BUFFALO VETERAN’S COURT DIVERSION PROJECT: Mentoring Program Policy and Procedure Manual

Developed by: Rachelle Solt-Phillips With the assistance of: Hon. Robert T. Russell and Jack O’Connor

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Table of Contents
Section 1: Program Background 1.1 History of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project.......................................................4 1.2 History of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program..........................................................................4 1.3 Special Thanks.........................................................................................................................5 1.4 Mission Statement of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program.........................................................5 1.5 Vision Statement of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program...........................................................5 1.6 Mentor Coordinator Job Description.......................................................................................6 1.7 Volunteer Mentor Job Description...........................................................................................7 Section 2: Policies 2.1 Recruitment Policy..................................................................................................................8 2.2 Inquiry Policy..........................................................................................................................8 2.3 Eligibility Policy......................................................................................................................8 2.4 Screening Policy......................................................................................................................9 2.5 Training Policy........................................................................................................................9 2.6 Matching Policy.....................................................................................................................10 2.7 Mentoring Contact Policy......................................................................................................10 2.8 Supervision Policy.................................................................................................................10 2.9 Recognition Policy.................................................................................................................11 2.10 Record-Keeping Policy........................................................................................................11 2.11 Confidentiality Policy..........................................................................................................11 2.12 Unacceptable Behavior Policy.............................................................................................12 2.13 Evaluation Policy.................................................................................................................12 Section 3: Procedures 3.1 Recruitment Procedure...........................................................................................................13 3.2 Informational Sessions Procedure..........................................................................................13 3.3 Screening and Selection Procedures......................................................................................14 3.4 Training Procedures...............................................................................................................15 3.5 Shift Selection Procedure.......................................................................................................16 3.6 Matching Procedures.............................................................................................................16 3.7 Mentoring Contact Procedures..............................................................................................16 3.8 Mentoring Procedures............................................................................................................17 3.9 Supervision Procedure...........................................................................................................18 3.10 Recognition Procedures.......................................................................................................18 3.11 Record-Keeping Procedures................................................................................................19 3.12 Unacceptable Behavior Procedures.....................................................................................20 3.13 Evaluation Procedures.........................................................................................................20

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Section 4: Attachments Attachment A: Application Form.................................................................................................21 Attachment B: Information Sheet................................................................................................24 Attachment C: Informational Session; “Mentoring Makes a Difference”...................................27 Attachment D: Interview Questionnaire......................................................................................29 Attachment E: Training Checklist................................................................................................32 Attachment F: Communication Skills Training...........................................................................34 Attachment G: Shadowing Observation Form.............................................................................62 Attachment H: New Mentor Observation Form..........................................................................64 Attachment I: Mentoring Contact Cards......................................................................................66 Attachment J: Group Supervision Outline...................................................................................68 Attachment K: Mentoring Evaluation Form................................................................................70 Attachment L: Supervision Evaluation Form..............................................................................72

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Section 1: Program Background
1.1 History of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project The Buffalo Veterans Court held its first session in January of 2008. Although the first session was held in 2008, the concept began back in 2007. Throughout in first six months of 2007, Judge Russell noticed that more than 300 veterans passed through the court system in Buffalo. This statistic encouraged Judge Russell to develop the Veterans Diversion Court. 1.2 History of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program Judge Russell has also noticed that the veterans that had passed through his courtroom previously, exhibited different demeanors depending on who they were speaking with. He noticed that when a veteran, who had found his or her way into his courtroom, was talking to another veteran, s/he would be more relaxed and less tense about their situation. These conversations between veterans were more on the level of friends or peers rather than from a position of authority or professionalism. Judge Russell saw this change in demeanor as an opening to make a deeper impact on the lives of the veterans that came into his court. The first two veterans to act as mentors were the Court Coordinator Hank Pirowski and Veterans Advocate Jack O’Connor. Since this early time, the pool of mentors has grown and the roles they fill have expanded. Mr. O’Connor, a member of the Advisory Board for the Buffalo VA Medical Center, was able to bring together the Medical Center Director, Mr. Michael Finegan, the Advisory Board, and the Veterans Court Project leadership in order to discuss the Veterans Court. From this meeting two major determinations were made. The first was that Mr. Finegan agreed to place a Behavioral Health Supervisor and a secure VA computer in the courtroom. This allows for immediate benefit eligibility checks and allows for clinical appointments to be made on the spot. The second outcome was that a core of mentors was formed from the veteran’s advocates that were part of the Medical Center’s Advisory Board. This allowed the court to access a group of veterans that were dedicated to the support and care of other veterans. These members come from a number of Veteran Service Organizations including Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Order of the Purple Heart, and AMVETS. These members come from a number of governmental departments and military instillations including New York State Department of Veterans Affairs, Erie County Departments of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health, and Social Services, the VA Police Force, the Buffalo Police Force, the 107th Air Refueling Wing, and the Niagara Falls Air Force Base. These mentors are veterans from several times of combat as well as times of peace.

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1.3 Special Thanks Although, the first two veterans to act as mentors were Hank Pirowski and Jack O’Connor, the first person to be a veteran mentor was Mr. Pete Reibel. Unfortunately Mr. Reible passed away in late November, before the Veterans Court began. Mr. Reible served in the US Army during the Vietnam War and wished to support other veterans. His family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Buffalo Veterans Court Diversion Project for the mentoring program. These donations totaled nearly $1000. Chapter 77 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, where Mr. Reibel was a member, also donated $795 to the Veterans Mentoring Program in his honor. 1.4 Mission Statement of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program The Mission of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program is to support the veteran through their readjustment to civilian life, to assist the veteran navigate through the court, treatment, and VA systems, and to act as a friend and ally through this difficult time. 1.5 Vision Statement of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program The Vision of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program is that no one is left behind.

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1.6 Mentor Coordinator Job Description

Mentor Coordinator
Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project Main Function: The role of the Mentor Coordinator is to recruit, train, supervise, and coordinate mentors within the Veteran’s Court Diversion Program. The Mentor Coordinator will be responsible for recruiting potential mentors, screening candidates, and selecting individuals to become Veteran Mentors. The Mentor Coordinator will be responsible for training selected candidates in skills to facilitate a mentoring session and skills specific to the Veteran’s Court Diversion Program. The Mentor Coordinator will also be responsible for individual and group supervision as well as scheduling mentors to be present during the Veteran’s Court proceedings. Duties and Responsibilities: 1. Recruit and train volunteer Veteran’s Court mentors. 2. Assist in the retention of volunteer mentors. 3. Organize and conduct training for volunteer mentors. 4. Update and revise all training materials. 5. Provide in-service training to staff on current training issues. 6. Maintain volunteer records. 7. Assist in supervision of mentors. 8. Participate individual and group supervision for mentors. 9. Prepare written assessments of training and volunteer supervision. 10. Assist in the development of specialized training projects for the program. 11. Perform all other duties as assigned by direct supervisor. Qualifications: The position requires a Bachelor’s Degree in a human service field plus one year experience, preferably working with veterans or within the court system. It is preferable that individuals applying for this position are veterans themselves in order to better understand the concerns of the veterans in the court diversion program and the veterans who are serving as mentors. * This is a part-time position.

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1.7 Volunteer Mentor Job Description

Volunteer Veteran Mentor
Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project Main Function: The role of the Volunteer Veteran Mentor is to act as a coach, a guide, a role model, an advocate, and a support for the individuals s/he is working with. A mentor is intended to encourage, guide, and support the mentee as s/he progresses through the court process. This will include listening to the concerns of the mentee and making general suggestions, assisting the mentee determine what their needs are, and acting as a support for the mentee at a time when they may feel alone in a way that only another veteran can understand. Duties and Responsibilities: • • • • • • Attend at least one out of every four court sessions which occur on alternating Tuesdays. Participate in and lead mentoring sessions with veterans who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Be supportive and understanding of the difficulties veterans face. Assist the veterans as much as possible to resolve their concerns around the court procedures as well as interactions with the Veteran’s Administration system. Be supportive and helpful to the other mentors within the program. Be a veteran of one of the branches of the United States Military, including the Army, Marine Corp, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their corresponding Reserve or Guard branches Adhere to all of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project policies and procedures Commit to program participation for a minimum of six months Complete the required training procedures Attend monthly supervision Participate in additional trainings throughout time of service Willing listener Encouraging and supportive Tolerant and respectful of individual differences

Requirements:

• • • • • • • •

Desirable Qualities:

For more information or an application, please contact the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project, Mentor Coordinator at 845-2789.

