Transition-Age Youth, Addicted to Purpose

A Project of Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program



CODY is a mentoring and networking program that helps transition age youth without a post- high school graduation plan become addicted to purpose. CODY combines one-on-one mentoring from leaders in the Santa Barbara community, apprenticeships with masters of chosen trades, and education–all designed to motivate, prepare and help youth determine and start a career.


CODY is named in honor of Cody West, a 22-year-old Santa Barbara native who died tragically in a car accident in April 2015. Cody West was a talented young man who grew up in a single-parent household. He often lamented that while he had many ideas for a career path, he felt that he didn’t know how to start on any of them. His family, in collaboration with Family Service Agency, started CODY to help the next generation of Santa Barbara youth overcome this all too common issue.


CODY career mentoring is provided for one year, though our experience is that our youth–our protégés–stay connected to their mentors long after the formal mentoring is complete. The mentorship occurs during the second semester of a student’s senior year in high school, and continues through their first six months after graduating.

Identification of Participants (First Semester)

Students at local high schools who are struggling to identify a post-graduation plan are advised of CODY by their school. The students take an assessment test, and if deemed a good fit for CODY, meet with a CODY Mentor to introduce the program and determine their interest in participating.

Mentoring and Career Exploration (Second Semester)

Mentoring begins in January. The first four weeks are focused on determining professions in which the protégé has an interest. In week five, the protégé determines their top choices for a profession based on the information and guidance they have received. By week eight, the protégé and mentor have developed an exploration path for the top career possibilities. This exploration path is implemented in March and April, and includes visits to professionals already established in their fields, along with tasks for the protégé to complete as part of their analysis and selection of their career. By the end of June a career will be chosen.

Throughout this first six months, the protégé benefits from the guidance of their experienced, solutions-oriented mentor. The mentor, with support from Big Brothers Big Sisters, contributes to the analysis of the protégé’s strengths and interests, and provide examples from his/her own life and career to help guide the protégé to success. Protégés also benefit from the real world experience gleaned from their visits with professionals in their fields of interest, and from belonging to the network of other CODY students, with whom they meet as part of the exploration process.

Development of Career Plan (Six Months Post-Graduation)

July through December are focused on development of the Protégés career plan, which can include the following components:

  • Workplace Experience – Internships, apprenticeships, jobs
  • Education/Certification Specific to the Profession – College, Trade School, Online Education
  • Education to Attain Skills Needed to be Successful in the Profession – Proficiency with technology, critical thinking, customer service, etc.


CODY includes a network of businesses, campuses and online education tools that offer the expertise and flexibility needed to help protégés move forward on their career path.


Throughout this six-month period, the one-on-one mentorship meetings continue. CODY provides a support system by which the mentor works with the protégé to help him/her stay on track and committed to their chosen path.


CODY Graduation for Participants

All protégés are invited to the CODY year-end graduation, during which they receive their certificate of completion. Protégés and mentors can also retain their relationship if they choose after the formal program is completed.


You can help CODY by becoming a mentor or a business partner.



Mentor Qualifications:

  • 21 years or older
  • Strong desire to interact with teen/young adult youth
  • Dependable and consistent
  • Desire to be a positive role model, friend, and an important part of a young person’s life

Mentor Commitment:

  • Six to eight hours/month for meetings with Protégé, as well as communication between meetings
  • Attend Mentor orientation
  • Arrange and attend with your protégé at least three career site visits at a mutually agreed upon location
  • Stay in communication with Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, who provide regular follow-up and support

Mentor Benefits:

  • Satisfaction in helping a young adult mature, progress, set and achieve goals
  • Grow connections with community businesses
  • Personal fulfillment through volunteerism
  • Knowing you are positively impacting the life of a young person


BUSINESS PARTNERS (click here for our one page Business Partner summary)

Business Qualifications:

  • Commitment to Santa Barbara Community
  • Willing to participate in long-term vision of community improvement
  • Positive work environment

Business Commitment – Donors:

  • Sponsor one Protégé for one year – $1,500
  • Representative attend Graduation (May and December) (Optional)
  • Dedicated Liaison to CODY project

Business Commitment – Program Partners:

  • Be available to host protégés during path selection process (March – April)
  • Be open to hiring interns, part-time, or full-time employees provided they meet qualifications of the position
  • Representative to attend Graduation (May and December) (Optional)
  • Dedicated Liaison to CODY project

Business Benefits:

  • Contribute to the overall improvement of the community and workforce
  • Access to young talent that can enrich your workforce
  • Fulfillment of company charitable goals
  • Knowing you are positively impacting the lives of young people
  • Donations are tax deductible



The positive impact of coaching on protégés has been demonstrated consistently across multiple studies. Business community involvement has also proven to be a win-win for businesses and protégés. A similar project, Beyond School Walls in Philadelphia, which features local businesses hosting youth in their corporate offices, received the following feedback from businesses and mentors:

88% of participating businesses stated that support of Beyond School Walls was good way for their company to invest its resources in the communities in which their employees live and work

93% of mentors reported that spending time with their youth makes them a better person

85% reported that being a mentor makes them feel more connected to their community

60% said that being a mentor gives them an opportunity to practice and improve job-related skills such as communication, listening, leadership and teamwork skills.


If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact:

Owen Grohman

(805) 637-8596