Space of His Own - Creative Mentorship

Space of His Own (SOHO), a creative mentoring program sponsored by Alexandria’s Juvenile Court Services, meets throughout the school year one night a week from 5:30-8:00 p.m. The program provides fifth grade boys in need of positive adult male role models with one-to-one mentoring and creative carpentry lessons.

Page updated on Aug 1, 2016 at 4:23 PM

 Space of His Own Logo image 

Creative Mentoring for Alexandria Boys

SOHO teaches valuable life skills through hands on activities such as carpentry, fishing and sports activities. Similar to its sister program, Space of Her Own, the program culminates in June with a renovation of each boy’s bedroom.

We are seeking 12 diverse, fun & caring adult males to begin mentoring with the program in September. No mentoring or carpentry experience is required, and training will be provided.  

Please contact for more information on mentor orientation sessions and the next steps to become a mentor with the SOHO program.

SOHO Boys Building Shelves          SOHO Ballyshaner's

Ready to become a SOHO Mentor?

The commitment:  

  1. Attend an orientation session
  2. Complete an application
  3. Provide three references
  4. Interview with the program
  5. Provide fingerprints for a criminal background check

We ask that mentors commit to missing no more than three SOHO sessions and to arriving at each group meeting promptly at 5:30 p.m.

Those who successfully complete the interview process and pass the criminal background check are invited to attend two mentor training sessions, two initial group meetings, and to participate with youth in a weekend program kick-off event. Mentors are matched with mentees after the program kickoff.

A SOHO mentor demonstrates a positive and enthusiastic attitude, is reliable, and is able to arrive on time for meetings. The ability to bond with SOHO boys and fellow mentors is essential. Successful SOHO applicants are flexible, roll with the punches and are able to embrace diversity in cultures, thoughts and behaviors.

SOHO staff members provide training, support and guidance throughout the program year.



Why Mentor?

  • According to the Capital Kids Report (2012), childhood poverty in Alexandria more than quadrupled between 2005 and 2010.
  • 36% of children in Alexandria live below the poverty level.
  • 56% percent of children enrolled in Alexandria’s public schools are eligible for free-and-reduced priced lunches - the highest percentage in Northern Virginia.
  • The school dropout rate is 12% and it is estimated that the average 16 year-old unemployed dropout will cost taxpayers $258,000 over his/her lifetime and impose an overall social burden of $755,900.
  • Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) has a graduation rate of 77.8%, the lowest in Northern Virginia and considerably lower than the statewide rate of 83.2%.
  • The ACPS April 2010 Developmental Assets report revealed that a high percentage of Alexandria’s youth were associated with risk behaviors that are closely related to juvenile delinquency. In this survey, 41% of youth grades 7-12 reported that they had committed some act of violence, 31% reported that they had skipped school one or more times in a four week period, and 25% reported that they had been involved in 3 or more incidents of shoplifting.
  • According to the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice 2012 Data Resource Guide, the number of Alexandria juvenile intake complaints has remained relatively consistent from 2009-2011, averaging 1,237 annually.
  • Of the youth entering the court system through Intake, black youth represented approximately 50% and Hispanic represented 30%.
  • 64% of the youth have been male.
  • In FY 2012, the majority of juvenile offenses were status offences (23%) followed by larceny (12%) and assault (10%).
  • The National Dropout Prevention Center describes mentoring as having an “enormous value to youth” and being “extremely effective with youth in at-risk situations.”
  • National research conducted by Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America indicates that mentoring helps to significantly decrease drug and alcohol use, fighting and school truancy.
  • Mentored youth are less likely to get in trouble both inside and outside of school and are more likely to have improved self-esteem and grades. O
  • JJDP indicates that when mentoring is combined with weekly meetings and other supports, juvenile criminal activity can be reduced.
  • Children in need who are mentored are 60% more likely to graduate from high school
  • They are 46% less likely than their peers to start using illegal drugs.
  • $120,000 is the estimated cost of incarcerating one youth for a year.
  • The cost of helping to prevent this incarceration is just a few hours per week of structured programming with well screened, trained and supported one-to-one mentors. 

Sample Program Schedule:

  • Sep-7: Mentor-Only Training Orientation
  • Sep-25: Mentor-Only Training Night
  • Oct-2: Mentor-Only Training Night
  • Oct-9: SOHO starts!
  • Oct 12-14: Retreat at Camp Kekoka!
  • Oct-16: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Oct-23: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Oct-30: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Nov 6: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Nov 13: Mentor-Only Night
  • Nov-20: Match Night – Individual Outings!
  • Nov-27: NO SOHO- Thanksgiving
  • Dec-4: Family Night at SOHO
  • Dec-11: Life skills lesson, dinner, project/home visit
  • Dec-18: SOHO Community Service Night
  • Dec-25: NO SOHO
  • Jan-1: NO SOHO
  • Jan-8: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Jan-15: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Jan-22: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Jan-29: Ice Skating Party!
  • Feb-5: Mentor-Only Night
  • Feb-12: Life skills lesson, dinner, project/organize
  • Feb-19: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Feb 26: Life skills lesson, fancy dinner/etiquette night
  • Mar-05: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Mar-12: SOHO Community Service Night
  • Mar-19: Life skills lesson, dinner, art class
  • Mar-26: Mentor-Only Night (Spring Break)
  • Apr-02: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Apr-09: Life skills lesson, dinner, project/organize
  • Apr-16: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Apr-23: Life skills lesson, dinner, project
  • Apr-26-27: Room Renovation Weekend
  • Apr-30: Life skills lesson (write and practice speeches), dinner, reflection project
  • May 03-04: Room Renovation Weekend
  • May-07: Mentor-Only Night
  • May-14: Life skills lesson (reception rehearsal and closing), dinner, reflection project
  • May-21: SOHO Community Service Night
  • May-28: SOHO Graduation Party w/ Family!
  • Jun-04: Mentor Appreciation Dinner