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Section 2: Policies
2.1 Recruitment Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that there be recruitment activities for new mentors when necessary. As such, an Annual Review will take place in order to determine the recruitment goals and recruitment strategies, including number of mentors needed and at where new mentors should be recruited. The Mentor Coordinator assumes the majority of the responsibly for recruiting new mentors. Other member of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project as well as current mentors will support the Mentor Coordinator in these activities when necessary, including attending and hosting informational sessions. 2.2 Inquiry Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that all inquiries around participation in the mentoring program, outside of an informational session or sharing the application and information sheet, be directed to the Mentor Coordinator. It will be the responsibility of the Mentor Coordinator to contact back any prospective mentors within two weeks of their inquiry. 2.3 Eligibility Policy It is the policy of the of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that each mentor must meet the eligibility criteria in order to participate in the program. Extenuating circumstances may be reviewed at the discretion of the Mentor Coordinator. Mentor Eligibility Requirements • • • • • • • • Be a veteran of one of the branches of the United States Military, including the Army, Marine Corp, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their corresponding Reserve or Guard branches To adhere to all of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project policies and procedures To commit to program participation for a minimum of six months To attend at least one out of every four sessions of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Specialty Court To complete the screening process To complete the required training procedures To attend monthly supervision To participate in additional trainings throughout his/her time of service

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2.4 Screening Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that each potential mentor completes a screening procedure. The Mentor Coordinator will be responsible for walking each applicant through the screening procedure. This procedure will include: • Completing a written application form • Completing a personal interview The decision to accept or reject an applicant will be made by the Mentor Coordinator after the screening procedure has been completed. 2.5 Training Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that all mentors complete the required initial training procedures. This procedure will include: • Observe one court session • Attend communication skills training • Attend specialized veteran’s court training • Shadow five mentoring sessions with three different mentors • Complete shadowing forms for each shadowed mentoring session • Lead three mentoring sessions while being observed • Discuss lead mentoring sessions and observation forms • Complete individual supervision with the Mentor Coordinator Mentors will also be expected to attend quarterly advanced trainings on selected topics that present themselves during mentoring sessions. It is the responsibility of the Mentor Coordinator to plan, develop, and deliver all training sessions with support from other program staff, current mentors, or other professionals. Evaluation form will be collected after each training session in order to evaluate and improve the trainings and the trainer.

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2.6 Matching Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that the Mentor Coordinator will match mentors and mentees at each court appearance following the matching procedures. As mentors are not always present at each court session the Mentor Coordinator will have to match the available mentors with the mentees in need. The Mentor Coordinator will make matches based on the following criteria: • Previous sessions where the mentor and mentee were matched • Matching branch of service • Specific skill of a mentor matched to the need of a mentee • Similar age/gender/ethnicity The Mentor Coordinator will also take into consideration the requests of the mentors and mentees, alike, in making matches. 2.7 Mentoring Contact Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that no contact is made between mentors and mentees outside of the court selected mentoring sessions. Mentors should not give out their personal contact information to the mentees. Mentees will be given a general number for standard business hours and should be told to contact their case managers if they need immediate assistance or if they would like to get in contact with a specific mentor. The case managers will serve as the go-between in order to facilitate contact outside of the court selected mentoring sessions. Mentors may give out their professional information if they work or volunteer in a program that would be helpful to the veteran outside of the assistance provided by the court. 2.8 Supervision Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that mentors will be present for monthly group supervision sessions. Group supervision will be lead by the Mentor Coordinator and will cover any concerns shared by mentors as well as a review of any mentee files that are not meeting the recording standards. Supervision steps are outlined in the Supervision Procedure. Concerns that are not appropriate for group supervision may result in individual supervision with the Mentor Coordinator. These sessions may be initiated by either the mentor or the Mentor Coordinator.

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2.9 Recognition Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that all mentors be recognized for their role in making the program successful. The Mentor Coordinator is responsible for planning and implementing recognition activities. Possible recognition activities include: • An annual recognition event, where mentors are recognized for their length of service to the mentoring program • Utilizing outstanding mentors in the recruitment and training of new mentors 2.10 Record-Keeping Policy Mentor Applications It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that each step of the application process be documented and kept in a case file for each potential mentor. All check lists pertaining to training and observation requirements will also be kept in the case file for each mentor within the program. These files are to be kept confidential and not shared with anyone aside from the individuals involved in completing the observation forms and the Mentor Coordinator. All application and training files will be maintained for seven years after the end of the individual’s participation in the program. After seven years these files will be shredded and discarded by the Mentor Coordinator or another approved individual. Mentoring Contacts It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that each contact between mentor and mentee be tracked by the mentor making the contact. Information concerning the contact between mentor and mentee will be recorded in the contact log, without the inclusion of any information that should be kept confidential as there is no confidentiality linked to these contact logs. After a veteran has completed his/her time in the court system and is no longer seeing mentors, this log will be added to the case file for that individual in the event the individual returns to the Veteran’s Court Diversion Project. 2.11 Confidentiality Policy ***There should be a confidentiality policy stating what information should be kept confidential, who has access to confidential materials, what confidential information can be used for, how it will be kept confidential, and the limits of confidentiality. ***There should be confidentiality for the mentors as well as for the mentees. It will be important to specifically outline what information should be included and should not be included in the contact log as well as how information about the mentors will be protected.

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2.12 Unacceptable Behavior Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that unacceptable behaviors will not be tolerated while a mentor is participating in the program. Behaviors that do not match with the mission, vision, goals, or values of the Veteran’s Court Diversion Project will be considered unacceptable and are prohibited during court proceedings and mentoring sessions. These behaviors include: • Unwelcomed physical contact including inappropriate touching, patting, pinching, punching, or physical assault. • Unwelcomed physical, verbal, visual, or behavioral behaviors that degrades, shows hostility, or aversion toward an individual. • Any attempts to intimidate or coerce an individual. • Any actions or behaviors that would be considered beyond the role of the mentor. • Being under the influence of alcohol or any illicit substance while attending court proceedings. Any unacceptable behavior, as specified but not limited to the above stated behaviors, will result in a warning and/or disciplinary action including suspension or termination from the program. 2.13 Evaluation Policy It is the policy of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project that evaluation will be an important aspect of determining the effectiveness of the Mentoring Program and for making continuous improvements to the program. Evaluations will be completed every six months from both mentees and mentors concerning the effectiveness of the program. Mentees will be evaluating the effectiveness of the services provided to them and the mentors will be evaluating the supports provided for them, including trainings and supervision.

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Section 3: Procedures
3.1 Recruitment Procedure Recruiting mentors can be accomplished in a number of ways. Informational sessions should be held where interested individuals can attend. Individuals can also meet with the coordinator oneon-one. Flyers can be posted on bulletin boards in locations where potential mentors may see them about dates for informational sessions or who to contact if s/he is interested in participating. Short announcements can also be made at meetings and events where potential mentors may be present. An application (Attachment A) and an information sheet (Attachment B) should be distributed to all individuals interested in becoming a mentor. The application consists of contact information and questions about what has motivated the individual to want to become a mentor. The information sheet includes a mentor job description, containing the requirements and procedures for becoming a mentor, the mission and vision statements for the program, and contact information for the Mentor Coordinator. The application and the information sheet will allow the program to learn about the potential mentor and will allow the potential mentor to learn about the program. 3.2 Informational Sessions Procedure On at least a quarterly basis, either the Mentor Coordinator or a mentor that has been trained by the Mentor Coordinator will conduct informational sessions where potential mentors can learn more about the mentoring program and have their questions answered by a knowledgeable member of the mentoring program. At least one additional mentor should also attend each informational session in order to share his/her experiences with the potential mentors. The objectives and agenda for informational sessions, titled “Mentoring Makes a Difference” can be found as Attachment C.

