Touchstone Foundation Awards Youth Mentorship Funds

LANCASTER, PA – The Touchstone Foundation announces their new Youth Mentorship Partnership Funds have been awarded. This new program supports staff and volunteer training to become mentors for youth mental wellness in Lancaster County. Touchstone Foundation has awarded $47,000 to 3 local organizations. 

Last year, Touchstone Foundation completed a youth listening tour and parent feedback survey which revealed that many youths welcome the opportunity to connect with a trained, safe, supportive adult mentor. The 3 partner organizations will ensure youth safety through mandated reporter training to prevent child abuse, complete Youth Mental Health First Aid training for adults working with youth and ensure that mentors understand trauma-informed care to support youth growth and development through adversity.  

Shanece Bowman, Touchstone Foundation’s Program Manager said, “Youth mentorship is a critical component of a young person’s life. Providing this opportunity to increase mentorship in Lancaster County reflects what we heard directly from the youth during the listening tour. Mentorship allowed me to be guided through the most difficult times of my life, and I am thrilled to offer this opportunity to the organizations who acknowledge how important mentorship is in the community.” 

Touchstone Foundation awards funds to these 3 organizations which estimate to serve 422 Lancaster County youth with mentorship support in the coming year: 

  1. Bench Mark Program is a strength-based family of mentors who support highly at-risk youth through some of the toughest years of their adolescence using a series of community based intervention and diversion initiatives. This program will enhance the effectiveness of mentoring services available to at-risk youth within Bench Mark Program’s Open Gym, where both individual and group services are available. An estimated 47 youth will receive mentorship. 
  1. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Area improves the lives of young people through life changing mentoring relationships. They create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Their evidence-based mentoring program introduces a strong role model and friend into the life of a child who wants a mentor. These funds will support their High School Bigs Program for elementary/middle school students in need of a special mentoring friendship (e.g., demonstrate the need for enhanced social skills, or feel isolated from peers). An estimated 100 youth will receive mentorship.  
  2. CASA provides a qualified and compassionate court-appointed volunteer advocate to every child who is abused and neglected, to ensure the fundamental human right of having a safe, nurturing, and permanent home is met. Their Older Youth Mentorship Project will provide advocates with mentorship training that will assist older youth in becoming self-sufficient independent adults, by bridging the barriers to success and connectivity to the community. An estimated 275 youth will receive mentorship support.  


At the Touchstone Foundation, our mission is to elevate youth mental wellness in Lancaster County. We do this by building the talent pipeline in mental health care, increasing access to youth mental health services, and creating awareness and education about youth mental wellness.