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MailTribune.com
  • Circles of sharing

    Rose Circle mentoring groups are reaching all areas of the Rogue Valley
  • Teenagers need an adult in their world — someone who's not a parent or teacher — who will hang with them and be a nonjudgmental friend, someone they can count on and trust.
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  • Teenagers need an adult in their world — someone who's not a parent or teacher — who will hang with them and be a nonjudgmental friend, someone they can count on and trust.
    Seven years ago, a group of caring and concerned Ashland women started such a system, called Rose Circle, where they trained a corps of mentors, soon expanding it to men — people who would just "be there," not trying to fix or shape the teen's life, but basically being really good at one thing: listening as a friend.
    The Rose Circle has grown a lot since 2005, with many teen "mentees" moving on to the role of mentors, themselves. The program also has been chosen as one of seven "quality-based mentoring programs" by Oregon Mentors and landed a significant grant from The Oregon Community Foundation, enabling it to expand to all cities in the Rogue Valley.
    "I fell in love with Rose Circles when I was in high school. There was such pressure to do well and get off to a good college and have a boyfriend and wear the right clothes, but the mentors wouldn't pressure you at all," says Christina Jackson, a mentor at the group's Camp Luna, a four-day summer retreat for women and girls.
    "It's not just a place to relax and be yourself, but also to deal with traumatic situations."
    Fifth-grader Hannah Doyle calls Rose Circles "a place to relax and not worry, where people don't judge me — and they keep confidences. No one repeats anything outside the circle. You get to take a break from the hectic pace of life."
    Sitting in a Rose Circle in a backyard teepee with candles burning and veils draped about, seventh-grader Lexi Tibbs notes: "I love the chance to be heard. It's nice to have many different people to go to if you're having a tough time with your family, to connect and share and also be there for other people."
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