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3.3 Screening and Selection Procedures All interested mentors must complete an application (Attachment A) and participate in an interview with the Mentor Coordinator using the Mentor Interview Questionnaire (Attachment D) in order to be considered eligible to participate in the mentoring program. This procedure will be helpful in determining if the applicant has the necessary beginning skills to be appropriate for the mentoring program. The Mentor Coordinator will take the following points into consideration when conducting interviews and selecting new mentors. • Effective mentors are those individuals who are committed to the mentoring program and want to be available to support other veterans. • Effective mentors are able to build relationships with the mentees while maintaining appropriate boundaries through the use of good communication skills, listening skills, and the ability to show empathy. • Communication skills are important to the effectiveness of the mentor/mentee relationship. • Training will also be provided around these skills for all mentors, but having a solid foundation in these skills will allow mentors to further develop their skills through the trainings that are offered. Interview Procedure Brief interviews will be conducted using the Mentor Interview Questionnaire (Attachment D) in order to determine if each potential mentor is the right fit for the mentoring program. It will be important to determine if the individual is committed to the mentoring program and has the appropriate skills in order to be a mentor. The interview also gives the applicant the opportunity to ask any final questions about the program. In the interview it will be important to discuss the following points with the applicant. It will be important to determine what the applicant views the role of the mentor to be from his/her point of view. It will also be important to cover the skills and characteristics that the applicant views as important to effective mentoring as well as the individual’s motivation for wanting to become a mentor. All of this information will be important to the effectiveness of the individual within the mentoring program. Selection Procedure After the interviews have been completed, the coordinator will be responsible for selecting the most appropriate applicants depending on the number of mentors needed. It may be helpful to select more than the minimum number of mentors necessary, so that additional mentors have been trained prior to there being a needed within the program.

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3.4 Training Procedures All new mentors will be responsible for completing observations, trainings, shadowing, and supervision upon entering the program. Each new mentor will be required to complete all of the activities listed on the Mentor Training Checklist (Attachment E) and outlined here: • Observe one court session • Attend communication skills training • Attend specialized veteran’s court training • Shadow five mentoring sessions with three different mentors • Complete shadowing forms for each shadowed mentoring session • Lead three mentoring sessions while being observed • Discuss lead mentoring sessions and observation forms • Complete individual supervision with the Mentor Coordinator Each new mentor will be required to observe the court proceedings at least once prior to moving on to shadowing one of the more experienced mentors. After observing the court proceedings, each new mentor will be expected to shadow five mentoring sessions with at least three different mentors. This will help the new mentor understand how a mentoring session is expected to take place and help him/her get a feel for some of the different styles that can be used depending on the personality of the mentor. During each shadowing exercise, the new mentor will be expected to complete an observation sheet (Attachment G) to assist him/her with tracking important skills and methods used by the mentors. While the observation and shadowing is taking place, the new mentor will be expected to attend two training sessions, one addressing the general communication skills necessary to conduct a mentoring session and the other addressing information specific to the Veteran’s Court program. The general communication skills training will include active listening skills, showing empathy, and questioning skills (Attachment F). The program specific training will include information about the court system, the Veteran’s Administration, and paperwork training for tracking mentoring contacts. After a new mentor completes both trainings and all of the required observation and shadowing, s/he will be expected to lead at least three mentoring sessions while being observed by a more experienced mentor assigned by the coordinator with at least one session being observed by the coordinator. Observation forms will also be completed in order to track the strengths and need areas of the new mentor (Attachment H). The observation sheets should be discussed with the new mentor at the termination of the mentoring session. The Mentor Coordinator will then conduct individual supervision with the new mentor to asses the progress of the new mentor. These activities and the accompanying forms will allow the coordinator to determine if the new mentor is ready to be conducting mentoring sessions on their own. If the new mentor is found to not be ready to mentor independently, additional shadowing activities and individual supervision can be used to improve the skills of the new mentor.

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3.5 Shift Selection Procedure Each month, after group supervision, all mentors will be asked to select shifts for the following two month period. Mentors are required to attend at least one out of every four court sessions, one session every two months. Four mentors will be present at every court session, not including the Mentor Coordinator and any mentors who have not completed their training. When a session does not have at least four mentors scheduled to attend, the Mentor Coordinator will contact mentors, who have not selected a shift, in order to fill those spaces. 3.6 Matching Procedures Prior to the court session, the Mentor Coordinator will gather all of the files for the mentees who will be seen before the court in that session. It will be the responsibility of the Mentor Coordinator to match those mentees with the mentors that are available at the court session that day. The mentee should then be given the option wait for a specific mentor if s/he so chooses. The Mentor Coordinator will make matches based on the following criteria: • Previous sessions where the mentor and mentee were matched • Matching branch of service • Specific skill of a mentor matched to the need of a mentee • Similar age/gender/ethnicity • Requests from mentee or mentor After a match has been made, the mentee file should be passed along to the selected mentor to allow him/her to become familiar with the specifics of the mentee’s file and the information from previous mentoring sessions. 3.7 Mentoring Contact Procedures Mentors should not give out their personal contact information. Mentors should give out a general number for standard business hours. Mentors should tell their mentees to contact their case managers if they need immediate assistance or if they would like to get in contact with a specific mentor. The case manager will decide whether or not to contact the mentor and the mentor will be able to determine when to contact back the mentee. Business cards (Attachment I) with the appropriate contact information and instructions should be given by each mentor during each mentoring session. The mentor should also verbally instruct the mentee of the policy and procedure for making contact with the mentor outside of the court selected sessions. Mentors may give out their professional information if they work or volunteer in a program that would be helpful to the veteran outside of the assistance provided by the court. This might include veteran organizations, such as the VFW or AMVETS, or support organizations, such as the Military Order of the Purple Heart or the Department of Veterans Affairs. 17

3.8 Mentoring Procedures Role of the Mentor The role of a mentor is to act as a coach, a guide, a role model, an advocate, and a support for the individuals s/he is working with. A mentor is intended to encourage, guide, and support the mentee as s/he progresses through the court process. This will include listening to the concerns of the mentee and making general suggestions, assisting the mentee determine what their needs are, and acting as a support for the mentee at a time when they may feel alone in a way that only another veteran can understand. Mentors are not… Mentors are not intended to take on the role of a parent, a professional counselor, a social worker, or a doctor. Although a mentor will be expected to use some of the skills used by these professions; listening, supporting, and advising, the level of involvement will be significantly less as the mentors are not trained professionals. It will be the responsibly of the mentor and the coordinator to maintain this boundary through group supervision and individual supervision when necessary. Concerns around suicide or other self harm, homicide or harm to others, non-compliance with medications, health or mental health concerns that have not been shared with a health professional, or anything the mentor is uncomfortable discussing should be seen as outside of the mentoring role. When concerns are brought up that fall into any of these categories, the mentor should encourage the veteran to share the information with an appropriate health care professional. The mentor can suggest that if the health care professional is present that the mentor will accompany the veteran and support him/her during the conversation. If the health care professional is not present, the information should be shared with the case manager through the court or with another member of the COURTS staff, either by the veteran or by the mentor, prior to the veteran leaving court. Mentoring Sessions Mentoring sessions consist of one-on-one meeting between a mentor and a veteran. Mentoring sessions are typically short, less then 30 minutes, but could be extended depending on the needs of the veteran. Mentoring sessions usually consist of questions related to the wellbeing of the veteran, any needs identified by the veteran or the courts, and any work that is being done by the veteran, the mentor, or the court to satisfy the identified needs of the veteran. Mentoring sessions should begin with introductions, if necessary, and then move into questions about how the veteran is progressing, how things are with the family members that are involved, and about concerns that were brought up in previous sessions. The majority of the mentoring session should consist of the mentor supporting the positive changes that the mentee has made and empathizing with the difficulties that the mentee is experiencing. Sessions should close with asking if the mentee needs anything or if the mentor or the court can do anything to be helpful to the mentee.

