FAU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities has developed the NEW iRISE2 Mentoring Program, the goal of the program is to help youth with autism reach their full potential for personal development and independence, while enriching their social-cognitive capacity through interest-based mentoring. Youth protégés between the ages of 11-22 years old are matched with a mentor who is provided evidence-based training and support to help him/her build and maintain an effective trusting mentoring relationship with their protégé. Mentors are encouraged to explore the functional applications of the protégés’ special interests and the possible career opportunities that can contribute and lead to a life of high self-esteem and independence. In the month of January, we celebrate National Mentoring Month and recognize January 21st as “Thank Your Mentor Day.” We encourage everyone to take time and recognize someone who has acted as a mentor or sign up to become a mentor and help be the catalyst that will motivate change in the life an individual with autism.

iRISE2 Protégé Prospective

Life before having a mentor, I knew I was growing as a person, being a young adult. However, being with a mentor has added an interesting experience to my life. It's really nice for me to have companionship with someone who is older than me and more experienced. It can give me ideas on how to succeed. My mentor has a really outgoing personality and she is really comfortable in social situations. Since I am usually socially awkward, I can learn from her behaviors. Also, if I am having some problems in my personal life or I just need to rant about something to someone who is not extremely involved in my life already, I can talk to my mentor. She can and does provide me with unbiased perspective and advice on the situations I relay to her. In the future with my mentor, I hope to experience things I haven't in life. If the relationship was to end suddenly, I would feel abandoned because it's like losing a friend who has no judgment. I appreciate the fact that my mentor wanted to do this and it's not just a typical job. Overall, having a mentor has been a mentally stimulating experience as it's opened my eyes to a different lifestyle and helped improved my social skills and behaviors.

Thank you for your time,

Calli Abisongnio

iRISE2 Protégé

For more information about becoming a mentor with the iRISE2 Mentoring Program at FAU CARD, please contact: Darius Murray 561-213-6936 or email dmurra23@fau.edu