F or the Youth Challenge program, mentoring is a supportive one-to-one relationship between an adult and an at-risk youth. The mentor relationship is developed to help our youth’s educational, social and personal growth. This allows the youth to become a responsible, productive and contributing member of his or her community including society as a whole. All students must have a mentor.

Two prospects are nominated by the student and/or parents/guardians. One prospect will serve as the primary prospect and the other as an alternate. A trained and matched mentor provides assistance and guidance to the Challenge graduate during the 12-month Post-Residential Phase.

The Youth Challenge Academy mentor is key to a graduate’s successful transition to employment and/or continuing education. An established goal for all students is to complete a Post-Residential Action Plan (P-RAP). .

Mentor FAQ

What are the qualifications to become a Mentor?

You MUST: At least 21 years old. The same gender as the young person you plan to mentor. Live within the youth’s community. A good role model. Pass a background check.

What will disqualify me to become a Mentor?

You can not live in the same household as the youth. You can not be a close relative. Example: parent, step-parents, or siblings. You must not be a romantic interest of a relative of the youth. Not a romantic interest of the youth, example: boyfriend of girlfriend.

What is the process after I submit the application?

We will process your application for a criminal check. Your application is sent to the sex offender registry. We will notify you of your application status. If you pass all background checks, we will contact you for the next steps.

What do I need to do if I am placed in the alternate status?

If you are placed as an alternate mentor, your application will remain on file only.  If the primary cannot fulfill the commitment for any reason, we will contact you.

How many times must I meet with my mentee (youth)?

1)  One face-to-face contact during the 5 month residential phase, usually on your mentor training day and then participate in the bi-weekly letter writing after week 14 until the cadet returns home on week 22. 2)  At least four times per month during the 12 month Post-Residential Phase   (2 face-to-face contacts and two contacts by phone, mail, email, text, or other…)

Will I have to attend training?

Yes, you must attend our training to be a program matched mentor.  We offer training opportunities several times per cycle at our location. We will notify you of the dates and time.

How do I contact my cadet?

Cadets may receive letters, cards or appropriate magazines at the following address: SC Youth Challenge Academy Cadet Name ____________  Plt # __ 5471 Leesburg Road, Building 3891 Eastover, SC 29044 PLEASE NOTE: Youth Challenge Cadets may not receive contraband (i.e. candy, food, inappropriate reading materials, etc.).

To apply, please download a Mentor Application. Click on the link above. After you have completed the application, please fax, mail, or email it to dresserh@tag.scmd.state.sc.us.  Please contact Ms. Heather Dresser in the Mentor Department at (803) 299-4879 for any questions or concerns.

Complete print and return your application by fax, mail or email to dresserh@tag.scmd.state.sc.us

Fax to: 1-888-812-5215

Mail to:
SC Youth Challenge Academy
ATTN: Mentoring Dept.
5471 Leesburg Road, Building 3892
Eastover, SC 29044

SC YCA Cadet’s View of the Program and What a Mentor Means to Them

Please take a moment to view the video to give you more of an insight to the cadet’s view of the program and what a mentor means to them.