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3.9 Supervision Procedure Once a month, the Mentor Coordinator will hold group supervision. This group supervision will serve as on opportunity for all of the mentors to come together to discuss their concerns, their successes, and their ideas. Group supervision will last between 60 and 90 minutes, and follow the general structure of the Group Supervision Outline (Attachment J). Topics to be addressed during supervision are questions about what to do for a mentee, how to handle a particular question or situation with a mentee, and any other questions that a mentor may have about his/her contact with a mentee. The group setting will allow all of mentors to benefit from the questions and answers that are discussed as well as increasing the number of ideas and strategies provided around a specific concern or question. The group setting will also allow for the mentors to praise and support each other. Supervision will also serve as an opportunity for the Mentor Coordinator to check-in with all of the mentors as well as allowing for information to be dispelled to the entire group. This would include changes to the procedures of the program or any changes that need to be made to the way that paperwork is completed by the mentors. Supervision will serve as an opportunity for case review both in the process of the cases and in content of the case file. Individual supervision will also be available to mentors upon request of the mentor or the Mentor Coordinator. Most concerns should be addressed in group supervision, as to allow for all mentors to benefit from the information. 3.10 Recognition Procedures On an annual basis, all mentors will be recognized for their participation in the mentoring program. A recognition luncheon will be held in order to allow all mentors to be acknowledged for their hard work and dedication to the program. Award certificates will be presented to all participants and specialty awards will be developed to recognize participants who have exceeded expectations and requirements, as determined by the Mentor Coordinator, other members of the Veteran’s Court Diversion Project, and the other mentors. Length of service to the program will also be included as a point of achievement for each mentor at each recognition luncheon. All current mentors and all mentors that completed a minimum of six months of continuous service within the previous year will be invited to attend the recognition luncheon. It is the responsibility of the Mentor Coordinator to select a time and location for the recognition luncheon as well as developing the program for the luncheon and the certificates that are to be presented to the mentors.

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3.11 Record-Keeping Procedures Mentor Application and Training Recording Each step of the application process will be documented and kept in a file for each potential mentor. After a mentor has been selected, all check lists pertaining to training and observation requirements will be added to the file. Mentor evaluations will also be kept as part of the file. These files are intended to serve as a record of the service of the mentor for development purposes rather than disciplinary purposes. These files are to be kept confidential and not shared with anyone aside from the individual the file belongs to and the Mentor Coordinator. Observation forms will be shared at the time of observation and then placed into the file of the mentor being trained. Mentoring Contacts Every contact that occurs between mentor and mentee will be tracked by the mentor making the contact in the mentee’s contact log. Information concerning the contact between mentor and mentee will be recorded in the contact log, without the inclusion of any information that should be kept confidential as there is no confidentiality linked to these contact logs. After the contact has been logged, the file will be returned to the court for transcription. The court will transcribe the information in the contact log in order to keep the log legible and free of information that should not be included. After the written log has been transcribed into an electronic format, the log will be printed and added to the file so that it can be read by the next mentor working with that mentee. The hand written log sheets will be kept in a file by the court, if the need ever arises to return to the original log pages. After a veteran has completed his/her time in the court system and is no longer seeing mentors, this log will be added to the case file for that individual to be made available if the individual returns to the Veteran’s Court Diversion Project.

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3.12 Unacceptable Behavior Procedures A number of behaviors are considered unacceptable and will not be tolerated while a mentor is participating in the program. Behaviors that do not match with the mission, vision, goals, or values of the Veteran’s Court Diversion Project will be considered unacceptable and are prohibited during court proceedings and mentoring sessions. These behaviors include: • Unwelcomed physical contact including inappropriate touching, patting, pinching, punching, or physical assault. • Unwelcomed physical, verbal, visual, or behavioral behaviors that degrades, shows hostility, or aversion toward an individual. • Any attempts to intimidate or coerce an individual. • Any actions or behaviors that would be considered beyond the role of the mentor. • Being under the influence of alcohol or any illicit substance while attending court proceedings. Any mentors who observe unacceptable behavior occurring between a mentor and a mentee should report the incident to the Mentor Coordinator as quickly as possible. The individual reporting the behavior may be asked to complete a short written statement of whom and what was observed. It will then be the responsibility of the Mentor Coordinator to look into the questionable interaction and determine if a warning and/or disciplinary action including suspension or termination from the program is warranted. 3.13 Evaluation Procedures Evaluations will be completed every six months from both mentees and mentors concerning the effectiveness of the mentoring program. Mentees will be evaluating the effectiveness of the services provided to them by the mentors (Attachment K) and the mentors will be evaluating the supports provided for them, including trainings and supervision, by the Mentor Coordinator and each other (Attachment L). Evaluations will also be completed after all trainings that occur for the mentors in order to determine the effectiveness of the trainings.

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Attachment A: Volunteer Mentoring Program Application

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program Application Form
Date: Last Name: Address: First Name:

Email Address: Phone 1: Phone 2: Branch of Service: Occupation: Are you available on Tuesday afternoons between 2 and 4pm? What does being a “mentor” mean to you? Yes No Home Home Length of Service: Work Work Cell Cell

What motivated you to want to participate in Veteran’s Court Mentoring Program?

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program Application Form
What skills and experiences do you bring to the mentoring program that will be helpful to you, the other mentors, or the veterans in the program?

What are you hoping to take away from volunteering with the Veteran’s Court Mentoring Program?

Mentors will be expected to participate in observation, training, shadowing, and supervision as part of their entry into the mentoring program. Mentors will also be expected to attend additional trainings and monthly group supervision meetings. The Veteran’s Court Mentoring Program is looking for at least a 6 month commitment from all volunteers prior to entering into the training program. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mr. Jack O’Connor Volunteer Coordinator for the Veteran’s Court Mentoring Program at 858-7345 or by e-mail oconnorj@erie.gov

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Attachment B: Volunteer Mentoring Program Information Sheet

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project Mentoring Program Information Sheet
Mission Statement The Mission of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program is to support the veteran through their readjustment to civilian life, to assist the veteran navigate through the court, treatment, and VA systems, and to act as a friend and ally through this difficult time. Vision Statement The Vision of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program is that no one is left behind. Having veterans participate as mentors is an important part of the Veteran’s Court Diversion Project as there is a bond that occurs between veterans around the values that are shared and the sacrifices that have been made. There are veterans in the community that are having difficulties and are in need of support. It is the responsibility of the veteran community to advocate for and support these veterans that have come into the hardest times and have made contact with the criminal justice system. Are you ready to take on that responsibility? The Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project: Mentoring Program can help you to take the first steps toward taking on that responsibility. The Mentoring Program offers support and encouragement for veterans in the court system by spending one-on-one time with the veteran after they appear during the proceedings of the Veteran’s Specialty Court. These mentoring session usually do not last longer than 30 minutes and give the veteran the opportunity to bring up concerns and get feedback and support from another veteran. Trainings on how to lead a mentoring session, what to ask, how to ask, and how to listen to the answers, are offered as part of the orientation trainings. In addition, program specific trainings are also offered as part of the orientation training, including information about the court system and the VA system. The Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project: Mentoring Program also offers support and supervision to all of the mentors from the Mentor Coordinator as well as from the other mentors in the program. Support is the main component of the program, for the veterans involved with the court system as well as the mentors in the program. Supervision occurs on the monthly basis in a group format to allow mentors to share experiences, ideas, barriers, and advances. Advanced trainings will also be offered to address concerns voiced during group supervision. The Mentoring Program is looking for a six month commitment from all volunteer mentors in order to maintain the program at a level that will be effective in supporting the veterans in the court system. All potential mentors are required to fill out an application and complete a short face-to-face interview with the Mentor Coordinator prior to being accepted into the program. Observational activities, including observing the court proceedings and observing other mentors, will be completed prior to a new mentor leading a mentoring session.

