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Seedling is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit

8001 Centre Park Drive, Ste. 140
Austin, TX 78754
Phone: 512-323-6371
Tax ID: 74-2841791


Dan Leal


Connie Howe


Julie Barschow

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you focus on serving children with incarcerated parents?

Children of prisoners are a hidden population. No institution systematically asks the
question of whether a child is affected or in need due to having an incarcerated parent.
Parental incarceration is now recognized as a traumatic event in the life of a child. And
studies show that childhood trauma and stress can lead to negative physical and
mental health outcomes.

How do you know this program works?

Seedling is a research-based program that implements established best practices in
mentoring. Additionally, we are unique in that we engage an independent evaluator to
conduct annual program evaluations that can be found on our impact page.

When is the best time to apply?

We welcome applications year-round. New Mentor Orientation dates are scheduled
beginning in early fall through January. A match can begin in the fall or in the spring
prior to March 1.

What does the commitment look like?

Seedling mentors meet with their mentees once a week over the school year, during the
child’s lunch time. While it can be helpful, it is not a requirement to visit the same day
each week.

What will the child’s family know about me?

Very little. Just your name and what you share with the child.

Will I meet the child’s parent or caregiver?

It is possible you could meet if you and the caregiver both attend one of Seedling’s
caregiver events where the mentor, the child and the caregiver participate in a planned
activity designed to build trust and celebrate the child.

Can I choose the child or the school where I mentor?

While it’s based on proven research, we make every effort to honor your preferences
when matching.

What if my mentee changes schools after I start?

If this occurs, you have several options and Seedling will support you in determining the
best choice for you and your mentee.

Can we meet at another time besides lunch?

Our schools provide a meeting space for the child and mentor to meet during the
lunchtime so as not to interfere with class time and school functions. As a research-
based program, we know that mentor programs that pull students out of academic time
seldom have positive outcomes on school measures. However, occasionally other
options may be available.

What if I need help?

Seedling provides high-quality coaching and support throughout your relationship. Every
mentor is assigned a Mentor Director who will be available to answer questions and
assist you. In addition to mentoring themselves, Mentor Directors are knowledgeable
about child development and working in the public school system.

I may know other people who would like to mentor. How do I spread the word?

Seedling is happy to schedule presentations, provide informational material, and/or
attend volunteer recruitment events. Please contact us at

Contact Seedling

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