The first of the Community Dialogue projects, a Family Mentoring Program got off to a solid start on Monday, Aug. 29. The community dialogues began in response to several hate crimes in Idyllwild in spring and fall of 2010 and a subsequent escalation of graffiti throughout town. The Family Mentoring Program is designed to train mentors to work with troubled families, often with children who are acting out in anti-social ways.

Mentors, trained using materials and lesson plans available through sponsoring nonprofit Family Promise, are referred to specific families through human services organizations or churches. They work with families as friends and advocates, providing creative problem solving, connections to available resources, and help in managing family finances.

Nine people attended the first familiarization meeting. Organizer Alan Morphett said there were several others who were interested but could not attend the first meeting. In subsequent sessions, Morphett, Pastor Wally Boer, and Marriage and Family Child Counselor therapist Oyen Hoffman will lead and train volunteers, using the materials furnished through Family Promise.

“This is the kind of program that solves problems where they begin,” said Hoffman.

Contact Morphett for training session dates at [email protected].