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Volunteer Veteran Mentor
Position Description Main Function: The role of the Volunteer Veteran Mentor is to act as a coach, a guide, a role model, an advocate, and a support for the individuals s/he is working with. A mentor is intended to encourage, guide, and support the mentee as s/he progresses through the court process. This will include listening to the concerns of the mentee and making general suggestions, assisting the mentee determine what their needs are, and acting as a support for the mentee at a time when they may feel alone in a way that only another veteran can understand. Duties and Responsibilities: • • • • • • Attend at least one out of every four court sessions which occur on alternating Tuesdays. Participate in and lead mentoring sessions with veterans who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Be supportive and understanding of the difficulties veterans face. Assist the veterans as much as possible to resolve their concerns around the court procedures as well as interactions with the Veteran’s Administration system. Be supportive and helpful to the other mentors within the program. Be a veteran of one of the branches of the United States Military, including the Army, Marine Corp, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their corresponding Reserve or Guard branches. Adhere to all of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project policies and procedures. Commit to program participation for a minimum of six months. Complete the required training procedures. Attend monthly supervision. Participate in additional trainings throughout time of service. Willing listener Encouraging and supportive Tolerant and respectful of individual differences

Requirements:

• • • • • • • •

Desirable Qualities:

For more information or an application, please contact the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project, Mentor Coordinator at 845-2789.

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Attachment C: Volunteer Mentoring Program Information Session
“Mentoring Makes a Difference”

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“Mentoring Makes a Difference”
The objectives for the informational session are to • Build engagement between the program and the potential mentors in order to increase program participation • Provide basic information about the program including the mission, vision, goals, and history of the program • Provide basic information about the role of and expectations for mentors in this program • Assist potential mentors determine if they are willing and able to continue on into the screening process The agenda for the hour long informational session is as follows: 1. Introduction (10 minutes) a. Each of the presenters will introduce his/her self, including name, branch of service, and what brought them to the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project: Mentoring Program. b. Each potential mentor will introduce him/her self, including name, branch of service, and what motivated them want to join the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project: Mentoring Program. 2. Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project: Mentoring Program Overview (15 minutes) a. Give an overview of the mission, vision, goals, and history for the mentoring program. b. Give an overview of the mentoring role and expectations for mentors in the program. c. Give an overview of the application and screening procedures for the mentoring program. 3. Mentoring Makes a Difference (20 minutes) a. Each of the current mentors in attendance will share with the potential mentors how being a mentor in the Veteran’s Court Diversion Project has positively impacted him/her self. b. Each of the current mentors in attendance will share with the potential mentors how s/he has impacted the mentees that s/he has worked with. 4. Question and Answer (10 minutes) a. Give all potential mentors the opportunity to ask questions about the program, the mentoring role, and the expectations for mentors. b. Allow current mentors to ask and answer questions that they previously had about the program in order to stimulate questioning. 5. Wrap-up (5 minutes) a. Thank the potential mentors for their attendance and attention. b. Provide application forms and information sheets for potential mentors to take with them.

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Attachment D: Volunteer Mentoring Program Mentor Interview Questionnaire

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program Mentor Interview Questionnaire
Applicant Name: Interview Conducted by: I need to ask a number of questions about you that will help me determine if you fit with the mission, vision, goals, and values of the Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project: Mentoring Program. Do you understand? 1. What motivated you to become a mentor? Date:

2. How do you think you will be helpful to the veterans that you mentor?

3. What do you think are your strengths?

4. What do you think are some areas you need to improve on?

5. Are you willing and able to fulfill the commitments of the program – attending one out of every four court proceedings and attending all of the required trainings and supervision sessions for a minimum of six months?

6. What skills and experience do you bring that will be helpful to your fellow mentors and the veterans you mentor?

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program Mentor Interview Questionnaire
Applicant Name: Interview Conducted by: 7. What does being a mentor mean to you? Date:

8. What do you hope to gain from the experience?

9. What do you hope your mentees gain from working with you?

10. Do you have any questions about the program that I can answer for you?

Interviewers Comments:

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Attachment E: Volunteer Mentoring Program Mentor Training Checklist

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program Mentor Training Checklist
Starting Date: Last Name: First Name:

Phase 1. The following activity must be completed prior to moving to Phase 2. One Courtroom Observation Date: MC Initials:

Phase 2. The following activities must be completed prior to moving to Phase 3. Communication Skills Training Specialized Court Training Shadow Mentoring Session Shadow Mentoring Session Shadow Mentoring Session Shadow Mentoring Session Shadow Mentoring Session Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: MC Initials: MC Initials: VM Initials: VM Initials: VM Initials: VM Initials: VM Initials: Form Form Form Form Form

Phase 3. The following activities must be completed prior to moving to Phase 4. Lead Mentoring Session Lead Mentoring Session Lead Mentoring Session Date: Date: Date: VM Initials: VM Initials: MC Initials: Form Form Form

Phase 4. The following activity must be completed prior to moving to Phase 5. Complete Individual Supervision Date: MC Initials:

Phase 5. Independent Mentoring. Congratulations! MC = Mentor Coordinator VM = Veteran Mentor 34

Attachment F: Volunteer Mentoring Program Communication Skills Training

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Communication Skills Training Outline
Session Title: Mentoring Communication Skills Objectives: To teach new mentors the communication skills necessary for them to be able to conduct effective mentoring sessions, through good listening skills, showing empathy through paraphrasing, and using effective questioning techniques. Agenda 1. Icebreaker: Introductions (15 minutes) 2. What is a mentor? (15 minutes) a. A mentor is … b. A mentor is not … 3. Active Listening Skills (30 minutes) a. Non-verbal listening skills b. Verbal listening skills c. Active listening activities BREAK (10 minutes) 4. Empathy Through Paraphrasing (45 minutes) a. What is empathy? b. What is paraphrasing? c. How are empathy and paraphrasing helpful? BREAK (10 minutes) 5. Questioning Techniques (45 minutes) a. Purpose of questioning b. Types of questions c. Putting it all together 6. Wrap up (15 minutes) a. What is next? b. Questions c. Evaluation of the training

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1. Icebreaker: Introduction (10 minutes) The group of individuals attending this training may or may not know each other or may not know each other well. It will be important to begin building group trust that will allow all member of the group to be engaged with the group and the work that needs to be accomplished. Purposes: 1. To encourage the group members to get to know each other better. 2. To begin involving the trainees in the training process. 3. To begin thinking about listening and communication skills. Icebreaker Activity Ask the group make partners. They should select someone they do not know at all or that they do not know well. Ask the partners to take turns introducing themselves to their partners and sharing information about themselves for about two minutes and then switch. Remind the group that part of this training will be about listening skills. After each member of the partnership has had the opportunity to introduce him or herself, bring everyone back together into a large group. Ask each member of the group to introduce their partner to the group. How much did the partners remember about each other? Did they use any strategies to remember information about the other person?

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2. Role of a Mentor Ask the group to work for a few minutes answering the questions on the first page of their training packets about the role of a mentor. After 5 minutes ask the group how they answered the first two questions, one at a time. Question 1: What does the word “mentor” mean to you? Question 2: What roles do mentors fill? As the group answers, write the key words onto an overhead or flip chart so that the group can see the words that have been used. The next page of the flip chart should have a list of all of the key words from the following statement. Most of these key words should be generated by the group. • Coach Someone who… • Guide • Encourages • Role Model • Guides • Advocate • Understands • A support • Listens Share any ideas from the statement that the group does not suggest on their own. Role of the Mentor The role of a mentor is to act as a coach, a guide, a role model, an advocate, and a support for the individuals s/he is working with. A mentor is intended to encourage, guide, and support the mentee as s/he progresses through the court process. This will include listening to the concerns of the mentee and making general suggestions, assisting the mentee determine what their needs are, and acting as a support for the mentee at a time when they may feel alone.

Then ask the group how they answered the third question. Question 3: What roles do mentors not fill? As the group answers, write the key words onto an overhead or flip chart so that the group can see the words that have been used. The next page of the flip chart should have a list of all of the key words from the following statement. Most of these key words should be generated by the group. • A parent • A social workers • A professional counselor • A doctor Share any ideas from the statement that the group does not suggest on their own, especially the ideas that supervision will be helpful in maintaining appropriate boundaries and to bring concerns to the court personnel if something comes up that is outside of the scope of the mentor. 38

Mentors are not… Mentors are not intended to take on the role of a parent, a professional counselor, a social worker, or a doctor. Although a mentor will be expected to use some of the skills used by these professions; listening, supporting, and advising, the level of involvement will be significantly less as the mentors are not trained professionals. It will be the responsibly of the mentor and the coordinator to maintain this boundary through group supervision and individual supervision when necessary. Then ask the group to share their answers for the fourth question. Question 4: What are some concerns that would be outside of the scope of the mentoring role? The next page of the flip chart should have a list of all of the key words from the following statement. Most of these key words should be generated by the group. • • • Suicide or other self harm Homicide or harm to others Non-compliance with medication • Health or mental health concerns that have not been shared with a health professional.

