Every day, Breakthrough Urban Ministries surrounds youth with a network of caring adults to support their growth and expand their opportunities.

Think about your first job. It probably came because of a relative or family friend. It came because someone was willing to take a chance on you. For youth in a neighborhood with limited connections to the larger city, finding that first foothold of opportunity is a challenge.

Breakthrough responds with the network model. Watch the video explaining how the Breakthrough network model works.

In a traditional one-on-one mentoring program, youth are connected to one mentor who takes on a great deal of responsibility in that student’s life. These relationships are very positive and can make a huge difference in the life of a child.

But life is often outside of our control, and if that mentor is transferred to an office in a different city, or moves out-of-state to be with family, the link is broken. In fact, the average youth-to-mentor relationship is only six months.

In that child’s next relationship, trust will take even longer to build. And in the next, even longer, until trusting adults becomes very difficult.

In response to this problem, Breakthrough surrounds youth with a network of adults; a reading tutor, soccer coach, Bible study leader, or math tutor become a spoke in that student’s network. At Breakthrough, the average student has seven.

That way, if one relationship disappears – say a mentor graduates from college and moves out of the city – the student does not have to start over from the beginning. One spoke disappears but the wheel keeps turning until that spoke is replaced.

As the network grows, the opportunities afforded to youth expand exponentially. Each year, Breakthrough places youth in internships and jobs around the city. These opportunities exist because of the network of adults.

Maybe engineering interests a certain student. Her reading mentor might not have that connection, but maybe her art class teacher does. Or the art class teacher’s spouse. Or co-worker. Or friend. As the network expands, so do the opportunities.

At Breakthrough Urban Ministries, youth are given the skills needed to succeed and the network of opportunity to put them to use.