Law-school graduates Whitney Louchheim and Penelope Spain of Washington, D.C., run a five-year-old mentoring project for juvenile delinquents in Washington, D.C., says the Christian Science Monitor. Mentoring Today has inspired mentors to donate more than 1,800 volunteer hours, which have helped more than 30 young men remake their lives. Last year, the nonprofit raised more than $350,000 from donors and grantmakers to fund its services.
The women defined “success” differently from many at-risk youth programs. Although 92 percent of those they mentor have continued with their education, those who end up behind bars again aren't written off. When one of Spain's early mentoring subjects returned to a lockup, she still saw progress: He'd learned to read and write and could write letters to her. Mentoring Today's willingness to stand by its young people is “the biggest proof” of its success, says David Muhammad of Washington’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.