When concerns are brought up that fall into any of these categories, the mentor should encourage the veteran to share the information with an appropriate health care professional. The mentor can suggest that if the health care professional is present that the mentor will accompany the veteran and support him/her during the conversation. If the health care professional is not present, the information should be shared with the case manager through the court or with another member of the COURTS staff, either by the veteran or by the mentor, prior to the veteran leaving court.

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3. Active Listening Active listening involves both verbal and non-verbal components that help the mentee know that they are being listened to and that the mentor is involved in the discussion. Displaying these verbal and non-verbal components will help the mentee feel more comfortable and more willing to share information with the mentor. Non-verbal Components Non-verbal components of active listening include • eye contact • open and relaxed body posture • slight inward lean • head nodding • appropriate affective responses; laughing, smiling, or concern These behaviors let the mentee know that the mentor is actively listening to what is being said. Verbal Components • Minimal encouragement; uh-huh, so, sure • Verbal following; making statements that follow from the preceding statements made by the mentee Minimal encouragements include short statements like “uh-huh,” “so,” “sure,” which let the mentee know that the mentor is still listening while allowing the mentee to continue talking without being interrupted. Verbal following involves the mentor making statements that follow from the preceding statements made by the mentee. This creates continuity and shows that the mentor is listening to the mentee. Using this skill also helps the mentor to not interrupt the mentee and helps the mentor to stay on track and not shift topic unexpectedly.

Active Listening Activity
Part 1 Explain that the group is going to observe a role-play demonstrating good active listening skills and not so good active listening skills. They will have to determine which one is which. Select a volunteer to act as the “mentee” in the role play, while the “mentor” is played by the trainer. Ask the “mentee” to tell you a story about a recent event that happened. It doesn’t have to be something personal, just a story about the person. Ask the group to keep track of what the “mentor” does well and what the “mentor” does not do well on their handouts. Try to determine which role-play is the good active listening role-play and which is not.

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Role-play A: Less than 5 minutes While the “mentee” is telling the story, the “mentor” should display non-attending behavior, by not looking at the “mentee”, having crossed arms and/or legs, slouching in his/her chair, and looking disinterested in the story the “mentee” is telling. The “mentor” should also interrupt and ask a question that is unrelated to what the “mentee” has been saying. After the role-play is terminated, ask the group which role-play was just demonstrated. They should respond that it was the not so good active listening skills. Ask the “mentee” how s/he felt during the role-play. S/he should respond that s/he did not feel heard or that the “mentor” did not care about what s/he was saying. We don’t want to be that mentor! Role-play B: Less than 5 minutes Again ask the volunteer to act as the “mentee” and tell you a story. This time the “mentor” should display attentive, active listening skills; eye contact, open body language, and use minimal encouragers. The “mentor” should also appropriately ask a question related to the story the “mentee” is telling them. After the role-play is terminated, ask the group what they thought of that role-play. What did the “mentor” do well? Ask the “mentee” how s/he felt during that role-play. What was different from the first role-play?

Part 2 Ask the trainees to break up into partners, different from their partners from either, but again someone that they do not know well. Ask each group to take turns sharing a story and practicing their active listening skills. Remind them that since this is a listening exercise, they will be asked to retell their partner’s story later. After the groups have been working for 5 minutes, remind them to switch roles. Throughout the activity, move from group to group checking on each group’s progress. After the time period is up, bring the group back together and ask for a few volunteers to retell their partner’s story. After a few stories, ask the group if they felt this was an easy thing to do or if they had a hard time. Validate their feelings either way. Listening can be a really hard thing to do. The listener has to focus and listen actively in order to take in the information and help the speaker to feel heard. Or some people might think it was easy. That is good, that means they already use these skills and are an active listener. Do they do anything that they have found to be helpful with active listening?

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4. Empathy through Paraphrasing Part 1. Ask the group to work for a few minutes answering the questions on the next page of their training packets about empathy. After 5 minutes ask the group how they answered the first two questions, one at a time. Question 1: What does empathy mean? Question 2: What role does empathy play in mentoring sessions? As the group answers, write the key words onto an overhead or flip chart so that the group can see the words that have been used. The next page of the flip chart should have a list of all of the key words from the following statement. Most of these key words should be generated by the group. Empathy is the sense of sharing feelings with someone else. This is accomplished through being present in the moment and non-judgmentally observing the thoughts and feelings within one’s self, while also observing the other person’s feelings, needs, requests, and perspective. “I understand how that would be difficult.” “That must have been really frustrating for you?” Empathy is different from offering advice, educating, consoling, telling a story, interrogating, explaining, correcting, or reassuring. Empathy requires a willingness to understand the thoughts and feelings of another individual without concern for the correctness or the accuracy of those thoughts and feelings. You may not agree with his/her feelings, but you understand his/her feelings and what, from his/her perspective, contributes to those feelings.

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Part 2. Ask the group how they answered the next three questions, one at a time. Question 3: What does paraphrasing mean? Question 4: How is paraphrasing helpful in mentoring sessions? Question 6: How are verbal and non-verbal active listening skills used to show empathy? As the group answers, write the key words onto an overhead or flip chart so that the group can see the words that have been used. The next page of the flip chart should have a list of all of the key words from the following statement. Most of these key words should be generated by the group. Paraphrasing involves the mentor repeating back the important aspects of the previous statement made by the mentee in their own words, while incorporating the non-verbal communication and tone into the statement back. This serves many purposes. This statement back of content, feeling, or both, lets the mentee know that the mentor is listening and interested in what the mentee is saying to him/her. This statement also shows that the mentor understands what is being said and how the mentee feels. Here are some examples of how to begin a paraphrasing statement. • I hear you saying that … • In other words… • It seems to me… • It seems to me… • Okay, let me see if I am hearing • If I am hearing you correctly… you… The paraphrasing statement also opens up the opportunity for the mentee to disagree, clarify, or give additional information. This is not only helpful for the mentor to make sure they understand what is being said, but is also helpful for the mentee as it can help the mentee reflect upon what s/he said when hearing it stated back to him/her. Using paraphrasing allows a mentor to show empathy for a mentee. By using the lead-ins provided, mentors can show that they are trying to understand the situation that the mentee is in, in a non-judgmental way. Empathy can also be expressed through verbal and especially non-verbal components of active listening. By maintaining appropriate eye-contact, nodding along with a story, and displaying appropriate facial expressions, a mentor can express a great deal emotion to a mentee without even saying a word. Combining these behaviors with short verbal expressions can further increase the feelings of empathy.

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5. Questioning Techniques Ask the group, before they turn to the next page, what reasons are there to ask questions? After they answer, allow them to turn the page to find information about the purposes of questions and the types of questions. Questioning serves a number of purposes. It allows for information to be gathered, to clarify information, to encourage the mentee to participate in the session, and to help the mentee clarify his/her situation for his/her benefit. Questioning is also helpful to get things started. Asking about how things are going will usually get an individual going and participating in the discussion. Questions can be either opened or closed questions. Open questions invite an explanation where closed questions are either yes or no answers or require some other specific answer such as age or marital status. Questions should be open ended for the most part, allowing for the mentee to take the conversation to the area of the most concern for him/her and allowing the mentee to share additional information about the topic. There are instances when closed questions may be appropriate, such as times when specific information is needed or in order to clarify something that has been said. Ideally questions should build from something said by the mentee in the previous exchange or regarding previous information that was gathered. Standard Questions: • How are things going? • How are things with ___________? (insert significant family member) • How did it work out with _________? • What can I be helpful with? • Can you tell me more about that? • What have you done before that was helpful? • What do you want to do next? Ask the group to develop some more questions that would be helpful when working with the mentees.

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Putting it all Together
These steps are intended to assist the mentor in supporting the mentee by having someone who is listening and understanding of their concerns.

