The browser you are using is not supported. Please consider using a modern browser.
2022 Mission in Action Honoree:
Mission in Action Award Honoree Lauren Porter, Family Services, Mentoring Program Coordinator
Each year, Catholic Charities awards staff who have consistently embodied our Mission: Inspired by the Gospel mandates to love, serve and teach, Catholic Charities provides care and services to improve the lives of Marylanders in need.
Lauren demonstrates the Catholic Charities’ commitments of Dignity and Compassion in her work to help children develop into their full potential with no judgment and lots of care. Because of her dedication and passion, the Therapeutic Mentoring Program has touched dozens of children and their families helping them to build resilience over the 24 years she has worked at Catholic Charities.
Read what her colleagues have written about her:
Ever since she joined Catholic Charities in October of 1998, Lauren Porter has consistently demonstrated the mission of St. Vincent’s Villa in her actions with volunteers, children, staff, and donors. Among her other work as part of Volunteer Services, Lauren works to train, teach, support, connect, and coordinate mentors to be a therapeutic support to mentees in the RTC, school, and Villa Maria community programs.
Because of Lauren’s dedication and passion, the Therapeutic Mentoring Program has touched many dozens of children and their families. She creates opportunities for mentors to have unconditionally positive relationships and experiences with our children and goes beyond expectations to be available and supportive to not just the mentors and mentees but also our staff and families. She also extends herself beyond her hours to be available during the daytime, evenings, and weekends when mentors and mentees need her support and guidance. You will find her often a participant in discharge parties, activities, and special guest events that have enriched the lives of children.
Moreover, Lauren’s dedication to our mission is distinguished by her commitment to following the latest research in Trauma Informed Care and evidence-based mentoring, which not only enhances the work of our volunteers and mentors but also turns them into advocates. The richness of the mentoring experience is evident in her ability to impart long-term commitment of mentors to children and families, above and beyond the scope of the original match.
Lauren has been creative in expanding the program by developing the “Sassy Cats” girl club in Ambrose, which has provided a positive social group that has given the children an opportunity to learn social skills, build self-esteem, and have exposure to new experiences, such as cheerleading, yoga, art projects, nature programming, cooking, volunteering, and even life coaching. Lauren coordinates with staff, teams, parents, and mentors to create an environment in which children feel safe, respected, important, supported, and cherished. As such, she demonstrates Catholic Charities’ commitments to Dignity and Compassion in her work to help children develop into their full potential, with no judgment and lots of care to help them turn their stories into the building blocks of resilience.
Furthermore, her commitment to Collaboration is evidenced by the complex coordination needed to help children, family members, volunteers, therapists, and other treatment staff to work together, helping to translate treatment priorities into actionable activities to help in child development.
Moreover, Lauren continues to support exceptional mentoring relationships, as evidenced by her commitment to facilitating virtual visits during the pandemic (and eventually hybrid visits) that required her to be present with her laptop at each mentoring session with a complement of potential virtual activities that the mentor and mentee could participate in meaningfully (highlights include transporting plants between the RTC and a mentor’s garden so that the mentee and mentor could garden together “virtually,” and facilitating visits where children created superhero costumes, cardboard computers, painted Easter eggs, and “virtually” toured landmarks, like Ft. McHenry). This shows a strong commitment to Excellence and Integrity. The stories of success are plentiful and have been featured in Divisional newsletters, and Lauren never includes herself in telling these; however, she has been absolutely integral in facilitating them. Notably, Lauren has helped RTC-based mentees transition into the community and other placements, helping mentors and mentees put together scrapbooks pre-discharge, accompanying one mentor to visit a child in a treatment facility in Western Maryland, and helping mentors to be productive in maintaining a relationship with children whose post-discharge home situations are unstable. These are common occurrences.
Other stories include recruiting and training a mentor to work with a transgender child, transporting a bean plant between the RTC and a mentor’s garden so that the mentee and mentor could garden together “virtually” (the child named this plant Rico after a friend), and locating community opportunities for mentor-mentee participation like voice lessons. All of these stories could be expounded upon, and it is worth noting that even the smallest activities are planned to further developmental benchmarks for the child, which are tracked by Lauren and relayed to the treatment teams.