Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM)

About This Program

Target Population: Youth with current or prior experience in foster care

For children/adolescents ages: 7 – 24

Program Overview

Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM) [formerly known as Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring] is designed to empower over 200 Boston-area youth who have been impacted by foster care through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. SLM‘s goal is to create a community of consistent, adult support for youth in foster care that enables them to build the essential skills and emotional well-being they need to reach their full potential. SLM’s clinically trained Master’s-level staff form the foundation of SLM’s services. SLM pairs volunteer adult mentors with youth in foster care in one-to-one mentoring relationships. Learn & Earn is a skill-building program that provides teens and young adults with financial incentives to earn and save with the support of a committed volunteer mentor. Social workers also provide ongoing social and emotional support to all participants, including providing access to critical resources, paid leadership opportunities and individualized clinical support, as they age out of the foster care system. SLM youth are not passive recipients of services, but active in determining the supports they receive and the goals they set. Youth are encouraged to utilize SLM’s staff and services to navigate a healthy transition to adulthood in which they have the tools and resources they need to thrive.

Program Goals

The goals of Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM) are:

  • Achieve Consistent Positive Relationships (CPR) – where the youth achieves a well-defined set of caring relationships, a secure sense of belonging and has the social networks in place to form a positive cultural identity and successfully transition to adulthood.
  • Improve Social Skills – where the youth has the set of social skills, including empathy, pro-social coping strategies, emotional regulation, and social and workplace etiquette.
  • Build Resiliency – where the youth has a positive self and cultural identity, is determined to achieve goals in the face of adversity, calls on help when appropriate, and plays a positive role in the community.
  • Acquire Independent Living Skills– where the youth demonstrates proficiency in basic life skills, such as finding housing, navigating public transportation, taking care of their health needs, filing taxes, and obtaining and managing important identification documents.
  • Promote Educational Progression – where the youth understands the importance of education and has a network of supportive adults to help them achieve their academic goals, access financial aid, and pursue a postsecondary degree and/or vocational programs.
  • Obtain Employment Readiness – where the youth gains the skills and knowledge to successfully apply for, obtain, and retain employment and has a network of supportive adults to help them identify and pursue a career that offers a livable wage.
  • Obtain Financial Literacy – where the youth obtains and learns to manage a checking and savings account, has gotten and understands their credit report and score, and can apply critical financial concepts, such as interest rates, needs versus wants, and budgeting, into their daily and long-term financial goals.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM).

Essential Components

The essentials components of Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM) include:

  • Minimum of 9 hours of screening done for volunteer mentors (1-hour information session, 1-hour interview, and at least 7 hours of mentor training, with an additional post-training interview as needed)
  • Training for volunteer mentors includes training on the foster care system, terms and language, attachment theory, effects of trauma and abuse, William Bridges Transition Framework, diversity and cultural responsiveness, realistic/unrealistic expectations, healthy boundaries, and a mentor and mentee panel
  • Commitment of at least 18 months from date of application for volunteer mentors
  • Consistent meetings with youth in the youth’s community setting (twice per month, for a minimum of 8 hours per month)
  • One clinically trained program coordinator per match with as little turn over in program coordinators as possible
  • Monthly reporting and data collection from mentor to staff
  • Proactive match support; active outreach to mentor and mentee at least once a month
  • Organized group events every other month
  • Opportunities for youth 14 and older to take on leadership roles, paid roles, and learn life skills with a financial matched-savings component
  • Data collection before match and annually after the match is made
  • Annual mentor/mentee match anniversary meeting, renew contracts customized to each match
  • Do whatever it takes to keep match connected – phone calls, cards, letters, care packages when visits are not possible (e.g., mentee’s placement has restrictions), reimbursement for mentor travel costs so that mentors can still visit their mentee if their mentee moves, facilitation of online or virtual communication when in-person visits are not possible
  • Facilitate a healthy closure to any match that ends – give as much notice as possible (planned is better than unexpected loss); create memory books and transitional objects to help with the good-bye; take the time to explain reasons for closure and make sure youth knows it is not their fault; offer youth continued participation in Silver Lining Mentoring programs

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Behaviors and beliefs that are the result of disrupted relationships, trauma, abuse, and/or neglect (e.g., anger, attachment, social/emotional capacity, etc.)

Recommended Intensity:

At least 8 hours per month and to make contact (by phone, email, etc.) at least one time per week

Recommended Duration:

At least 1-year of mentoring; the average mentoring relationship is 55 months

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Office space and equipment for staff, training room/space.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Master's level degree in social work or equivalent

Manual Information

There is not a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Training can be provided in a variety of settings including onsite, regionally, etc. Contact Colby Swettberg to discuss training needs.

Number of days/hours:

SLM tailors training to the needs of individual organizations/partnerships.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM).

Additional References

MENTOR. (2009). Elements of effective practice for mentoring, (4th ed.). Retrieved from

Contact Information

Colby Swettberg, M.Ed., LCSW
Agency/Affiliation: Silver Lining Mentoring
Phone: (617) 224-1305

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2020

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2012