Mentees Speak Out – What the Young People Say

Group of TeensDuring a two-day Listening Session with youth affected by parental incarceration that was held in Washington DC, the group helped develop a Tip Sheet for Service Providers Working with Children and Families of the incarcerated.

The Listening Session brought together 19 youth, ages 15 to 23, with a diverse range of experiences to discuss the challenges they had during their parent’s incarceration and their ideas for how the government could better support them and their families. Two former Seedling mentees were included.

The information shared on this tip sheet validates the work that we do as mentors for children who face the challenges of having a parent who is incarcerated and serves as a reminder to keep doing what we do and how we do it. Here are some excerpts from that sheet… Continue reading

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Austin’s Fab Five 2017- Celebrating 5 Heroes for Children

2017-sf-ff-stdtopEach year Seedling honors five outstanding advocates for children in the Austin area. Some have been involved with the Seedling Mentoring Program personally, but others have contributed to the welfare of children in Austin in a different, but impactful way.

It is always a very special time for all of us at Seedling, and this year we are so proud to present Austin’s Fab Five 2017 at the gala scheduled March 25th, 2017, at the Westin Hotel in the Domain.

Meet Emcee, Olga Campos, Auctioneer Yves Rojas (of Survivor fame!), live magic from Tina Lenert, hilarious comedy from Anthony Griffin, and wonderful opening and closing acts from the Zach Scott Theater Elite Performers!

If you are interested in learning more about the event, sponsoring, or getting your tickets, click on Austin’s Fab Five 2017.

Our honorees are simply outstanding, and you can click on each picture to learn more about these Austinites who are doing work that impacts so many children right in your own community.


Gigi Bryant

John-Michael Cortez

Dan Graham

Honorable Julie Kocurek

Dick Rathgeber 


Dinner, Entertainment, A Message from Seedling, and more await you at this evening of having a great time doing good! We hope to see you there as we raise funds for another highly effective year of mentoring children who are challenged by parental incarceration.

You can make a difference! Consider mentoring with Seedling or supporting someone else who can.


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Reflections in Mentoring

reflectionIt’s the season for New Year’s Resolutions, and all the advice tells us to reflect, to think about where you’ve been and where you want to go.

As you think about the direction for your Seedling mentoring relationship and your hopes about where your mentee can go in life, reflection takes on a greater meaning.

In a recent article for the Trauma-Informed Care Consortium, Dr. Tina Adkins from UT talked about the theory of exactly how it is that parents, foster parents, and other key adults transmit attachment, which is defined as a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space. Researchers have found that the adult’s ability to practice reflection in regard to the child is a large factor in the process of transmitting attachment. She writes about mentalization which “involves the ability to look inside the mind of another (while simultaneously looking inside your own mind) and understanding behavior in relation to mental states such as thoughts, feelings, desires etc. It is the skill of being able to see yourself from the outside and your children from the inside.”1

Of course, this practice is not the same as deciding we know what is inside our mentee’s head. Instead, we listen carefully without judgment and use active and reflective listening to check out our perceptions as we come to know our mentee more deeply.

The Ophelia Project training manual offers these tips for reflective listening: When practicing reflective listening, the mentor should not be thinking “What can I do for my mentee?” but rather steer the conversation to obtain more information to the following questions: Continue reading

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Measuring Impact in Mentoring

When Seedling Mentor Program was envisioned in 2005, the program was based on research, best practices, and included metrics from the beginning.

Each year, the Board of Directors approved increased resources and directed staff to take the steps needed to ensure that the program was having an impact on children through surveys of the Mentees, Mentors, Schools, and the Caregivers.

Seedling Mentor Program undergoes a rigorous evaluation by an independent professional each year. The results are posted on our website and presented to the Board and other stakeholders.

The Board of Seedling is proud to share them with you. Just click the image to see this last school year’s evaluation by Karen L. Looby, Ph.D.  Our sincere thanks to Dr. Looby for her expertise.


We invite you to peruse the report, and Dr. Looby has included a Primary Outcomes Page that boils everything down to the highlights.

Here are a few quotes from our mentored children…



Trained, highly supported Mentors who feel they are part of a team make a lifelong difference in children’s lives while becoming a self-renewing resource as they share their positive mentoring experiences with others.  We know this is true because we see it happening every day.

Are you ready to change your life in a positive way by entering the life of a child who needs someone like you? We can help you make that happen.

Contact us at Seedling and start your mentoring journey this year.

We can’t wait to meet you.



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Cultivating Young People’s Possible Selves

Seedling Mentoring is a highly supported, research driven, school based, one-on-one mentoring program in the Central Texas area. Training and continuing education are the bedrock of what we believe in and offer to our community volunteers who are entering the lives of children who are challenged by parental incarceration.

October’s Mentor Training Lunch was well attended, and we encourage all of our mentors to catch these sessions whenever they can.  “The more you know…”

Seedling MentoringWe know the importance of helping all young people develop a positive view of themselves in the future and connecting their ability to become that positive possible self to the actions they do—or do not—take every day.

For this reason, having a clear, positive idea of their “best possible selves” can motivate young people to work harder and do better in school, particularly if they are shown connections between what they’re doing in school and these future aspirations.


1. Connect: The foundation of helping youth cultivate their possible selves is to build a strong relationship with them. As a mentor you are doing just that. With growing trust in the relationship, your mentee is more likely to open up to you. Then they’re more likely to share with you what they really aspire to do or be.

2. Describe: When the opportunity arises, engage your mentee in conversation that encourages them to recognize how what they are learning in school will help them in the future, including how they will use the knowledge and skills in future learning that will ultimately help them achieve their goals and aspirations. Continue reading

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