The Institute for Transformative Mentoring (ITM) is a dynamic training program focused on the development of credible messengers working in the social services fields throughout New York City. Credible Messenger mentors are community members with relevant life experience and social capital that give them the authority to challenge the norms and change the thinking of those with whom they work. In the justice context, Credible Messengers come from the same neighborhoods as the participants they support, have a history of justice-involvement themselves, and are engaged in their own healing and transformation. These mentors help young people navigate community violence and avoid the criminal justice system. Credible messengers are gaining systems-level recognition in New York City as an effective strategy to reduce crime and criminal justice involvement.
The Institute for Transformative Mentoring is based at The New School and offers an intensive, semester-long training course. The Institute is intended to help credible messengers heal and enhance their practical skills so they are healthier, more knowledgeable and better able to help others. ITM is structured using restorative justice practices and interactive learning to support participants in engaging deeply with the material and each other.
The college-level course covers trauma-informed care, youth development, history of mass incarceration and a social justice framework, and career advancement.