Step 1: Question
The first step is to ask an opening question. This is usually something open-ended which would allow the mentee to take the session in a direction that will be most helpful for them. How are things going? How are things with ___________? (insert significant family member) This opening question could also be checking in on something that was discussed in a pervious session. How did it work out with _________?

Step 2: Empathize
The next step is to empathize with the mentee by being present. This means not saying anything and listening fully and carefully. This also requires not formulating a response until the mentee has completed their statements.

Step 3: Paraphrase
The third step is to paraphrase the mentee’s statement. This expresses that you heard him/her say and gives him/her an opportunity to clarify if you misunderstood what s/he was saying, how s/he was feeling, or what s/he was thinking about.

Step 4: Clarify
In the event that you are still not clear or you want additional information about something, you can use a statement similar to this one: “I am still a little confused. Can you tell me more about that?”

Step 5: Question
This brings the cycle back to questioning. After you have gained a clear picture of the situation from the mentee’s point of view, through empathizing, paraphrasing, and clarifying, it is time to ask another question. The best questions are developed out of the most recent previous statement in the discussion. This helps to keep the discussion fluid and lets the mentee know that you are listening.

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Communication Skills Role Play
Purpose: This role play is intended to give the group the opportunity to incorporate all of the information they have learned into a mentoring session situation. It will be important for the group to remember to use their active listening skills, their empathic skills, their paraphrasing skills, and their questioning skills in order to be the most effective mentors that they can be.

Activity: Ask the group to divide themselves into groups of three in order to complete the communication skills role play. Each group will have a mentor, a mentee, and an observer. The tasks will rotate until everyone has had a turn to fill each of the three roles. Give each group one of the two role plays. The Communication Skills Role Play Observation Form that is part of the training packet, should be filled out by the observer during each of the role play rotations. Each role play rotation should last approximately five minutes. Allow a few minutes for discussion in between each rotation for the observer to share their thoughts will the mentor.

Discussion: After all three rotations have occurred; ask the group to come back together. Ask the group what they observed their mentor doing that was really good. Ask that observer how that skill will impact how they mentor in the future. Ask the group how they felt about the role plays; were they confident, are they more confident now?

Final Questions: Ask the group to answer the following question; what have you learned during this training that will help you when you begin mentoring? How will this be helpful in a mentoring session?

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Role Play 1 Billy, 24, was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps six months ago. Since that time, Billy has not been able to hold down a job and is currently unemployed. While Billy was in a Marine Corps, he was deployed to Iraq twice in the last three years. Six weeks ago, Billy was arrested at a local bar for assault. His case was transferred into the Veteran’s Court Diversion Program at that time. This is the second time that you are seeing Billy and during your first meeting Billy reported that his mom is trying to be supportive and wants to be involved in helping him get back on track. He also reported that “she just doesn’t understand what it is like.” How does the first five minutes of this mentoring session with Billy look?

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Role Play 2 Sam was honorably discharged from the Army in 1973, after spending time in Vietnam. Sam had been working as a mechanic since his discharge in 1973 until he was forced to retire due to an injury he sustained three years ago, which exacerbated an injury he received while in Vietnam. Since then he has had trouble making ends meet and has started drinking heavily. He was arrested two months ago for a domestic violence offense against his wife of 35 years, Carol. His case was transferred into the Veteran’s Court Diversion Program six weeks ago. Carol is still living with Sam and is supportive of his efforts to change. Sam is skeptical of the VA system and has not been in touch with them about his situation. This is the first time that a mentor is meeting with Sam. How does the first five minutes of this mentoring session look?

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Communication Skills Role Play Observation Form
Date: Mentor: Observer: Strengths – What are the important skills that the mentor used? 1.

2.

3.

Alternatives – What might you have done differently? 1.

2.

3.

Additional Comments:

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Please share your observations with the mentor and discuss alternative options for aspects of the mentoring session.

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6. Wrap up What is Next? Observe one court session Attend communication skills training Attend specialized veteran’s court training Shadow five mentoring sessions with three different mentors Complete shadowing forms for each shadowed mentoring session Lead three mentoring sessions while being observed Discuss lead mentoring sessions and observation forms Complete individual supervision with the Mentor Coordinator

     • • •

Questions from the group

Please complete the training evaluation.

Thank you for your attention and participation!

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program

Communication Skills Training Evaluation
Trainer: What did you find to be most useful about this training? Date:

What did you find to be least useful?

Was there anything you felt was missing that you would have liked to learn more about?

Please rate the following: Effectiveness of trainer Training room Training content Training activities Training materials Overall rating

Poor 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2

Average 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4

Excellent 5 5 5 5 5 5

List of other topics or concerns you would like to have addressed in future trainings.

Other comments:

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court Diversion Project: Mentoring Program
Mentoring Communication Skills

Trainee Handbook

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Veteran’s Mentoring Program
Mentoring Communication Skills
The objective for this training is to assist you to develop the communication skills necessary to be able to conduct effective mentoring sessions with the veterans that are assigned for you to mentor. These skills include good listening skills, showing empathy through paraphrasing, and using effective questioning techniques. We will begin first with discussing what it means to be a mentor and what it does not mean. When asked by the trainer, please answer the following questions about being a mentor.

Being a Mentor
What does the word “mentor” mean to you?

What roles do mentors fill?

What roles do mentors not fill?

What are some concerns that would be outside of the scope of the mentoring role?

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Being a Mentor
Role of the Mentor • Coach • Guide • Role Model • Advocate • A support

Someone who… • Encourages • Guides • Understands • Listens

The role of a mentor is to act as a coach, a guide, a role model, an advocate, and a support for the individuals s/he is working with. A mentor is intended to encourage, guide, and support the mentee as s/he progresses through the court process. This will include listening to the concerns of the mentee and making general suggestions, assisting the mentee determine what their needs are, and acting as a support for the mentee at a time when they may feel alone.

Mentors are not… Mentors are not intended to take on the role of a parent, a professional counselor, a social worker, or a doctor. Although a mentor will be expected to use some of the skills used by these professions; listening, supporting, and advising, the level of involvement will be significantly less as the mentors are not trained professionals. Concerns that are outside of the mentoring role include: • Suicide or other self harm • • Homicide or harm to others • Non-compliance with medication Health or mental health concerns that have not been shared with a health professional.

When concerns are brought up that fall into any of the above categories, the mentor should encourage the veteran to share the information with an appropriate health care professional. The mentor can suggest that if the health care professional is present that the mentor will accompany the veteran and support him/her during the conversation. If the health care professional is not present, the information should be shared with the case manager through the court or with another member of the COURTS staff, either by the veteran or by the mentor, prior to the veteran leaving court.

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Active Listening Skills
Active listening involves both verbal and non-verbal components that help the mentee know that they are being listened to and that the mentor is involved in the discussion. Displaying these verbal and non-verbal components will help the mentee feel more comfortable and more willing to share information with the mentor. Positive Non-verbal Components • Eye contact • Open and relaxed body posture • Slight inward lean • Head nodding • Appropriate responses; laughing, smiling, or concern Verbal Components • Minimal encouragement; uh-huh, so, sure • Verbal following; making statements that follow from the preceding statements made by the mentee

Active Listening Activity
The trainer is going to conduct a role-play demonstrating good active listening skills and not so good active listening skills. Please answer the following questions for both role-plays. Can you tell which is which? Role-play 1: Active Listening? YES/NO What did the mentor do well?

What could the mentor have done better?

Role-play 2: Active Listening? YES/NO What did the mentor do well?

What could the mentor have done better?

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Empathy through Paraphrasing
What is empathy?

What role does empathy play in mentoring sessions?

What is paraphrasing?

How is paraphrasing helpful in mentoring sessions?

How can active listening skills be used to show empathy?

