Mission and Vision
The Mission of Youth Mentoring Connection is to transform the lives of at-risk youth by caring for their wounds and shining a light on their gifts through an ongoing mentoring community, creative expression, and life-changing experiences; thus inspiring them to become thriving adults.
Our Vision is of safe communities worldwide using our Gifts Centered Approach to bring vital connection, love, and healing into the lives of at-risk youth, so they may live fully into their passion and purpose.
Youth Mentoring Connection was founded in 2001 by Tony LoRe. Originally a successful businessman, Tony found his life’s passion in working with young people. In 1997, he answered that calling and sold his business to dedicate his life to helping kids and transforming culture. He now spends all of his time and energy dedicated to connecting youth with mentors in their community. LoRe has written Life Skills and Business Skills curriculum for youth and has facilitated at the Universal Youth Entrepreneur Academy and the Center for Entrepreneurism at Manual Arts High School. He served the leadership role in curriculum development for the Community for Education Foundation’s entrepreneurism program, creating the model for facilitation of student sessions and teacher training. In addition to his duties as CEO of Youth Mentoring Connection, he designs and runs all of its programs, serves as a mentor for the mentors, counsels youth, and collaborates with other non-profit organizations.
Tony LoRe’s decision to dedicate his life to finding mentors for at-risk, inner city youth has impacted the lives of thousands of kids and just as many adults, but he will tell you that the life saved was his own.
Youth Mentoring Connection began as a small mentoring program serving just over 40 youth per year. The concentrated program allowed the organization to identify potential pitfalls, solidify its use of best practices in mentoring and to ensure that the program was providing the optimum support necessary in its one-on-one mentoring relationships before expanding the reach of its programs. The growth of the organization attests to the results achieved. Youth Mentoring Connection’s programs and services have since benefited thousands of youth through direct mentoring, collaborations with other organizations and through mentor trainings provided to organizations throughout Southern California.
A glimpse of what we do…
From Our Founder
There is a poem by Hafiz that has a beautiful line: “I have fallen in love with someone who hides inside you.” It expresses the essence of the work we do at Youth Mentoring Connection. We realize that hiding inside every confused, angry, shy, sad or braggadocios child is a gifted soul that came into this world to contribute from their genius. When a mentor comes into the life of a young person, they are affirming that something beautiful is hiding inside of that child. In fact, the poem describes the process of mentoring for at-risk youth. It is a process of consistently showing up and offering sustenance in the way of caring, listening, deep conversation and guidance to help young people to begin to climb out of some of the holes they have dug. This requires the ability to “see” beyond their behaviors and attitudes and into the goodness that we all possess.
our efforts to help keep the spirit of “seeing” alive we have adopted a Zulu word as our customary greeting whenever we get together in program. The word is “sawubona” and it means “I see you.” It speaks to the necessity in each of us to have our gifts affirmed and to know that we are valued, by each other and by our community.
In a similar way, your support lets us know that you value the sacred work that we do. You are saying to Youth Mentoring Connection “We see you.” We “see” the lifted spirits of youth because you create the space where that can happen. We “see” the passion, dedication and self-sacrifice on the part of your staff to try to make this world a better place. We “see” the need for us all to join in this effort to give hope to kids and to support their dreams, indeed to help them believe they can have dreams. We appreciate that you are reintroducing the concept of elders that bring the accumulated wisdom of their fulfilled dreams so that youth can learn and be inspired.
A BIG THANK YOU to our wonderful Board of Directors. You play a vital role, not only in our organization, but by supporting this work, in the culture too. You “see” the value in what we do and offer your love, support and talents to make this dream a reality. From the bottom of my heart, I love every one of you and am touched by your generosity. “
Street Poets harnesses the healing power of poetry and music to build community and inspire our next generation to write, rap and dream a new world into being for us all.
Rhythm Arts Alliance
Rhythm Arts Alliance brings the arts off the stage and into the lives of youth challenged by poverty, alienation and marginalization, providing the threads that will reweave our tattered communities.
Western Gate Roots and Wings Foundation
A group of Elders, mentors, and teachers using Native American and indigenous teachings to cultivate a deeper respect for the trauma and harm suffered by veterans and disconnected youth.
Stoked Adventures is a program dedicated to sharing outdoor adventures as an aid in personal growth. As long time surfers and rock climbers, we all have a story of how the ocean and the mountains have helped us through difficult times.
Homeboy Industries Youth Services
Homeboy Industries provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated people, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community.
A unique educational sanctuary and wilderness retreat center that brings people together through direct relationship with rescued wolves for the purpose of empowering the next generation to become authentic leaders and stewards of the earth.