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The Butler County Family YMCA is proud to be one of nine YMCAs in the country that offer the Reach & Rise® group youth mentoring program. Reach & Rise® provides kids with a safe and comfortable space to make new friends, learn new things, talk about what’s on their minds, and receive encouragement from supportive adults to achieve their goals. This program helps to REACH more youth so they can RISE to a better future.



The Butler County Family YMCA is excited about our youth group mentoring program called Reach & Rise®. Are you excited? Do you want to become a YMCA Youth Mentor? Download the application form below!

Download Application for Group

Download Application for 1-on-1

How is this program different than other youth mentoring programs in Butler County?

Reach & Rise® is a national YMCA evidence-based youth mentoring program with published research leading to specific guidelines that will help to ensure the success of the program. Our group mentoring program matches up to six youth of similar age with two trained adult volunteers. Each group can be formed by age, goals they would like to work toward (like gaining social skills or managing anger), by geographic area, or in other ways that will benefit children in the group. Then volunteer mentors create safe, healthy and meaningful relationships with youth utilizing therapeutically-based activities developed by Reach & Rise® to help the youth achieve their personal goals for growth.

What are the benefits of this program?

Participants report:

  • “Reach & Rise® helped me with my emotions.”
  • “In Reach & Rise® I talked about some stuff I was concerned about.”
  • “The mentors helped me get to my goal without making me feel uncomfortable.”
  • ¨We discussed about bullying, friendships and family.”
  • “When we introduced our (emotion) monsters and mine was about anxiety, I told them I felt weird talking in public places. They (mentors) gave me some great advice and made me feel better.”

These quotes are a small representation of the reasons youth come to Reach & Rise®.

The four most reported reasons kids attend groups are:

  • Self-esteem
  • Ability to focus
  • Friendship skills
  • Reducing anger

Other goals include understanding one’s own emotions, improving relationships, and speaking up/being assertive.

Is there training for volunteer mentors?

YES!  Volunteer Mentors must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Obtain background clearances
  • Complete a 15 hour training
  • Spend 2 hours a week co-facilitating a mentoring group
  • Check in weekly with the Clinical Director
How can children be referred to the program?

To be included in the program, a youth and their family meet with program staff to fill out the required paperwork and discuss the youth’s strengths and goals for personal growth. Referral sources include school districts, churches, mental health providers, individuals, and family members.

How did you choose Reach & Rise®?

Since its founding, the YMCA’s cause has been to strengthen communities. Our Youth Mentoring efforts to date have been focused on one child/one adult model. We recognized there is a gap in serving groups of children. As we researched numerous programs over the course of a year, we found the Reach & Rise® program was a good fit to meet the needs of the community.

  • It’s an established successful YMCA program. Resources and ongoing support are available at no cost through the YMCA of the USA, our national organization.
  • A group mentoring program will provide safety for volunteer mentors and youth.
  • Participants and volunteers will see benefits from an evidence-based program where outcomes are tracked.
How is Reach & Rise® funded?

This program is offered for free to participants. Funds for this program come from the YMCA’s Annual Support Campaign, and grants from the PA Department of Health and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs (OJJDP).  

We are excited to REACH more youth and are preparing to RISE to a new level of service in Butler County!

Have Questions? Need More Info?

For additional questions or information,
contact Jerry Johnston, Administrative Assistant, Reach & Rise® at
or Jessica Burr, Clinical Director, Reach & Rise® at