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Empathy through Paraphrasing
Empathy Empathy is the sense of sharing feelings with someone else. This is accomplished through being present in the moment and non-judgmentally observing the thoughts and feelings within one’s self, while also observing the other person’s feelings, needs, requests, and perspective. “I understand how that would be difficult.” “That must have been really frustrating for you?” Empathy is different from offering advice, educating, consoling, telling a story, interrogating, explaining, correcting, or reassuring. Empathy requires a willingness to understand the thoughts and feelings of another individual without concern for the correctness or the accuracy of those thoughts and feelings. You may not agree with his/her feelings, but you understand his/her feelings and what, from his/her perspective, contributes to those feelings. Paraphrasing Paraphrasing involves the mentor repeating back the important aspects of the previous statement made by the mentee in their own words, while incorporating the non-verbal communication and tone into the statement back. This serves many purposes. This statement back of content, feeling, or both, lets the mentee know that the mentor is listening and interested in what the mentee is saying to him/her. This statement also shows that the mentor understands what is being said and how the mentee feels. Here are some examples of how to begin a paraphrasing statement. • I hear you saying that … • In other words… • It seems to me… • It seems to me… • Okay, let me see if I am hearing • If I am hearing you correctly… you… The paraphrasing statement also opens up the opportunity for the mentee to disagree, clarify, or give additional information. This is not only helpful for the mentor to make sure they understand what is being said, but is also helpful for the mentee as it can help the mentee reflect upon what s/he said when hearing it stated back to him/her. Using paraphrasing allows a mentor to show empathy for a mentee. By using the lead-ins provided, mentors can show that they are trying to understand the situation that the mentee is in, in a non-judgmental way. Empathy can also be expressed through verbal and especially non-verbal components of active listening. By maintaining appropriate eye-contact, nodding along with a story, and displaying appropriate facial expressions, a mentor can express a great deal emotion to a mentee without even saying a word. Combining these behaviors with short verbal expressions can further increase the feelings of empathy.

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Questioning Techniques
Purpose of Questioning Questioning serves a number of purposes. It allows for information to be gathered, to clarify information, to encourage the mentee to participate in the session, and to help the mentee clarify his/her situation for his/her benefit. Questioning is also helpful to get things started. Asking about how things are going will usually get an individual going and participating in the discussion. Types of Questions Questions can be either opened or closed questions. Open questions invite an explanation where closed questions are either yes or no answers or require some other specific answer such as age or marital status. Questions should be open ended for the most part, allowing for the mentee to take the conversation to the area of the most concern for him/her and allowing the mentee to share additional information about the topic. There are instances when closed questions may be appropriate, such as times when specific information is needed or in order to clarify something that has been said. Ideally questions should build from something said by the mentee in the previous exchange or regarding previous information that was gathered. Standard Questions: • How are things going? • How are things with ___________? (insert significant family member) • How did it work out with _________? • What can I be helpful with? • Can you tell me more about that? • What have you done before that was helpful? • What do you want to do next? What are some other questions that could be used with mentees?

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Putting it all Together
Step 1: Question
The first step is to ask an opening question. This is usually something open-ended which would allow the mentee to take the session in a direction that will be most helpful for them. How are things going? How are things with ___________? (insert significant family member) This opening question could also be checking in on something that was discussed in a pervious session. How did it work out with _________?

Step 2: Empathize
The next step is to empathize with the mentee by being present. This means not saying anything and listening fully and carefully. This also requires not formulating a response until the mentee has completed their statements.

Step 3: Paraphrase
The third step is to paraphrase the mentee’s statement. This expresses that you heard him/her say and gives him/her an opportunity to clarify if you misunderstood what s/he was saying, how s/he was feeling, or what s/he was thinking about.

Step 4: Clarify
In the event that you are still not clear or you want additional information about something, you can use a statement similar to this one: “I am still a little confused. Can you tell me more about that?”

Step 5: Question
This brings the cycle back to questioning. After you have gained a clear picture of the situation from the mentee’s point of view, through empathizing, paraphrasing, and clarifying, it is time to ask another question. The best questions are developed out of the most recent previous statement in the discussion. This helps to keep the discussion fluid and lets the mentee know that you are listening.

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Communication Skills Role Play Observation Form
Date: Mentor: Observer: Strengths – What are the important skills that the mentor used? 1.

2.

3.

Alternatives – What might you have done differently? 1.

2.

3.

Additional Comments:

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Please share your observations with the mentor and discuss alternative options for aspects of the mentoring session.

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What is Next?
   • • • • • Observe one court session Attend communication skills training Attend specialized veteran’s court training Shadow five mentoring sessions with three different mentors Complete shadowing forms for each shadowed mentoring session Lead three mentoring sessions while being observed Discuss lead mentoring sessions and observation forms Complete individual supervision with the Mentor Coordinator

Questions

Please complete the training evaluation. Thank you for your attention and participation!

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Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program

Communication Skills Training Evaluation
Trainer: What did you find to be most useful about this training? Date:

What did you find to be least useful?

Was there anything you felt was missing that you would have liked to learn more about?

Please rate the following: Effectiveness of trainer Training room Training content Training activities Training materials Overall rating

Poor 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2

Average 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4

Excellent 5 5 5 5 5 5

List of other topics or concerns you would like to have addressed in future trainings.

Other comments:

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Attachment G: Volunteer Mentoring Program Shadowing Observation Form

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Shadowing Observation Form
Date: Mentor: Observer: Strengths – What are the important skills that the mentor used? 1.

2.

3.

Alternatives – What might you have done differently? 1.

2.

3.

Additional Comments:

Please share your observations with the mentor and discuss alternative options for aspects of the mentoring session.

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Attachment H: Volunteer Mentoring Program New Mentor Observation Form

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New Mentor Observation
Date: Mentor: Observer: Strengths – What does the mentor do well? 1.

2.

3.

Improvement – Where could the mentor improve? 1.

2.

3.

Additional Comments:

Please share your observations with the mentor and discuss alternative options for aspects of the mentoring session.

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Attachment I: Volunteer Mentoring Program Mentor Contact Cards

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Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Buffalo Veteran’s Diversion Court Project Mentoring Program If you have any questions or concerns please contact your case manager and s/he will assist you in contacting a mentor. Phone: 716.845.2789

Attachment J: Volunteer Mentoring Program Group Supervision Outline

Group Supervision Outline
Greeting and Administration Greet the group and give any administrative information; when the next group supervision is, if there is something outside of the norm coming up soon, or if there are any procedural changes that have been made. Case Updates Ask the group to share the outcomes of any of the case questions that were brought up during previous group supervision sessions. Give the mentors praise for the positive outcomes they have helped to achieve. Case Questions Ask the group how things have been going and if anyone has any question about any of the mentees that have come up since the last supervision. Questions to pose to the group to get things started: • How are things going? • Are you feeling confident around your skills as a mentor? • When have you felt confident? • When have you not felt confident? • Has anyone had a hard time during a mentoring session? • Did any questions come up that you could not answer? Case File Questions Ask the group if they have any questions about the paperwork or questions around what to include and what not to include. This is also the opportunity for the Mentor Coordinator to bring up any paperwork concerns that have been brought to his/her attention. Shift Selection A calendar listing the upcoming court sessions will be available for mentors to select the sessions they would like to attend. This list will be available after supervision is completed to make selections. Thanks and Dismissal Thank everyone for attending and sharing their thoughts. Remind the group of the next group supervision date and time and dismiss the group.

Attachment K: Volunteer Mentoring Program Mentoring Evaluation Form

Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program

Mentoring Evaluation
Mentor: What did you find to be most useful about your mentoring sessions? Date:

What would you like to be different to make mentoring sessions more helpful?

Was there anything you felt was missing that you would have liked to be included in the mentoring sessions?

Please rate the following: Effectiveness of mentor Mentoring location Mentoring content Mentor’s listening skills Mentor’s positive support Overall rating

Poor 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2

Average 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4

Excellent 5 5 5 5 5 5

Other comments:

Attachment L: Volunteer Mentoring Program Supervision Evaluation Form

Buffalo Veteran’s Court
Volunteer Mentoring Program

Supervision Evaluation
Date: What did you find to be most useful about group supervision?

What would you like to be different to make group supervision more helpful?

Is there anything you feel is missing that you would like to be included in group supervision?

Please rate the following: Effectiveness of coordinator Supervision format Supervision content Peer support Support with problem solving Overall rating

Poor 1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2

Average 3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4

Excellent 5 5 5 5 5 5

List of other topics or concerns you would like to have addressed as part of an advanced training.

Other comments:

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