoing bi-monthly trainings and support group that meet before trainings. The mentor program is also about sharing information between mentors, mentees, and all partners. The mentor program is completely run by volunteer Veterans helping Veterans. Many of our mentors have gone through years of PTSD, domestic violence issues, CD, and have been sober for many years. The experience and care they bring to the program is what makes this program a success!