Shelby County needs veterans as court mentors
The Shelby County Veterans Treatment Court is currently seeking veterans to serve as mentors to fellow veterans that have violated the community trust by committing a felony or misdemeanor offense. The mission of the Mentoring Program is to support the veteran through their readjustment to civilian life, to assist the veteran navigate through the court, treatment, and VA system, and to act as a friend and ally through this difficult time.
Vets who are interested in becoming mentors should attend the one-day training session that begins at 9 a.m. March 10 at Veterans Court – Division VII, 201 Poplar Ave., Memphis.
Veterans Treatment Court is a specialty court that provides treatment and other services to justice-involved veterans who may struggle with substance use and/or mental health issues. The veteran treatment courts use a non-adversarial approach to assist veterans that have found themselves in the criminal justice system toward a productive life free of crime.
The courts assist the veterans with obtaining resources such as Veterans Administration benefits, housing, and employment, among other things.
A mentor is someone who is currently in the military or who previously served in the military and is willing to support the participant while he/she matriculates through veterans’ treatment court. Mentors assist veterans with obtaining their VA benefits, transportation and other services in addition to providing emotional support. Although mentors provide emotional support, they are not counselors and should only serve as an advocate for those they mentor.
Expectations for a mentor include:
- Participation in and lead mentoring sessions when assigned by the Judge
- Support and understanding of the difficulties the veteran participants are facing
- Assistance to the veteran participants to resolve their concerns about the court
- Assistance to the Veteran participants in accessing and navigating the Veterans Affair system
- Support and help to other veteran mentors
- Communication with the court coordinator and judge